After hours/days/weeks of intense research and scouring of internet advice to prepare for our incoming puppy, we received our box(es) of supplies from the Chewy saviors (whom we should now start investing in) yesterday. As the scissors sliced through the seal that held the necessities of the future, I excitedly lifted each lid and peeked in. Two red dog harnesses in XS & S, a non-squeaky-to-human-ears elephant, an already ear-splitting squeaky lamb and yellow duck, a red leash, a dog bed, an adjustable dog crate, puppy food and treats, an endless supply of poop bags, potty pads (our first regret-purchase after more research), a bowl set with a silicone mat, a puppy nylabone, and a few other intellectually stimulating toys. I couldn’t help but think, Is this all it takes? To start off raising a puppy? Four boxes of “things”? What are we missing?!
As a childless couple, with no recollection of my family’s dogs as puppies, this is the first time I have ever co-parented a growing creature and the weight of responsibility is not lost on me. We have quickly acquired which vaccinations are necessary at which ages, the prime puppy months for training (indeed, she is signed up for school immediately), the delicate balance of puppy socializing (“not too much in unknown territories but also be sure to socialize!”), how to handle nipping (yell, “OW!” and do NOT pull away), bell training, and how important routine is, especially in the first week. As I typically operate when I am nervous (read: my equilibrium is best found vibrating within a ball of anxiety), I sift through endless research until I feel confident. What the research is not preparing me for is how this curious and energetic fluffball is going to totally shift our lives on Sunday, most likely for the better. My heart is already telling me that it doesn’t matter how much stuff we have, as long as love and patience (and routine!) are at the crux of our intentions. Sometimes the head simply cannot research enough to prepare the heart for what lies ahead.