By Katie Moosbrugger
Well, sort of. I mean, she is a baby…but not a baby baby. But right now she’s the baby in our house and we’re doting on her as such. What am I talking about?
Remember when I blogged about longing for another baby? I wasn’t kidding, but that plan is not realistic for our family. Instead we did the next best thing (at least for us)…we got a puppy baby! And I have to say, after mothering two human babies over the past eight years, I cannot believe the similarities with mothering a puppy. Of course to different degrees!
Our family welcomed home Chloe from the Forsyth Humane Society about one month ago when she was just three weeks old. We agreed from the start that we’d crate train her, and the lady at the Humane Center warned us that Chloe was a screamer in the crate. No one in my family seemed to hear that but me, so I swallowed my stress and happily carted Chloe off to the minivan with the fam. After all, it was my idea to bring her home.
And then all the feelings of being a new mom again came flooding back. For instance…
Sleeping Through the Night
It was a Friday night and I made a mental note to be in bed by 10. If this baby was a screamer, I knew I was going to up all night. Aaahh, the pleasant memories of such. When our kids were babies I was the one who always got up, yet my husband had a good excuse – he didn’t have lactating boobs. Well, that same excuse doesn’t fly with a puppy, but I wasn’t going to argue.
Then at 3 am that night I woke with a start because I didn’t hear a peep from Cloe. I was thinking, “Should I get up and check on her? What if something happened to her? What if she stopped breathing? Do you let a sleeping puppy sleep – like you let a sleeping baby sleep?” I literally laid in bed until 5 am worrying about our new puppy – and even contemplated pulling out the old baby monitor! When I finally got up to let her out, she settled back to sleep in my arms on the couch until the rest of my family awoke two hours later.
We maintained that routine for a couple of nights, then for two weeks I set my alarm for middle-of-the-night potty trips, and now voila – I’m proud to report she is sleeping through the night!
And she sleeps all the time – like a baby! She’s wakes for a few hours, and then goes contentedly into her crib – oh I mean her crate – for her morning nap (usually two hours), naps again after lunchtime, and then when my kids go to bed, she climbs back into her crate and settles down for the night. No fussing. No crying.
One week after bringing Chloe home, we had our first “well visit” with the vet. My daughter actually referred to it as a “well visit” and that cracked me up. She got glowing reviews, except that she was a little on the skinny side. The doctor told me to adjust her feedings and I immediately got all defensive. “But I’m feeding her exactly how I was told. Isn’t it bad to overfeed her? I don’t want her to be overweight…how can I ensure healthy eating habits now that last a lifetime? Is it OK to feed a puppy solids, or do you think we should start out with the softer food.” Questions only a puppy-mom would ask!
Potty training has been a little bit trickier. It was slow going the first few weeks, but she’s getting it down. I admit I did consider those cute puppy diapers but resisted the urge. Cleaning up pee and poop off the floor is not as easy as wiping it away in a diaper, but we’re talking just a few weeks here – not three to four years.
Unlike a baby baby, I keep forgetting I can’t take Chloe every where. (Although I sighed a big relief that unlike a real baby, I can leave this puppy baby at home in a crate without a second thought – and without a sitter!) There are times I have her in the car with me and want to run into Harris Teeter and then forget what a bad idea that would be. Just this week I was in Charlotte – and while there made lunch plans with a friend – but had to quickly cancel forgetting I had to drive home and let Chloe out!
Did you know puppies have baby teeth? I had no clue! Will there be a tooth fairy for Chloe? Umm…don’t be surprised!
Manners, Etiquette and Schooling
Of course I want to make sure Chloe grows up to be a well-mannered dog! Right now we’re working on all the playful nibbling, excessive shoe eating, jumping on visitors and furniture, and the nervous/excitement peeing that goes along with all these things. Just like with baby milestones, we’ll cross each bridge as we go along. But schooling…that’s a whole ‘nother subject that I don’t want to think about right now!
Yes, I’m not afraid to admit I am “mothering” a puppy! If you’ve done this yourself, you know I’m not crazy to share the similarities. So let me ask this: If having another baby is not a realistic plan for your family either, would you consider getting a puppy baby too?