“She’s so cute! Come on, how hard could it be?”
That’s what I thought to myself two weeks ago as I walked through the front door with the newest addition to our family, an 8-week old Labrador retriever mix from the Walter M. Crowe Animal Shelter.
And then, within five seconds, our completely adorable new family member pooped on our white carpet.
“Clearly,” I thought as I immediately began to scrub the carpet, “this was going to be a little more difficult than I previously thought.”
Several months ago, after realizing that we couldn’t discuss having children right now with a straight face, John and I both decided that this would be the perfect time to bring a puppy into our home.
I’ll admit that John, who has previously owned two dogs, was slightly concerned about my parenting skills.
And rightly so, since the only childhood pet I’ve ever had was a goldfish named Rainbow. Rainbow died not too long after I got him, when I overfed him to death.
But after a month of reading up on everything I could find about puppies and dogs, I was confident that I would mold Ella (named after Ella Fitzgerald) into the perfect puppy and dog.
And then reality set in.
Time that was previously spent watching reality shows all night was replaced with spontaneous play sessions or walks outside. A full night’s sleep was traded for 3 a.m. pee breaks outside in the freezing cold or 2 a.m. cries for attention.
Normal conversations with my husband are often interrupted with, “Oh, my God! Please tell me she’s not peeing on the carpet again!” or “Ella, get that out of your mouth!”
And what is supposed to be a relaxing night at home can quickly turn into a 1 a.m. expensive emergency visit to the veterinarian with a sprained puppy wrist. (In my defense, Ella sprained her wrist while playing with one of her toys.)
But in spite of the constant jumping, nipping, yipping, chewing, peeing and pooping, John and I couldn’t be happier with the cuddly new addition to our family -- and I look forward to sharing our lives with her. Deciding to adopt Ella has been the most rewarding, exhausting, sometimes frustrating, and yet the best decision that John and I have made recently.
And who knows, maybe John and I will finally be ready to have a kid in the next few years and expand our family a little bit more.
After all, how hard could it be?