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why raising a puppy is different than owning a dog

09 February 2011

There is truth in advertising and then there is pet industry advertising.

I mean, have you ever seen someone scowl or yell at a puppy in a dog food ad or Petco TV commercial? Lose their patience at a 4 lb cockapoo? Not really. Don’t think so. Not sure? How about never?

Purina and other members of the pet industry love to show you the wonderful joy that comes with puppy ownership. It’s how they trick you into a lifetime (or 10-12 years as it turns out) of buying their dog food.

Legend has it that you derive much from puppy ownership. Well…..I can attest to the joys of dog ownership, having had a couple of really good adult dogs. But puppy ownership? That’s a lot different. Call me a born again skeptic.

A Puppy is Not a Dog

Owning a puppy is a lot different than owning a dog. If your current lifestyle is some kind of sun-drenched idyll filled with cheap gas, homemade granola, traffic-free post offices and commuter lanes, and filing extensions for every important deadline, it’s going to change.

Think of pretty much every green-headed alien invasion, asteroids-hitting-Earth screenplay produced since Zombies of the Stratosphere in 1952 and this will be your life for the animal’s first 15 months.

Change is Gonna Come

As Sam Cooke once so beautifully sang, “change is gonna come.”

I’d forgotten about this part. I mean completely forgotten about it. Mostly because I didn’t pay attention the first time. I was 11-years-old and my biggest focus then was saving up to buy Boston’s debut LP (still the second best-selling debut album in U.S. history) so I could learn all the words to More Than a Feeling.

Luna has been, without resorting in any way to hyperbole, a sea change. She’s been a little more than a feeling; she’s been complete regime change in our household.

26lbs of Regime Change

26 lbs of Regime Change

The End of the World As You Know It

She has been the equivalent, borrowing some global and historical perspective, of a simultaneous end to the Ceausescu, Pinochet and Tito regimes, combined with a switch from the French Republican to Gregorian calendars, James Watt’s invention of the modern steam engine, embracing an entirely vegan diet, and suffrage for women. In sum, daily upheaval that’ll make your 24/7 head spin.

Living with Luna has simply been a lot harder than I thought it would be because:

  1. She does what she wants when she wants.
  2. She chews capriciously between 6:30am and 9:45pm.
  3. She expels body fluids at her discretion without regard for the surface under paw.
  4. She’s as oblivious as Paris Hilton to limits of conventionally accepted behavior.
  5. She doesn’t listen/acknowledge (or generally respond) to commands given in English.
  6. She can’t apparently understand English or any of the other 50 Most Widely Spoken Languages in the World.

It’s been Trial by Very Young Dog. I know it sounds like the title of an Off-Broadway bit of performance art but Luna’s starring in it every day. If it was a 40” X 70” acrylic painting entitled Trial of a Family by Very Young Dog, I can see myself with a scowl of pained impatience as I endeavor in vain to get Luna to walk 15 ft. down the sidewalk without stopping.

So what’s next? I’m going to discuss 5 things you give up when raising a puppy. They’re way more than 5 things on the list but I have to start the discussion somewhere.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Bev. permalink
    09 February 2011 2:57 pm

    Interesting view of raising puppy

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