Last week, I got to watch the eight-month-old puppy of colleague of mine while said colleague was away for the weekend. This puppy is named Roscoe, and is truly adorable... I mean look at this face:
When it comes to dogs, there are two things you should know about me:
1. I love dogs. Like... really love them. It's borderline unhealthy.
2. So does Mike. We both experienced the loss of our family dogs in the past year, and are very much looking forward to when we can get a puppy of our own together (when we are both ready and stable enough to do so, of course).
That being said, there's still a teensy-tiny part of me that thinks it would be SO great if I had a puppy of my own like, right now. And that's why these occasional Roscoe-sitting sessions are so helpful-- they remind me that yes, puppies are great, but they are a lot of work. Not everything is sunshine and rainbows... and I've got the following five experiences to prove it:
1. Pictures will go wrong.
Having a cute puppy means cute puppy selfies, right?
I tried probably three times before I realized my hopes of a picture-perfect-puppy-selfie were unattainable. Dogs don't exactly understand "look at the camera." At least not when they're eight months old.
2. There will be poop.
And lots of it. I'll spare you the gory details, but safe to say... there were some incidents. Also, watch where you step. You can't afford to be squeamish when you're a puppy-owner (or sitter).
Meet Roscoe, aka "bottomless pit."
3. Puppies don't get tired. Until they get REALLY tired.
I had grand intentions for productivity going into the day I watched Roscoe. Grand intentions that required him sitting quietly and/or sleeping while I worked. Safe to say, that was hardly the case. 80% of the time we were in the house, I was throwing a tennis ball for him, or retrieving it from under the couch after he pawed it under there for the 900th time. And for the 20% of the time he left me alone, it took about two minutes before I got anxious and went looking for him. As is the case when babysitting, quiet kids usually mean trouble.
The picture of innocence
4. Forget about personal space.
I know I'm not Roscoe's owner, but more or less, he's a pretty chill dog, so I wasn't really expecting any needy behavior. Nevertheless, he still followed me around the apartment all day. When I went to the bathroom, he was there. When I took three steps to the living room, he was there. Basically, I had a shadow for the day. It was cool (actually pretty cute), but just something to be wary of when making sudden movements.
"Oh sorry, were you sitting here?"
"What do you mean you're leaving? You're coming back, right?"
5. Come prepared to the dog park.
I mean this from a pup-parent perspective (bring water, poop bags, the essentials), but also from a social expectations perspective. Dog owners are chatttttty. And some of them are super weird about their dogs... Just be aware of your surroundings and don't let your pup get out of eyesight (or lunging reach-sight, if you're still training). Also, dog parks are not for every dog, at least not right away. Be conscious of your dog's behavior around big dogs, small dogs, off-the-leash, etc.
The moral of the story is: having a puppy, a dog, or any other kind of pet isn't all cute Instagram pics. It's a lot of work-- even just for one day-- and a responsibility that shouldn't be taken lightly. But despite all the responsibility, accidents, and learning experiences, having a dog is pretty much the best. If you put in the work, you'll reap the rewards-- and what better reward is there than a four-legged BFF?
Follow Roscoe's (and his owner's) adventures on Instagram with #walkswithroscoe
Labels: dog, dog-sitting, pets, puppy, puppy-sitting