When we bought our house there was only one thing on my mind: we finally had our own space, our own garden and we could actually get a dog. After spending years hiding my hamsters in the cupboard every time the landlord came round, hoping that a fish was classified more of an ornament than technically a pet, and cooing over every cat that happened to walk past our building, we could take the plunge and create a home with our very own fur baby. As soon as the ground floor was finished I started to do my research, looking at different breeds and the kind of temperament that would best slot into our lifestyles; we very quickly settled on a Cocker Spaniel and couldn’t wait to bring a little bundle of fluff home to love.
From the moment I met Archie I knew he was the one for us: a little squished fat face amongst the lean and beautiful siblings, as soon as I picked him up he licked my nose and fell asleep on my chest (a sign of things to come for sure!) When we picked him up it honestly felt like Christmas Day times a billion, and immediately he made himself at home by picking up and walking around with our shoes. It’s hard to believe that was nearly two months ago, but Archie has honestly changed our lives in so many ways and we’re so grateful that he chose us as his fur-ever home as much as we chose him.
So almost two months in, here’s everything I’ve come to realise since getting a puppy… And there’s so much more to learn along the way I know. I’m sure the dog owners amongst you will relate to many of my discoveries and observations!
1. The outdoors is wonderful, even when it’s raining; having a furry friend to enjoy it with means I get out there so much more and breathe in the fresh air, which always clears the mind and invigorates the senses.
2. Wellies go with everything. I definitely need more pairs.
3. Nothing is more interesting to a puppy than mud, leaves and other animal’s poop. Not even treats.
4. Cleaning up wee could be an Olympic sport. I’ve got my process nailed and my preferential lists of products like I’m ruddy Mrs Hinch.
5. Being greeted by an excitable fluff ball every morning makes getting up early so much easier. Who knew I’d be happy to get up at 6.30am when I don’t even need to.
6. You can say they won’t be allowed on the sofa, but when they give you cute snuggles on said sofa that plan doesn’t last long.
7. I now spend all my money on dog treats, toys and accessories – and my Kong collection will soon be as vast as my shoe collection.
8. Working from home with a puppy means my productivity has been reduced by around 75%. Not only is it a cuddly distraction, but I find myself constantly saying ‘don’t eat that’ or trying to not get him to jump on my lap. I actually have to sit in Costa for a couple of hours just to get stuff done!
9. Puppy training is great, but it’s more for you than it is for them. And as soon as you think you’ve nailed a part of training, they’ll forget it completely and you’ll have to start again. Bring treats, and then more treats.
10. A pizzle is a godsend and I now continually ask the dog ‘where’s your willy gone?’ (A pizzle is a bull’s penis – and dogs blooming love them. Dogs are weird.)
11. Seeing your pup leap through the grass, their ears bouncing in the wind, will warm your heart like nothing else. It’s the ultimate antidote to a bad day.
12. My social life is now dependant upon having a dog sitter; and there are more than a few willing participants right now!
13. Dog friendly restaurants, cafes and bars are a godsend – offering a water bowl and a fuss can probably double your turnover within a year. (Once I find a decent dog friendly place, I go back again and again!)
14. Nobody actually wants to see or spend time with me anymore, they just pretend they do so they can see and spend time with the dog.
15. Everyone will have their own advice to give, but every dog is different and you just have to learn as you go. You make mistakes, you feel exhausted and you take one step forward to take three back, but the journey is totally worth it.
Archie is my little best friend and I’m so grateful he’s in our lives. He really has made our house a home, even if I now have to hoover up three times a week because he eats as he walks and likes to rip apart every fluffy toy. Already since we took these photos he’s grown so much, and I can’t wait to see the fully grown dog he’s yet to become.
If you’re thinking about getting a pup of your own, I can tell you it’s the most joyous experience – and if you’ve got your own pup already, do share with me your best pieces of advice!
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