10 weeks ago (according to instagram) I stumbled across the photos of a particularly grumpy looking puppy*. There were roughly 20 photos of her spanning from age 1 week to age 8 weeks...all with the same Betty Draper scowl. She was perfect.
(some of the pictures that hooked me!)
I spent the next couple of days sharing her picture with everyone I knew saying stuff like, "I have to show you these pictures, you won't believe this puppy....she has the bitchiest face!" The more I passed her picture around, the more obsessed I became. I started to seriously consider the possibility of my very pet-less self owning a dog. I made a pros and cons list in my head, that went like this:
• I could bring her to work (I am very lucky to work at a dog friendly company)
• My apartment complex is pet friendly
• I could snuggle her all the time
• THAT face
• She would force me to be more active
* I live alone, she can keep me company!
• Bitchface is kind of pricey
* Puppies are a lot of work, A LOT of work
• I live in an apartment
• I live alone, who will keep her company?
After a couple days of thinking things over, I very quietly emailed the breeder* asking if she was still available and if I could possibly trade some of my design skills to help offset the cost. The breeder emailed me back and after striking a deal, she said that "Camille" (as she was named) could be mine in just 3 days time. With my head spinning, I said I definitely wanted her and immediately started reading every puppy related article on the internet and loaded up my amazon shopping cart with everything ( I thought) I needed.
The day she arrived was one of the most anxious days of my life, I spent the whole work day stressing and worrying that maybe she'd meet me and hate me....or maybe I was making a terrible decision that I would ultimately regret. I got home from work that evening and sipped a calming glass of wine until I heard a knock at my door. Standing there was Lisa (the breeder) and in her arm was a pet carrier, inside of which was a teeny tiny 9lb puppy. After spending 2 days together, I decided to call her Lucille, after Lucille Bluth.
(Lucille's first day at the office)
Our first week together was rough, with me getting next to no sleep and having to keep an eye on her at all times (so as to avoid unwanted chewing and accidents indoors). I had decided that crate training was a MUST and our first 5 nights together were spent listening to her sad crying and doing my best to not run out and snuggle her (this was a lifesaver in adjusting her to sleeping alone!). After a couple nights of accidents in the crate, I quickly learned to set an alarm to go off every 3 hours during the night so I could take her out. In spite of all the troubles, however, I couldn't help but completely adore this little animal that constantly gives me disappointed looks.
(We take lots of naps together)
I've only been a puppy parent for 9 weeks, but I feel like I've learned a lot. Here are some of my insights, I'm sure I'll have many more as the years go on:
• No matter how many times you hear "puppies are a lot of work" you will never fully understand it till you have one completely overwhelming you.
• Potty-training isn't hard, but definitely requires A LOT of patience. Just last night Lucille broke her awesome 14 day streak of not going in the house by peeing on the carpet....*sigh*.
• While being an awesome resource for answering your questions, the internet can also be the source of much misinformation and panic. I've had to try a lot of different things with my girl to see what works best for her.
• Lucille has a lot of great toys, but her favorite things to play with are empty plastic bottles, cardboard boxes, and ice cubes. Puppies are simple creatures.
• One of the best tips I received and have put into action is to constantly be messing with her and annoying her. I play with her ears, hold her paws, flip her on her back, look at her teeth, and pet every part of her body. In doing this, no part of her body is sensitive or "off-limits". It has made grooming and nail-trimming such an easy process. I also think it has helped make her a better "people dog" because she doesn't get bothered by strangers touching her or picking her up.
• Lucille has done an excellent job of keeping me in shape....even though she hates walks. In spite of the fact that I haven't worked out once since getting her, my legs and arms have gotten a nice tone from picking up her (now 27lb) body and walking her up and down the stairs to get out of my apartment for potty breaks. I've had multiple people comment on how skinny my arms look and it just makes me giggle.
I'll likely be continuing to do little puppy updates on the blog as she continues to grow and as I continue to learn and adjust to being a team of 2. In the meantime, feel free to check out the many instagram pictures I post of her at the hashtag #bitchfacepuppy
*Just a couple of notes*
1. Yes, Lucille came from a breeder...which I know is pretty controversial for some people. I have to say that I 100% support rescue dogs and the organizations that help them, I grew up with quite a few wonderful dogs that my family had rescued. Part of my decision to get Lucille (besides the love at first sight part) was that I knew I needed a puppy since an adult dog would be too much work to train to be office friendly. Also, I felt comfortable with the breeder that she came from. They are a small family-owned operation and only produce 1-2 litters a year, definitely a far cry from a puppy mill.
2. Lucille is an Olde English Bulldogge, not to be confused with a regular English Bulldog. Although I didn't know a ton about the breed before getting her, she has proved to have the perfect temperament for me. She doesn't need a ton of exercise like a lab would, but absolutely loves going on hikes through the dog park. She loves to snuggle and sleep a lot as well. The biggest turn-off that people might find with this breed is their intense stubbornness. Lucille WILL NOT do something that she doesn't want to do, and it is taking a great deal of training to work through this. She is a very smart dog and picks things up quickly, but I swear there are some times that I can see her little mind deciding not to obey me. I guess you could say that, in this case, the dog fits the personality of the owner perfectly.
3. I am INCREDIBLY lucky to work in an environment where I get to bring my dog to work with me every day, I honestly don't think I could have her if this weren't an option. Having her in an office environment with various other people and dogs every day has significantly helped to socialize her. She is very friendly with every human and dog that she meets and that is a trend I am hoping will continue as she ages.