Last week marked the three-year-anniversary of the glorious day that ‘Lil Beezy joined our family. I’ve been spending a lot of time reflecting on that period because we’re carefully weighing our options for adding a second pooch to the family. I like the idea of adding another dog to the mix—it would certainly put an end to the nightly fights over who gets to cuddle with her—but I went a little overboard those first few weeks after bringing Beezy home. Am I mentally fit to care for another dog?
I’ve learned a lot since then—about life, about myself as a person, and about dogs in general. I can’t believe how smug, self-righteous, and arrogant I was. Oooph, it was ugly for a while. But I’ve come a long way, baby, and life is all about the journey we take as we grow into better people, right? I think I’m making some progress thanks to my little brindle bundle of joy. But just some.
Once I knew for sure that we were going to be bringing home a Frenchie puppy, I went into full-on “Operation: Best Dog Mom Ever (OBDME)” mode. I’d already made sure I knew everything there was to know about the breed, now it was time to learn everything about raising a puppy. I was going to be the best dog mom on the planet. I was going to be a puppy-owning savant! I bought all the gear to ensure it would happen. I read all the books. How could it not happen? Let me tell you how that worked out. But I’m betting you have a pretty good idea…
Example: see the feature photo there? That’s Beezy in the car outside the breeder’s house on the night we brought her home. You can’t see it, but she’s wearing a fancy no-pull harness that’s connected to a special doggy seatbelt. She doesn’t use either anymore … because she has her own car seat now (of course she does!). That yellow blob in front of her? That’s a special toy called a Snuggle Pet. It comes with an electronic beating heart that can be turned on and off because, apparently, a wrapped hot water bottle and ticking alarm clock—a remedy that has worked for decades—is not sufficient for us. I wouldn’t blame you one bit if you’re rolling your eyes as you read this. I mean, I’m responsible for it and I’m rolling my eyes as I write it down!
Despite the fact that Frenchies are notorious for being difficult in that area—and this is for total realz—I had it in my head that my dog was going to be completely and totally housebroken in less than a week’s time (she absolutely was not). I followed all of the advice I’d read and took her out once an hour, every hour on the dot that evening. I was already killing it as a mom. I mean, really nailing it.
When it was time for bed, I carefully placed her in her brand new crate, which was tricked out with all of the amenities a new puppy could possibly want or need. A blanket was draped over the top to create a “den-like” feel. Blankets lined the floor of the crate to ensure that she’d be nice and toasty … OK, I feel like I need to pause here and just point out how jacked up that is. A tiny puppy does NOT need blankets on the floor of their crate. Do you know why? Read on.
I closed the crate door, turned off the light and went upstairs to get ready for bed. It was going swimmingly and I was really impressed with myself. But then the howling started. I’d read this could happen, so I was prepared. I did not budge. She needed to get used to the fact that she was in her very own space and she would eventually calm down and grow to feel safe. I needed to let her learn that. But when she was still crying and howling 20 minutes later, I felt like I needed to go downstairs and offer her some reassurance that everything was going to be okay.
The first inclination that something was amiss hit me when I reached the bottom step. There was a really strong smell of … poop. How could that be? She’d just been outside—like the books said—and it had only been 20 minutes. Frenchies are notoriously gassy, maybe that’s all it was. Yes, I was sure that’s all it was. I mean, I’d read the books! I cannot stress how much time I’d spent reading the books!
Yeah, it wasn’t gas. It was poop. And a whole freaking lot of it. Snuggle Pet? Covered. Her comfy blankets? Covered. Beezy herself? Covered. She’d managed to hop around in it and spread it everywhere, including on the carpet on the floor outside of the crate and on the built-in cupboards nearby. The books did NOT mention this.
It was a long, stinky night. But we got through it. It wasn’t the last time we experienced poop in the house (we discovered she has a chicken intolerance) and we eventually got rid of the crate altogether. The books? I think they’re in the basement now.
Looking back on it now, my one regret is that I spent so much time trying to be the perfect dog mom that I didn’t really spend any time actually enjoying the experience. Kind of like going to a concert and taking pictures and videos with your phone all evening long. I don’t really remember Beezy being a puppy. At all. I spent so much time and energy keeping her from doing typical “puppy” stuff that I’m not sure if she really ever got to be a puppy. So, maybe I’m looking for a do-over. Is that wrong? More specifically, is it the wrong motivation for wanting a second dog? How do you know if it’s the right move?
Do any of you live in a multiple-dog household? If so, do you recommend it? Let me know!