Two weeks ago, my husband Che called to say he had a surprise for me. After agonizing all day about it because he gives such amazing gifts, I twiddled my thumbs and watched the clock. My phone rings.
“Babe, can you help me with something, I’m outside.”
After running outside, barefoot, he hands me a dog pillow and a small bag of dog food.
“What is this babe? Where is the dog? Is it in the house?”
When we get inside the house, he said, can you go look in the backyard. I walked outside in the dark and after spotting the blue leash I looked down and immediately started crying. “Oh my God babe!” I startled the little fellow, who backed away from me, but then walked in closer sniffing me.
I carried him into the house and realized that this would be the closest thing I’d have to a baby, the thing is, being a parent to a puppy is almost exactly like having a newborn baby. Who knew that an 8 week old black Labrador, born on my husband’s birthday, would give me such joy?
- You can’t let your puppy out of your sight. Once when Marley was asleep, I went upstairs to get dressed. I came back down to find the entire toilet paper roll ripped to shreds all over the living room.
- They can’t control their bladders or their bowls. We clean up lots of Marley’s fluids and we are working very hard to house train him. I hear that it is a lot like potty training. We’ve got training pads all over the house and we spend more time outside now than we have all summer walking Marley.
- They sleep… a lot. The first week, Marley slept just as much as he played. In fact, I started to ask Che if something was wrong with him because he slept so much. It turns out that he’s growing and there is a noticeable size difference already. He will also fall out asleep anywhere.
- People pay attention. More people speak to us and want to come up to us and ask us about Marley… how old is he? What kind of dog is he? How big will he get. We’re friendly people so we welcome the attention and we’re so obsessed with how cute our new pup is. We love introducing him to little kids, and it helps us to socialize him so that he doesn’t bark uncontrollably or try to nibble on strangers.
- They can’t eat or drink without you. Marley sends nonverbal clues like scratching his bowl or turning it over when he wants our attention. He also whimpers and can now “sit” on command, thanks to treats. He communicates with us non-verbally and we can certainly tell his mood based on his behavior.
Che and I are still actively working on creating Baby Smith and until our little precious baby is here, Marley serves as a wonderful substitute.