Exciting times – you have new puppy!


Better than all your birthdays put together. A complete package of such cuteness that your insides turn to warm caramel. A huggable, wriggly, kissing snuggler. Gaze affectionately at your deep sleeping pal and watch them dream of adventures in grassy fields, snuffling under leaves and sighing contentedly at your feet.

In anticipation of this living pleasure you blew your credit card to the enthusiastic pet store. A crate for safe sleeping lined with soft, cosy bedding. Expensive puppy toys scientifically manufactured to provide the perfect psychological enrichment. Food that would shame Harrod’s Food Hall with exclusive ingredients. Designer bowls that are just the right shade of colour and pattern to match the bedding, crate, cover and coat. A full wardrobe of miniature lead and collar, harnesses, jackets, brushes, combs and shampoos. Puppy pads for  accidents, extra fencing for the garden, a picker-up of poo and a lifetime supply of bags.
To follow the enthusiasm of your pet store you will be welcomed with professional enthusiasm by your local veterinary practice as they introduce you to the reality of private medicine. The gloom of future bills will be brightened by an insurance policy that will equal the equivalent of a small people carrier.

Three weeks of sleeping on the sofa should be anticipated to ensure you do not enter the nightmare of hostile neighbours. Puppies can scream for several hours, break your heart and kill any chance of your enjoyment of the following day companionship as they sleep soundly.


Six weeks of uninvited strangers fondling the cute package craddled in your arms. Your diligence at providing the perfect socialisation will introduce you to canine versions of paedophiles. Entire, large, mature male dogs seeking hormonal relief, with equally passionate owners full of absurdly mythical advice.

Nine weeks of boisterous playtime that you embark upon in the hopes of some quiet time when you may wish to go out for dinner.

Twelve weeks of life-by-chewing. Every surface that can be contained within the expanding mouth will be tested for taste, resistance to needle sharp pressure, nibbled for relief of boredom. That which is not fixed to the house will be researched for mobility and digestibility in both small and large chunks which may or may not arrive out the other end. Experienced friends will boast that lack of appropriate production will result in a four figure private medicine bill for the extraction surgery and after-care.

At this point in time the object of your emotional investment, increasing debt and loss of  social life will be planning their career path to Be More Dog than you would care to share your life with.

The illusion of pleasant walks will turn into a contest of wills, wrestling with ridiculous pieces of equipment designed to keep your arm joints in working order and a dog that embarrasses you at every opportunity. People that were previously gravitated to your package of cuteness now cross the road to avoid the pavement swimming, hoarse breathing, rasping, lunging, swearing alien.

A beautiful day at the park represents a frequent view of their anus and the finger-up tail as they disappear to spend three hours of cruising the local gangs and wildlife. A walk together is dismissed in seconds as their rising instincts sends them on a mission to seek sex, kill critters and eat rubbish in any order, or even all at the same time.

pups1Visitors find excuses not to come to your house. Dinner invitations have dried up. Weekends away have completely evaporated. Sales reps, delivery guys and your local postie have warning graffiti on your gatepost.

This bag of hormones will hump anything that can serve the function and respond to urinary messaging at every opportunity.

Playtime has matured to serious combat sport that requires dedicated clothing.

You are now ready to consider swapping this mistake for a loaf of bread. All the ungratefulness and lack of appreciation will dispel the fondest memories. You begin to take detours pass the local rescue centres. Can you stand the embarrassment of seeking help?


Taking on any young animal is a long term responsibility which will demand more time than you imagine, more expense that you could consider and a serious change in your lifestyle. That is the reality. Impulse buying the wrong sofa can be rectified if you swallow the expense. Impulse buying a puppy can result in personal grief for you and your family and quite possibly result in a very unhappy future or end the life of that puppy.

But, if a puppy is your life-goal then plan it well, consider the 15 year costs and benefits. Do the research. Visit dog training classes, talk to their clients, talk to the teachers. Feel the sharp end and volunteer at the local rescue centre. See the type of gambling you are toying with. This type of gambling is not just losing what you can afford, but destroying the well-being of another animal.

Research the inherited functionality of a breed, do not choose on kerb appeal or to compliment your ego. Reality is that collies can chase moving objects: every single car, bike, bus, lorry, bird, child, low flying jet. Reality is that gundogs want to hunt 12 hours a day though mud, pond, bramble and forest. Reality is that terriers can chase for England and kill ten Guinea Pigs in sixty seconds.

If you want a double-coated breed that is designed for living outdoors then seek a career with a vacuum cleaning company. You will learn more about the inner workings of all types of cleaning equipment and develop a seriously good tool kit for extracting the coat-wedges deep in the pipes. The insulating hair will coat every part of your house and have a particular fondness for all fabric parts inside your car.

Go to a breed show and talk to the specialists that have met the reality of their passion head on and still maintain that passion. These are the people whose love of their dogs is strong enough and big enough to see them through the tough times. The tough times are unavoidable, but with support, the inexperienced can survive. When they are three years old you will find you love them again.

Having done your research take a hard and realistic look at your life style and ask the brutal questions. Are you going to give up luxury furnishings, a pretty garden and change your social life? Have you neighbours that will ignore day-long howling whilst you work on your career? Will you be able to maintain the self-discipline to be up and out at 6am on a dark, wet, winter morning? Will you be able to give up the holidays, spontaneous weekends away and evenings out?

Will your love and responsibility be up to the high demands of parenting a young animal?

It takes an hour to acquire a puppy.

It may take many, many months before you realise that this was a really serious mistake. You may be able to walk away from your error, but will the pup?

Heaven is happiness in mud
Heaven is happiness in mud

22 thoughts on “Exciting times – you have new puppy!

  1. Truer words were never spoken! My youngest is now 3 1/2 so all those puppy antics are over. We have 3 standard poodles and one is now 14 1/2 so our lives have been changed for many years. And as one has just left the puppy stage our old Girl has entered the stage of needing a lot of care. But we love them and wouldn’t have it any other way.

    1. I am just polishing my degree in the “last stage”. With an oldie that has diminishing senses, is too big to pick up I have to do a lot of “caring”, to stop him embedding himself in the hedge. The other night I was in the garden at 3am holding an umbrella over him whilst he pondered what he needed to do – took a few minutes! I know my passion is big enough to take on another youngster …. but it can be tough.

  2. Ah, well, I did it, 1 year and six months ago…three phones, 2 TV remotes, several books, magazines and mail I never got to read, assorted chair legs, rug ends, shoes and various forgotten things later, I finally have a DOG. Was it worth it? Oh yes. When I curl up on the couch at night to watch TV with Pollux my funny, active, beautiful Whippet, curls up beside me as close as he can get, it’s worth it. When I take him out and he doesn’t pull my arm off when he sees a deer, when we have that joyful reunion only a dog can give after an absence of an hour, when he happily goes into his crate at night where I brush his teeth and cover him with his blanket and tell him what a good dog he is…its worth it a million time over. But, at 82, I don’t think I will do it again, take in a 4 month old puppy. Next time, if there is a next time, it will be an old dog, about my age, and we will share whatever is left of our lives together. I can’t imagine life without a dog and hopefully I’ll never have to. And PS…yes I have made arrangements for him should the time come when I can’t take care of him.

    1. My goodness – I may another couple of puppies in me yet … not so sure it will be a BIIG Gordon! Of course they are worth it – but we are already R E A L I S T I C !

  3. No, I can imagine! One thing I used to always find interesting was how the dogs (a terrier and two collies) would instantly know when there was a pheasant in amongst the chickens and would chase it off. Even though some of the big cockerels looked incredibly pheasanty (to my very human eye!)

  4. Or, if you’re TRULY insane, raise guide dog puppies & do this every year. Guilty. #18 goes back in 2 weeks, & the madness continues. I did tell them I wanted to wait until March, so I would not be housebreaking while up to my backside in snow. Being, at the moment, deep in polar vortex country (-16F with -40F windchill Tues am) maybe I still have a few faint threads of sense left?

    1. Well said Angela. My thought also – this kind of honest yet measured information is so needed for people who have not walked the walk yet. As you stated Genabacab I will take up the offer and re offer to the local pet-barns etc….

  5. Love it Kay! If only we can find a way to reach the “not already converted”. I also loved the paragraph on Collies, gundogs and terriers, only my terriers will have to chase for Australia 🙂
    I’d love a Kay Laurence book on puppy raising too…???

  6. How very fitting this was. I did months, nay, years of soul searching before getting a dog. I walked my son’s dog daily for 3 years and thought I had a pretty good grasp of what dogdom was like. Oh. Dear. Lord.

    Exactly one week after picking up my darling bundle of 11 week old fluff from the rescue centre I was in floods of tears wondering what the hell just happened to my life.

    Puppy and me bonded immediately and he’s my constant companion but I had absolutely no idea about how tying, dirty, hard work and emotionally draining it would be to have a dog as part of our family. And towels. No one told me about the endless towel washing!

    I wouldn’t change him for the world, though 😀

  7. Reblogged this on Tripping over Pebbles in the Dark and commented:
    I love reading Kay’s blog. It’s always thoughtful and insightful but this post really made me sit up and take notice. If only everyone was made to read it before they were allowed to get a dog.

    Before we got Douggie the doggie I did a lot of souls searching and thought I knew what we were getting into. Little did I know that our lives were about to be permanently turned upside down.

      1. Depends what shelter the dog came from. A responsible shelter will at least make sure you have a dog that is right for you and your lifestyle and will work with you to resolve any problems. I got Millie from Greyhound Rescue Wales – they have always been very supportive and even have their own dog behaviourist!

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