Updated: Sep 24, 2020
Over the next couple of weeks, life would be...stressful. Who knew having a new puppy would be so much like having a baby? Hmmm, I vaguely remember being told that (I lie to myself. I was told several times. By several different people). In any case, if you are contemplating getting a puppy, it is stressful. Athena needed to be let out every couple of hours cause she needed to potty. She would wake me up with her little desperate whines of not wanting to pee. As a puppy, I decided to kennel train her for several reasons but quickly learned that difference kennels made a difference. I had purchased a black mesh one (for easy transport and breakdown). Athena whined and cried the ENTIRE night. That was the last time I used that particular product. She clearly did not like it. I was lucky enough that she didn't chew on too much. She refrained from shoes or clothing, but boy did she like wires, which was daunting differently altogether. As she emerged from that timid puppy stage, she evolved into this energetic maniac that would get the major zoomies. While she may not look like a puppy anymore, Athena is technically a puppy until two years of age in the German Shepherd Dog (GSD) world.
I was/am worried about everything with Athena. There are a million questions that run through my mind. Is she going to the bathroom enough? What does her poop look like? Nobody cares more about dog poop than a dog owner. Is she eating enough? On no! She threw up. Did she eat grass? Does she have a bowel obstruction? Am I not watching her closely enough? Don't even get me started on toys. Can she choke on this? Can this damage her stomach? I was told not to give her rawhides, but then someone said rawhides were okay. Should I be buying grain-free food? Is she allergic to beef? Chicken? What is the best food for her?
I had to puppy-proof the house. If you don't know what that means, get down on all four. Anything that you can reach with your hand or mouth is at risk of being destroyed or harming the puppy. When is her vet appointment again? I read that I need to start socializing her, but the vet told me that parvo is rampant in the central valley. Do I risk it? Can I still take her to train at the store? When should I have her spayed? I heard that a friend of mine's dog got fixed too early, and it caused urinary problems. Will this happen to Athena?
This is just a fraction of all the thoughts/questions that went through my head, which leads me to my next point. When people laugh and say that a dog is not like having a kid, I must disagree. Granted, I can't put a child outside alone for misbehaving (I get that). However, isn't having a kid being responsible for something that isn't yourself? Worrying, baby proofing, taking them to appointments, picking up after them (poop, toys, whatever), feeding them, spending enough time with them, and teaching them how to be a good member of society? That has been my life since I got Athena. She has vomited all over my car from overeating food or after vaccination from a vet visit. I have taken her to the vet 3x in one month over an infection she got, and I was so worried about her. So, they may not be equal. But Athena is my baby. My fur-baby, as you say. And that is how I became a dog mom.
Don't forget to fur-low for more,
The Pawsitive Writer