A new puppy? Really?

My husband and I bit the bullet.  For years we talked about getting a dog.  Everyone who had a dog said they are wonderful.  And they also said they are a lot of work.  We are finding out what an understatement that is.  Her name is Nellie and she’s a yellow lab, 11 weeks old.  Whew!  Does she have energy.  And did I mention that we are 75 years old?

The very first night, even though she didn’t cry when we crated her, we had a touch of buyers’ remorse.  Our lives had suddenly changed.  We think for the good.  We think.  But with the first small “accident,” we sighed and said, “What were we thinking?”  And after the second and third accident, the remorse set in a bit more.  However, lucky for Nellie, she is adorable, smart, and is already fetching the toys we pitch in the yard.  I am happy to say, “She’s a keeper.  Even with all the work, she’s a keeper.”

My husband usually has a big project in his life.  His most recent one, a full-scale airplane, was completed last fall.  He sold it to a friend and held off getting another major project underway.  The plane had been a long, 7 years.  He has decided Nellie is the next project, and one who “pays back” lots of joy.  What a sight to see the two of them together.  Nellie follows his every step.  She races after the toys, aiming to please even though only 11 weeks old.

Did I mention that she’s not yet housebroken?  We both are on “yard duty” multiple times daily.  Puppies pee a lot, and she hasn’t learned to whine, indicating she needs to go out.  It’s our job to anticipate her need, and it seems to be every half hour.  Every half hour.  We are getting a lot of exercise.   Nearly as much as Nellie.

It’s a spiritual commitment we have made.  I never had children and having Nellie is offering me a taste of what I missed so many years ago.  I am thrilled, really, but just like a new mom, I’m not always sure of my steps.  Is saying no in a gruff voice helpful?  Is pushing her mouth off me the right approach?  I have paper-thin skin, inherited from my mother, and she has managed to give me a few scratches.  But only a few.  We are both learning.

She is a joy, however.  We both are convinced we did make a good decision.  And we both know there will be times we ask ourselves, “What were we thinking?”



  1. If you have an AKC dog definitely sign up for the Helpline 888-231-3025. Trainers answer M-F 9-9 EST, Sat 12-6 EST and you can talk to them about any concerns you have for the lifetime of your dog. Enjoy! It doesn’t matter if you never had a baby, dogs are different because they love you unconditionally for life and kiss you too and wag their tail to show all that love:)(and they grow up faster than babies!) Also a great video to get is How To Raise A Puppy You Can Live With by Clarice Rutherford & David H. Neil. Have fun! Gretchen

    • Thanks for the suggestion, Grethchen. We are starting an obedience training class this evening. Have done a couple puppy classes, but this one is far more instructive. We are having a grand time with Nellie.


  2. Hi Karen, I have always had labs and I have Larke a 6 year old female yellow lab! AKC Star Puppy Classes are a Godsend! They help with the high lab energy. Also train with a Mid-West Ovation Crate with the 2 doors, one lifts up a folds on the top. We would rustle a treat bag and our pup would jump in the crate every night for the treat and she loved her crate! The are pure love! Good luck! Gretchen

    • Thanks, so much, Gretchen. I really appreciate the support and admire your love for your dog. I have grown very fond of Nellie, and can see the unconditional love, going both ways now. She is a keeper, for sure.

      Again, thanks.


  3. Hi Karen I am so happy you decided to take the plunge. Congratulations on your new addition to your family. My little one is going to be 3 but still has a lot of puppy in him and it is a lot like parenting except they are always happy and you got it eager to please. Most definitely full of unconditional love. You will do fine on this new adventure in your life and we all are learning as we go. Best of luck to you.

    • Hi Roni,
      Thanks for your supportive comment. I feel a bit overwhelmed still but I know the end result will be wonderful. My husband and I are not quitters. haha

  4. Anne Little says:

    Hi, Karen. When we got our puppy in July 2004, I had the thought, “Oh my Lord, what have we done!?? I want my life back!” And even my nine year old son, for whom we got the puppy, said to me, “Mom – I didn’t know it was going to be like this!!” I told people I would RATHER have a new-born baby than a puppy. Eleven years have passed, and Scooter is the best dog ever. He is a large breed mix – collie/shepherd mostly. In the first year, crate training and routine were what worked. We gave Scooter a treat every time he peed outside, and he came to know that there would be routine walks where he could do his business. After the first month, there have been no indoor accidents. It IS worth the investment of time and energy. And it IS a spiritual experience – unconditional love at its best. I wish you well as your life is turned upside down. 🙂

    • Thanks so m ugh for your reply, Anne. It gives me hope. I am a bit reluctant but certainly have no plan to “turn her in.” She’s just too cute. And smart for that. I know that time is all we need. Our lives are already beginning to right themselves. lol


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