Written by Carly C.
After Jonathan and I had travelled the globe, made the transition halfway around the world, and had fairly settled into an apartment that was roughly the size of our old master bedroom – we may have done the most reckless thing of our relationship: we adopted a puppy.
Don’t get me wrong, we both LOVE dogs. And it had been a goal of ours for some time. So when someone posted on Facebook about a 4-week-old male puppy they’d found on the side of the road, we jumped at the opportunity to take her home. Never mind the fact that most puppies are at least 6-8 weeks before they are adopted. Never mind the fact that she was malnourished and no one knew how long she’d been without her litter – I jumped in my friend’s car and we went to meet this little guy.
Turns out, he was a she – something we figured out the second I unwrapped the towel she was shivering in. She leaned forward, licked my nose, and the rest was history.
We knew having a puppy was a ton of responsibility. We both grew up with dogs, but we’d never been solely responsible for their well-being. Daily walks, sure. Letting the dog out to use the facilities in the backyard, sure. But living in an apartment with no garden, no dog-park nearby, in a neighborhood that is notoriously against owning animals? That was something that we’d never had any experience with, and we didn’t realize just how much work it would be.
Lucy (technically Major Lucy, but she only answers to Lucy) affected our relationship in ways that we could only imagine. When it took us almost a year to house-train her, we would have screaming matches about who was the last person that took her out; and why didn’t they read her “signals?” (That being said, her signals could have changed on a daily basis – for all we know, they were totally in our heads – she stomped her foot three times, she hung out by the bathroom door for a second longer than usual, she looked at you in the eyes with a pleading look…) When she decided that the only suitable place to sleep was in our bed on a pillow between our heads, we laughed a lot, and when she had an allergic reaction to one of her doggie-vaccinations, we cried, as she had to sleep in the shower to avoid soiling every surface in our house.
We argued about whether to keep her or to give her away – to discipline her or to use only positive reinforcement, about who would take her out, and who would walk her. We made jokes about which one of us was her “favorite.” She added a lot of stress to our home, but also a lot of love. A lot of opportunity to go on new adventures. Hiking and walking became our new normal dates. Dog training videos and yes, dog trainers, became new expenses that we hadn’t planned on. And our house felt a lot warmer and fuzzier because of it.
As I’m writing this blog, Lucy’s standing in front of me barking profusely. It’s the one thing that we can’t seem to get rid of from her terrible quirks. We don’t think she ever learned how to be a puppy – but instead, learned to be an extension of our home, of our relationship, that sleeps on our pillows at night and keeps both of us warm.