My family always had pets growing up. Dogs, cats, fish, and hermit crabs were our specialty. I always knew that once I had my own house, I would get my own dog.
Two months after my husband (then fiance’) and I moved into our home, we decided that we wanted to start looking for a puppy. First we wanted a greyhound, german shepherd, then a golden retriever, then a bernese mountain dog…..the list goes on. One night my fiance’ brought home our local advertising newspaper and in the animal classifieds there was an ad for 6 goldendoodle puppies. I grabbed my phone, dialed the number, apologized profusely for it being almost 10 o’clock, and asked if they had any more puppies left.
They had 2.
The next day I sat through five hours of meetings watching the clock and waiting for the moment I could rush out the door. I drove the 50 miles to see the puppies and when I arrived, one was being carried out by another couple.
Oh no! Did I miss my chance?!
I knocked on the door, was greeted by friendly faces, and soon came face to face with the most adorable goldendoodle puppy I had ever laid eyes on.
I knew she was ours.
I haggled a price, scooped her up into my arms, and took her home on my lap.
We already had a name picked out; Novella.
Those first few weeks were a struggle for us. Novella cried throughout the night while she was still getting used to her new home. She needed to go outside several times during our normal sleep schedule and in order for her to go back to sleep she needed to curl up on one of our laps and have us comfort her.
By spring she was house trained but the first time we took her swimming she drank so much river water that she had diarrhea all over the kitchen floor. That was fun.
She quickly became my new running partner. She loves going for car rides and running on our local trails is a great way to wear her out before settling down for the evening.
As the first full year of having Novella approaches, I have been reminded how different life has become since I first brought her home.
How having a dog changed me:
- Patience – Training a puppy taught me a great deal of patience. You can’t communicate with words and a puppy doesn’t understand much at first so reaching an understanding that peeing is not allowed inside the house takes much longer than you think it would.
- Excitement – I thought that I was easy to please….wow are dogs pleased by every little thing you present them with. Opening a new jar of peanut butter? WAY TO GO! Walking to the mailbox? BEST DAY EVER! Made it to the kitchen for the first time during a Netflix binge? YOU ARE THE GREATEST HUMAN BEING ALIVE!
- Go With The Flow – You have a meeting tonight but the dog decides to roll in a mud puddle five minutes before you leave? You give that dog a quick shower and tell her she is not getting any belly rubs for the rest of the week (she will). You are running late in the morning for a big day at work but the dog decides to rip all the stuffing out of her bed and drag it throughout the house? You stuff it all back in her pillow and tell her she is never getting a new bed (she does). A dog isn’t going to understand how important it is not to be late or that you spent thirty minutes picking out the right outfit. They just want your attention.
- No Excuses – We are not the only ones who needs food, comfort, and attention now. We must go to work to pay for her food, medical bills, and toys. We must make time to brush, play, and walk her. Did we procrastinate on buying her food and it’s now 10pm on a Tuesday? We get our butts out the door and to the store. Did we plan a weekend trip to somewhere we can’t take a dog? We have to make sure she has proper arrangements. She is now a top priority in our life.
- Laughter – I laugh…a lot. But now I laugh more than I ever thought I could. Novella is a smart dog but there are times when she does something so silly you can’t help but laugh until you pee yourself.
- Explore – We love to be outside but now that we have a dog it gives us an excuse, and a push, to go outside every day and be healthy. Just because you are tired when you get home from work doesn’t mean you can skip your walk….that dog has been cooped up all day and wants to spend time with you!
- It’s Okay To Change Your Mind – Before we got Novella, my husband and I had a list of all the things we wouldn’t allow our dog to do. A year later, she has conquered at least half of the big no’s on our list. It’s surprising how quick you will change the way you think about a dog once you own one.
- Saying NO – One of my biggest flaws is not being able to say “no”. Even when I have a million things to do, you could catch me saying “yes” to ten new tasks. Having a dog who constantly wants to cuddle up with you on the couch has taught me to say “no” and mean it. It has made me realize how important it is to say no and make sure you stick to it.
Possibly the biggest change that I find in myself are those moments when I catch myself just watching Novella run around the yard with a stick, caught up in a moment of complete joy. My heart has opened ten times since that first day we brought our little golden pup-a-lup home. My house is also twenty times messier but that’s life. And life without a dog would be pretty damn boring at this point.
I mean, look at this adorableness!