A little over a year ago, I got puppy lust. Oh, I so wanted a puppy! Like you wouldn’t believe. I wanted a cute little cuddly ball of sweetness.
I already had Beatrice, of course. This is Beatrice:
Beatrice is the Perfect Dog. OK, I know: of course I’m exaggerating. She’s super-duper awesome, but really not perfect. She steals socks. (But only to cuddle them. Never to chew them.) She doesn’t come when I call her. (Except when she does. Obviously this is a training lapse on my part.) She acts like an old lady, even though she’s not even 5. (Consequence: Low maintenance.) She doesn’t eat, prompting me to ever-more-elaborate tricks and treats as enticement. (Consequence: high maintenance. Also, never overweight.) She gets over-excited to meet new people, or see anyone who’s been gone for 5 minutes. (She might scratch your shoes in her attempt to say hello without jumping on you.) She’s not a fan of car rides (and has a killer pathetic look to let you know about it). And she WILL lick you.
But otherwise….Beatrice is a lover. She loves nothing more than to sit with her head on your leg and gaze adoringly at you. (She does not reserve this behavior for long-term friends only.) She also enjoys long walks. She likes to stop and sniff the flowers. (Literally.) She rarely barks or whines. She loves everyone (even scary bums that all other dogs and people are wary of). She’s a diplomat: gets along with dogs of all sizes and temperaments. She’s completely non-destructive: not once have I lost a shoe, a rug, or a piece of furniture. (Though she did once, as a puppy, chew through an easily replaceable phone cord.) If you take her to an unfamiliar place and lock her in a room, alone, you’ll probably find her sleeping when you come back. On a pillow, if there is one. (Flip-side: if take her to a friend’s house and she disappears while you’re socializing, odds are you’ll find her in your host’s bedroom, sleeping on your host’s pillow.) She was easy to train, had approximately 1 accident in the house, and was (is) altogether just about the most low maintenance puppy imaginable.
Yeah, Bea is a pretty awesome dog.
So I got puppy lust. And I thought, Bea needs a playmate! I thought, Two dogs aren’t much more work than one! I thought, Puppies are so adorable!
(Note: I still think puppies are adorable.)
Now, I got Bea from a breeder. She’s a miniature labradoodle from Adhonay’s Labradoodles in Byers, Colorado. I know a lot of people are strongly (and vocally) opposed to breeders, and there are a lot of wonderful dogs out there in shelters. But I wanted a puppy, and I wanted a puppy with specific traits (right about 25 lbs, non-shedding, long legs for running), and unfortunately you can never be really sure what you’re going to get with a shelter puppy. So I did quite a bit of research on dog breeds, and eventually settled on the sweet-tempered australian labradoodle breed. (I’ve been known to call dogs of “designer” breeds like labradoodles “mutts you have to pay for”, which somehow appeals to me.)
I visited several breeders before I found one that felt right. Beatrice came home with me when she was about 12 weeks old, and as I said before, she was a dream. So of course–of course–when I decided that a new puppy was an absolute requirement for my continued happiness, back to Adhonay’s we went. They had a week-old litter up pups, born October 18, 2012. One day later, we had a deposit down and the pick of the boys in the litter.
For the next six weeks, we visited every weekend. On the seventh week, we took Milo home.
And I learned just how different dogs can be. Because Milo is such a VERY different dog from Beatrice.
Let me now be very clear: Two dogs are not “almost” as easy as one. Nope. Not a bit of it.
Given how awesome Beatrice is now, I’m sure I’ve downplayed in my memory the various challenges her puppyhood presented. I do remember how pleased I was whenever she was exhausted after a long walk–implying that she was more of a handful prior to said exhaustion. And I know that her training presented certain challenges; we had to work a lot of walking politely, and sitting quietly until given permission to greet strange dogs. I remember the stress of training her not to whine when I left the house, and the breakthrough when I discovered that she was quieter and more relaxed when uncrated.
But Milo. Oh, Milo. I had mini-breakdowns over Milo’s separation anxiety. He is far more destructive than Bea: toys that had survived Beatrice’s entirely gentle puppyhood are now long shredded. Milo’s energy is boundless: try tiring him out with a good four mile walk. (It takes seven.) He pulls on his leash, a lot. He bounces all over Bea, who–sweet thing that she is–does not put him in his place nearly often enough. He shreds paper, eats cardboard boxes, chews on library books. He adores me above all others. He makes frequent and tonally varied yawns.
He loves to cuddle. He loves to play. He loves children. He does great off-leash at the dog park. He likes to run with me. He’s doing well in training (except for the pulling problem). He’s a sweet little dog.
He’s also a year old today. Happy birthday, Milo!
PS. I will be so glad a couple of years from now, when you finally chill out.