03/05/2019

10 things to know before you get a puppy

Peggy made her first blog appearance in my last post, but I haven’t really introduced her properly on here. We got her in September ’18, she’s a Bedlington Terrier (and yes we still have Bee!). Our house is now like a mini zoo (we’re looking for somewhere bigger once we’re married!) and I can’t believe she’s been with us almost 8 months! Getting a dog was something we’ve talked about for years – neither of us grew up with dogs and Sam was adamant for a long time that he didn’t ever want one. You get the usual advice from people about them being a tie and a lot of work, but eventually Sam was slowly coming round to the idea – working from home (and Bee’s total disinterest in anything human) meant not only did he want some company, but we were in an ideal position to do it. We’re engaged, but children aren’t on the horizon – it seemed like a suitable time (I won’t say right because when is it ever the right time!).

We looked up Kennel Club breeders, and within six months we had a call to say she was going to have a litter. In July, Peggy and her six siblings was born – and in the September, we collected her from Essex and brought her home. It was super exiting but also a little rushed – we had to commit quite fast to one of the pups. The breed is quite rare and they go so quickly – as it was our first dog we wanted a KC registered one, and so one evening in the late spring, we spoke with the breeder on the phone and made a very quick decision to go for it! Now? I told Peggy just last week, she is the best thing we’ve ever spent that much money on. It hasn’t all been roses, but as I type, Sam’s away on his stag do and she’s sat on my feet (personal hot water bottle), and she’s the perfect companion.

 

So, what have we learnt?

– I know it’s a taboo to compare your dog to people’s children, but getting a puppy totally sets you up for kids. The responsibility for one, the need to think about something other than yourself (something that is totally reliant on you to live). The way you choose to parent – how you want to train them and treat them, the way you have to agree and communicate your choices. How you share the jobs – in the morning, I do breakfast whilst Sam takes Peggy for her morning ablutions. I don’t deny a child is a whole lot harder (although they don’t run around at 50mph and bite, all I’m saying), but it’s a good stepping stone to making decisions together and taking the slack off one another.

– To think strategically – people often comment on how well behaved Peggy is when we take her to cafes or pubs. This is pure strategy – a bit like kids, I don’t doubt. We always wear her out first – I’ve been known to do 6.30am walks on the weekend just so she’ll sleep through my brunch date at 9. Sometimes we don’t get it quite right and she’s still a bundle of energy (she’s a terrier afterall), but that’s when a chew stick and some stern words come in.

– You’ll have to carry loads of shit around – being real, dogs need stuff. Leads, collar, harness, water bottle, chews, treats, blankets, towels, poo bags. And that’s just for a weekend walk! Peggy has her own backpack for day trips, but even a visit to the pub requires more than you’d think.

– You can’t get anywhere fast – and not because she holds us up, because she’s a puppy. She’s like a celebrity – and not only is she a puppy, she’s an unusual breed. Everyone wants to pet her and meet her and I remember life before a dog, and being that person, so I’m always happy to stop but it’s worth remembering. Puppies are REALLY EXCITING.

– Holidays and weekends away are that bit more of a faff – if she’s coming with, it’s all the gubbins that come with her. And if she’s staying at home with her grandparents… it’s shifting all her gubbins over there first! Don’t underestimate what a faff this is.

– You will 100% get outside so much more – of course, there’s the weekday local walks but the weekend adventures have been my favourite! We’d never have taken a 10 mile walk through the New Forest, on a spring Saturday, with a packed lunch, if it hadn’t been for Peggy. We’ve done so many great things in the time we’ve had her!

– Much like with children, them not being able to tell you what’s wrong is heartbreaking. Peggy had her ear clipped by the groomer’s scissors a month or so ago and had to be glued up at the vets. She’s was so sad afterwards, and it was horribled not being able to talk to her and comfort her. She’s sometimes a bit grumpy too and on and off her food, and I so wish she could communicate with us what’s wrong.

– I’ve told a few people this, but if kids are remotely on your radar – don’t get a dog. It’s pushed my want for children back another five years – and not in a ‘she’s a handful way’, in a ‘I don’t feel like I need anything else to love’ way!

– There absolutely will be times when you regret it – in the first few months, for sure. She’d wee all over the house, chew things we didn’t want her to, chase the cat – and we’d think, jeez, what have we done. But it passes and as with anything hard, eventually the good shines through and the positives she brought us outweighs any negatives!

– And finally, just don’t do it if you can’t take time off work to be with them. Dogs aren’t cats, they need so much more support and attention. Do all you can to be at home with them, to train them and build your bond – and keep some sanity! Peggy is crate trained which is a god send, as she’s such a chewer, even at 10 months, we can’t leave her with the run of the house. Give them the time they need and it’ll pay off in the long run!

I’d love to hear if you’ve got or had a puppy, or if you plan to get one!

And don’t forget to give Peggy’s Instagram a follow here.

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If you’ve landed here, you’re probably looking to find out more about Katherine-Louise. Run by me, Kat - put simply I'm a 30 year old who is decidedly normal. My blog is a destination for women just like me - the same interests and aspirations, working our way through the same twists and turns of life. Katherine-Louise is designed to inspire and inform; to give you a break from the norm as well identify with the beauty of routine. A fifteen minute recoup, or an hours vacation, it’s the go-to for Everyday-Joe’s, just like me, who want a few minutes off the radar.