Life was much simpler, growing up in rural Virginia with outdoor dogs. All we needed for our family pet was a collar, and a big, old bag of dog food. The world was their bathroom. Living on large tracts of land, we didn't worry about dog poop. That's how I remember our childhood with dogs, anyway. We didn't exactly have pampered pets when I was a kid. I have always loved dogs, and I was so glad our parents let us have them, but I think there must be less of a bond between outdoor dogs and their families.
Living in the suburbs, life with dogs is different. My mom was shocked we were going to have both of our puppies, who will grow to be fairly large dogs, indoors. I explained to her that there is actually a city ordinance about the length of time a dog can spend outside in the yard. The Midwest has extreme weather; brutal winters and hot, humid summers. That ordinance would also make non-dog owner neighbors happy to know they only have to put up with dogs barking outside for a limited amount of time. I've become one of those people who walk their dogs, making sure I have a bag, just in case. Nothing will annoy a neighbor than a dog leaving a nasty deposit in their yard.
Our puppies are quite pampered, and we know that. In the beginning, it seemed we had very frequent package deliveries from Petco, Amazon Prime, and Chewy.com. Bristol and Sami have soft blankets to sleep on in their crates, and we invite them to sit with us on the covered couch. Sami has been known to sneak into bed to snuggle with Chuck early in the morning before he gets up. When I noticed Bristol seemed bothered by the cold, I even made him a NO-SEW JACKET. Both of the puppies sprawl across the couch when they are getting sleepy.
Even our friends spoil Bristol and Sam. Some of them brought gifts for the puppies when they came to visit. The puppies' toy pile kept growing, thanks to the generosity of our friends.
|Thanks to Connie and Miss V, and Trudy and Jane for all the fun toys!|
A few weeks ago, Chuck and I were loading the car for Puppy Preschool. You might think all we would need to put in the car for an obedience class would be the puppy. You would be wrong.
When it's puppy class night, we have to bring a mat for whichever pup is attending the lesson, and a chew toy. We have an "at-the-ready" puppy bag, much like a baby's diaper bag, that stays in my car, or near the back door that we take to class or when we're going for an outing with Bristol and Sam. It contains a bottle of water, an empty container to hold the water, a container of kibble, doggy waste bags, a couple of chew toys, an extra leash, and hand wipes.
While Chuck was loading Sam into the crate in the back of the Highlander, I told him I'd forgotten the puppy treat bag we wear on our belts during training. Back into the house I went. While I was grabbing the bag, I found our clicker for class, too. I tell you, there is a plethora of puppy paraphernalia with these two in our house.
Puppy stuff, puppy stuff, everywhere! On the kitchen counter there is a plastic tote containing the puppies' medicines, brush, toothbrushes, vet records, extra bags, and a leash. In Chuck's office there are two large dog crates, and on top of them, the extra blankets and towels. Inside the crates are fleece blankets, bones, and empty Kongs.
On the living room floor, scattered from heck to breakfast are a multitude of puppy toys. Most days begin with the toys in a tidy pile, but they don't stay in that formation once everyone's awake. In the backyard, there is even a puppy play pen.
When we were first filling out applications to adopt, a couple of the shelters asked if we understood the expense of dog ownership, and asked if we were prepared for that. I blissfully checked off that we were, indeed, ready to assume financial responsibility for a dog. Little did I know at that time that we would not be adopting ONE dog, but two little puppies! Double the pleasure; double the expense.
|Walking the puppies is SO much easier when Chuck comes, too.|
It hasn't been cheap, and it hasn't been easy, but we are the proud puppy parents of two pampered pets. The caretaker in me wouldn't have it any other way. My life as a stay-home dog mama has given my retirement so much more purpose. I'm a happy girl.