Puppy Love 1 of 11
Long before my husband and I ever considered parenthood, we adopted an orphaned puppy, thinking it would be a fun addition to our relationship. Both of us had previously owned mature dogs but never had the experience of raising a puppy to adulthood. What we discovered from our new little furry bundle of joy was that, much like babies, puppies are a ton of work, requiring constant attention and education as well as an intense emotional and financial investment. Here are 10 ways we learned that a puppy can (hopefully) help prepare first-time mommies and daddies for the basic challenges of parenthood.
Crying at Night 2 of 11
1. Crying at Night
Every puppy misses its mama and siblings that first night in new, unfamiliar surroundings, and he's going to let you know it with ear-piercing shrieks and the saddest whines and whimpers you've ever heard. Luckily, Lil' Fido will most likely embrace sleeping through the night more quickly than a newborn.
Grooming 3 of 11
If you hand a puppy a brush, she will probably just chew the handle or carry it around the house like a prized bone. The bathing, brushing, teeth-cleaning, nail-clipping, ear-draining, anal-gland-releasing joys of puppyhood all fall to you and your bathtub. Your babes will eventually grow up to be self-groomers, but you're in it for the long haul with the pup.
Potty Training 4 of 11
2. Potty Training
Just like kids, puppies don't come out of the womb knowing when and where to potty, nor is it custom to strap a catch-all to their bottoms to keep their bowel movements contained. It's your responsibility to patiently teach them to go on your terms, or else it's their prerogative to go on your carpets and furniture. But on the bright side, it takes months, as opposed to years, for a puppy to learn proper elimination etiquette.
Feeding 5 of 11
Again, your kids actually have a leg up on your puppy in this regard. While your babies will ultimately be able to feed and water themselves, you are responsible for your pup's breakfast, lunch, and dinner for his entire life. If he had opposable thumbs, he would probably be open to raiding your pantry and preparing his own meals, although that would probably run up hefty grocery and vet bills.
Initial Medical Expenses 6 of 11
5. Initial Medical Expenses
There's no such thing as a free puppy. Vaccinations and spaying/neutering add up to a number of pricey vet bills in the first few months of companionship. Spoiler alert: Puppies don't get cheaper as they grow up, and neither do kids.
Toys (and Teething!) 7 of 11
6. Toys (and Teething!)
If you don't want your pup to get bored or cut her teeth on your designer handbag or leather shoes, you'd better buy her a few good toys. And then when she rips those up, a few more. And then when she loses those, a few more. You get the picture. And get ready for the fact that as the dog grows, so does the toy collection.
Training 8 of 11
We all know education is essential to child-rearing, but it can do your pup a lot of good, too. While obedience school and in-home training may seem like a pricey, time-consuming endeavor, they pay off in spades when your dog becomes a well-behaved, civilized member of four-legged society. Plus, party tricks!
Managing Mischief 9 of 11
8. Managing Mischief
Ever try to pry something inedible or unsafe from a dog's mouth? Or sew together something he tore up? Or glue together something he broke? Has your mommy friend next door done the same with her kids? Mischief: It's not just for puppies.
Inability to Communicate Wants and Needs 10 of 11
9. Inability to Communicate Wants and Needs
Communication is everything. Unfortunately, you and your pup don't speak the same language. Just like a newborn, your puppy can only communicate her wants and needs with varying vocal, postural, and physical cues. It's up to you to decipher them.
Unconditional Love 11 of 11
10. Unconditional Love
Whether they're looking at you with puppy dog eyes or baby blues, that unconditional love you can see and feel makes it all totally worth it.