Some Big, Tail-Wagging Changes

If you read this blog regularly, you probably know that I am a planner to the nth degree. I am not a spontaneous person, but lately I did something a little spontaneous.

We got a dog. And I say a little spontaneous because we’ve been thinking of getting one for a few months. But the spontaneous part comes in because I didn’t do much as far as reading about training or caring for this creature we have just adopted. We have just taken a huge step and I’m in fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants mode.

As a parent, I’ve never been into parenting books. I’ve never once finished one from beginning to end. And what I’m realizing is that this dog ownership thing is a lot like having a baby or a toddler in the house again. I can’t tell you how many times my husband or I have already said to the dog, “Ugh, just tell me! What do you WANT?”

And that first night home? (And the nights after that?) The dog is already sleeping in our bed. Tsk. Tsk. Everyone knows he’ll never get out of it. Sometimes he cries and whines and paces, and we just want some sleep. He settles down a lot quicker than the kids did though.

The dog we got was a rescue dog. He’s under 2 but no one is certain just how old. He’s housetrained. He’s sweet. He loves to play and cuddle. But this is a new home and it requires some new training. He’s had some accidents. I feel like I’m following a toddler in training pants around again, wielding carpet cleaner and Febreeze. I have to make sure he doesn’t put things in his mouth, even though he looks adorable running around with an oversized stuffed animal that is too nice to be torn apart. And I certainly don’t want to hurt his feelings by being too tough. This guy needs lots of love.

He doesn’t like his crate. He doesn’t want to be alone. I have places to go. It’s brought back lots of separation anxiety flashbacks. Thank goodness he can’t hug my legs and beg and never let go. And now I have three creatures following me around throughout the day, at least once school is out.

I’ve found myself outside at 10 p.m. in my bathrobe, long johns, and big winter coat. And I really don’t care who sees me. I just want him to poop already.

My kids take turns walking him, or running, whichever the dog prefers. And seeing them like that, it makes me smile.

He’s quiet. He’s smart. He listens. And he’s doggone good. In time, we won’t know what we had ever done without him.

Meet Rowan

Meet Rowan

47 Comments

Filed under Family

47 responses to “Some Big, Tail-Wagging Changes

  1. I went through the very same thing as you when we adopted a dog several years ago. She was sweet but followed me EVERYwhere. Unfortunately, hubby couldn’t figure out why his chest was tight and he had to get an inhaler. He went to the allergist and had a huge reaction to dogs (and cats, but he knew he was allergic to them). So doggy had to go after only 8 days. Needless to say my kids were very sad. To this day, they don’t let their father forget it…

    Enjoy your new family member! Glad there’s no wheezers in your family. :)

  2. We just got a dog too! A puppy to be exact. I don’t know what we were thinking. He is needy, pees all the time, chews everything, and needs a lot of attention. On the other hand, he listens better than the kids, keeps the kids occupied, and is so fluffy!! Most days I’m so happy we have him…but not at 3 am in the snow.

    • Wonderful! How old is your pup? Peeing all the time…… if you can, may I suggest taking him out every half an hour regardless of whether he wants to go or not and reward him when he does his business (lots of fuss and praise). He’ll soon get the idea. It worked for us.
      I can identify with the 3am bit though: ours was 4am until the damn clocks went back here in the UK! She’s getting on a bit now and coming out in sympathy with us over 50s needing a wee in the night. We wouldn’t be without her though, bless her.

    • The crate training is driving me mad! I don’t know where else to put him and he doesn’t like it. I don’t want him to have the run of the house, though I guess he thinks he deserves it.

      This one has chewed some things too, one reason I don’t want to leave him alone. Oh, I just keep thinking that in a month it will be so much better!

      • They do mature faster than children – that is one bonus! Ours does really well in the crate now. We were advised that it would take a few days and that we needed to ignore the pitiful cries if we were going to make it work. Now he sleeps in there all the time even when he has free reign and goes in there willingly at night. It is his little man cave.

        We also have a ‘pen’ for him in the house. It’s part of a hallway with linoleum floors that we have installed a gate on. When we are gone during the day we put him in there with toys, water, food, and a piddle pad. He has a little room to burn off that puppy energy.

  3. What a sweetheart! I love dogs (if you’ve read anything of mine, you might have gathered). You’re in the 46% club of dog owners who allow their dog to sleep on their bed (we have class A membership). They bring their own rewards (dog biscuits under pillows, soggy chews in shoes) but they are wonderful company. Good to know the kids are mucking in too. Enjoy your dog. It’ll be worth it.

    • Thankfully last night he found a spot on the floor and it was much better. In time, I imagine he’ll move around a bit more and we won’t be so panicky about where he is.

  4. I admire your bravery. I would love to have a pet, and I know that if I ever broke down and got one, I’d be thrilled to see it padding around the house. But I just can’t bring myself to adopt that responsibility as a single parent :)

    • I went to look at several first before I took the kids. I ruled many out. You can tell what kind of personality you want. They are definitely needy at first, no matter what kind of dog they are. But then I think everyone settles in. I hope. ;)

  5. K. Eley

    He is so cute. Love those ears. Can’t wait to meet him.

  6. We have debated getting a dog for a while. My older son would love it. I think I realize that I would be a better dog grandparent than parent. It’s a big responsibility as you are already seeing.
    Anyway, your experiences make getting a dog sound so appealing. I am so glad you are enjoying him so much.

  7. He is soooooo sweet! He will learn (but he will never get out of your bed). When I was home I would take my dog with me in the car whenever weather permits (not too hot, not too cold, just right for Goldylocks …) He loved it. He had toys, learned to love the car (many dogs fear it as they only get to go to the vet in it).

    I am soooooo jealous, too. I have been dogless for 4 months now. A completely unnatural state. A dog is a big part of life.

    Long life and health to the unnamed little guy! May you have a wonderful life together.

    • This one loves the car too. He actually does quite well. I make him stay in the back seat and he mostly cooperates. He paces at first and then settles into one of the seats. We’ve had him less than a week and he’s been on five rides already.

      You have such great dog stories. Hopefully we’ll have some good ones too (though none with wild boars!).

  8. Lisa

    Yea! Dogs are good for kids. Helps teach them responsibility – at least that’s what my parents told me when I had to feed the dog at night. Your new found friend does look similar to a pet I knew long ago – hopefully he won’t bark at me as much. :)

    • Yes, I’d agree with that. The kids already walk him and take him outside and I’ll be adding on to that chore list.

      And you are right. In the face he looks a lot like my childhood dog, Bear. Acts a lot like him sometimes too, which makes me laugh. But this one doesn’t bark much. Mostly when someone comes to the door, then it’s licks and wags.

  9. Love the name! So far, he sounds like a dream next to Wonderbutt ;)

    • He came already named and we thought he knew it, but then we found out he had been a stray and actually does not know his name. We decided to keep it. My son started out throwing names like Shredder, which at times have been appropriate, and having one just already seems easy.

      Last night I just happened to catch him walking off with my son’s shoe, so I’m not so sure about him yet. ;)

  10. Congratulations! I know what a big step hast must have been for you. What a fantastic post. He is super adorable and I am even more excited that you rescued instead of the other, easier methods.

    I don’t know if you remember but this time last year (there was a quick post on him, and I never followed up on the saga), we very nearly adopted a stray that came upon us. He stayed with us for three days until we learned he belonged to neighbors — ones with a history of rresponsibility and cruelty with their animals. We couldn’t keep him legally, and being around the holidays, he was easy to adopt out through the local shelter. It was sad to let him go, but I was happy not to return him to “those people.” I regret not getting to keep him every day since; would have been a fine addition to DirtNKids.

    • It is sad to know when animals aren’t cared for. I wonder about our guy and what his past was, but he seems pretty happy here already. I don’t think he has too many worries now. It’s always good when they have a happy ending, even if it’s not the one we want. One day I bet you’ll find one that’s just right for your family.

  11. Congrats – adorable! And a rescue to boot.
    It’s been almost two years since we had to put our dog down and I’m starting to itch to get another one. They are work, though, and similar to toddlers, like you say. But, we’re dog people and I’m feeling the need to have another thing in the house to love.

  12. Congrats on your new addition! I’d love to get a dog too once my kids are older. I really do think it adds a whole new dimension to the family dynamics :) Though I’d probably go for an older dog. The younger ones really do act like toddlers and kids! I like the ones that’ll be perfectly content sitting by my feet all day long haha.

    • This one is just under two. Plenty of play left in him and he’s trained and he likes to sleep by my side while I work. He’s a good package. Pretty quirky though. When he wants to go outside (and we’ve just been out like five times) he stands at the front door and jumps. I’m pretty sure he could look out the peephole if he wanted. He’s a nut.

  13. Congrats to your family! I have been fostering dogs for many years now. And have raised 2 dogs on my own. The best book I’ve read for dog training (dog understanding) is Mother Knows Best by Carol Lea Benjamin. It’s an older but, but it goes into why they do some things, and what really works with them as far as training goes.

    I’m also a BIG believer in the crate. It may take him a while to adjust, but put a blanket over the back half, and it will be like his own little cave. Make it fun – put a treat in it before you pu him in. Keep it open during the day in case he wants to go in to nap. He will get used to it eventually. Crates come in handy if you have a dog who likes to chew on stuff and/or sometimes pees inside. It’s just one of those house rules he will have to get used to.

    I know you and the kids will get years of enjoyment from Rowan. Dogs are one of the most wonderful creatures on this earth. They love you no matter what, and can always seem to read your mood. Every family should have one. Enjoy!

    • Thanks, Sandy! He is getting better but he’s still not happy about it. And he has to be in it when I’m not home because there’s no doubt in my mind he’d get mad and chew on something. I may try that blanket trick.

  14. Well done, rescuing this little cutie. He’ll be well worth all the hard work!

  15. Well, isn’t he lovely? :) I grew up with dogs – we always had Labradors – but I am now dog-less for the first time since forever. We have been considering getting another dog and the debate over whether or not to get one has taken up a lot of time and “head space” since the beginning of November. I would love another dog because they bring such joy and laughter but there is the issue of the commitment and the tie, e.g. what do you do when you want to go out for the day? Life circumstances change….

    Anyway, I hope you have lots of fun with your little cutie.

    • That has been a huge adjustment. We are used to getting up and going and not being tied down. We are a family who is usually close to home, but having a dog is definitely a commitment in that area. And this one doesn’t like to be alone yet. He’s really sweet though.

  16. Amazing, Good For You :)

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