What I’ve learned about dogs.

We’ve had Pepper for a week and a half today. Starting this journey, technically ten years ago,* didn’t prepare me much for what having a dog was actually like. I could dream about it, make plans and buy things but once we actually had her we didn’t know what we were getting into.*

Bringing her home was the weirdest most exciting car ride I’ve had so far. We tried keeping her in the back but she kept climbing out to get to us. I eventually just carried her in my lap and took pictures of her. In the beginning little things, like her panting, I was clueless about. (And still am!) We finally learned that she was panting excessively because she was nervous and anxious. Rightly so, the girl’s whole life was changing! She has since stopped and is completely healthy. 🙂

I’ve learned that getting a dog is not a decision to be made lightly, not that ours was. Deciding to adopt a dog required research and careful thought for us. The cost alone of owning a dog was enough to scare us away from it! Shots, food, toys, heartworm medication, grooming, teeth cleaning… All we did in the weeks leading up to adopting her was read all about puppies and what they need. Do we get a dog bed now even though she isn’t housebroken? What size collar do we need? How much will she weigh so we can buy flea treatments? How much does heartworm medication cost? What’s a puppy mill? I know this probably sounds overbearing and ridiculous, but I needed to know that we were fully prepared to take her on. I’d never had a puppy before and was absolutely clueless about how they operated!

I’ve learned that dogs are much, much different than cats. I can’t just keep Pepper on the couch next to me and expect her to sleep all day beside me and occasionally take her to the litter box. I have to feed her at certain intervals and immediately take her out and then clean up the inevitable accident she will have an hour later. We can’t leave her out when we go places because she will chew my antique quilt and eat the carpet. I’m not saying this remorsefully, I actually love all the planning! The planning means that I have a dog! We finally have a puppy that we adopted and named and are caring for.**

I’ve learned that having Pepper means consistency, patience, and dedication in training. The Dog Whisperer is a faithfully recorded series in this house. 😉 Just because we adopted a golden retriever doesn’t mean she’s going to turn into the perfect dog. Breed has little to do with how an adult dog acts. (Just ask Cesar! :P)

*(Times I had to get up and see what she was doing or take her outside. See what I mean? A handful. 😉