About two summers ago, my daughter started asking me if she could have a puppy. We already had a dog that required a lot of work, plus my husband was traveling and I was busy at my job, so I said no.
My thought was puppies require so much time and energy to do it “right”.
As the months went by, I could feel myself caving. I’m a sucker for animals. I’m also no longer allowed to frequent the shelters because I have a hard time leaving without bringing someone home with us.
That’s how we ended up with Jenny. We went to make a donation and all the woman at the front desk had to ask was, “would you like to see the dogs?”
My immediate answer was “YES”.
That’s all it takes for me.
This time, it didn’t even take a visit to the shelter.
I saw a post on Facebook that a plane full of puppies from Puerto Rico were arriving and needed homes after being displaced from Hurricane Maria.
I live in a hurricane zone and couldn’t (still can’t) imagine what it would be like in the aftermath of a storm for people, let alone animals.
I had the ability to help, plus give my daughter what she wanted for her birthday so I went to “look” one day by myself.
There were so many dogs, but one stood out of the crowd. She was a jumpy little thing that said, “pick me, pick me”. She had spunk. I knew my daughter would love her.
Faviola or “Favie”was ours two days later. I should have known the minute we named her, she would be on her own plan.
My son and daughter have birthdays four days apart and once we had gotten Faviola, I realized that my son wouldn’t ever be able to say, I got a puppy for my birthday.
I’m a second child and I found myself thinking about how the first kid gets everything. If we were giving my daughter a puppy for her birthday, the puppy would technically be hers.
It was at that moment that we made the decision to get another puppy for my son so he could have a puppy of his own.
Pepper joined our family two days later.
Two puppies at one time. It was chaos.
Baby gates were installed. Crates were purchased. We were going to get this under control.
I thought if we did it all “right”, our dogs would become well behaved additions to our family.
We potty trained with crates like I had in the past. We made progress. Pepper was a rockstar and got it down first. Faviola was a different story.
Two years later, she gets it right a lot, but she sometimes does her business in the wrong place.
I’m puzzled how she can go for months without accidents and all of a sudden reverts back to bad habits for a few weeks at a time.
She also “happy pees”. I didn’t know this was a thing. We have to approach her “zen-like” or she leaves a trail behind her.
Biting at dust, humping our other dog, licking people like they are lollipops are some of her other special traits.
Pepper turned out to have some idiosyncrasies too.
She pukes a couple times a month for unknown reasons. The vet makes suggestions, but so far nothing has worked to curb a good barf here and there.
She also is leash aggressive. We work on it, but after two years, I’ve decided she loves me so much that she doesn’t want any other dog to come near me.
Did we get it “right”? Maybe not according to some people, but to us, “right” is no longer the goal.
The goal is to understand there is no perfect dog or perfect behavior.
We accept their faults and love them fiercely.
What they bring to our family is so much more than any one unsavory moment.
Raising a dog “right” is nothing more than how we decide to define it.
Puking and happy peeing? Sounds about right to me.
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