It’s been a while since I’ve had a puppy.
Eight years to be exact, since I brought Doodle home from the cardboard box in the Walmart parking lot.
And let me tell you something, that parking lot puppy spoiled me. Spoiled all of us really.
All she did was eat, sleep and occasionally eat a piece of furniture or a shoe if she had separation anxiety.
She was so laid back, it alarmed Cole. “Is something wrong with her?”
“No,” I said. “She’s just a baby. She’s sleeping so she can grow.”
She was the easiest puppy I’ve ever had. Pumpkin was fairly easy, too, but was very high energy. I could get exhausted just watching her spin around like the Tasmanian devil. But she had a big pack to help teach her, which can alleviate some of the work on our end.
We knew when we brought Mia home, puppies take a lot of work. In fact, it’s a lot like having a newborn.
There’s puppy-proofing to do — making sure there’s no wires she can get to, nothing she can fall off of, and even bought her two bags of puppy food.
Of course, the vet told us that was the wrong food to give her since it was grain-free. But the possums were grateful for it.
We got her toys, a harness, a collar, and a leash — in pink, because even though I am not a fan of pink, Miss Mia seemed to like it.
We got her a crate too, even though we knew we would only use it on occasion.
The first week, I thought Mia was going to be easy. She slept with us, with her preferred spot being on my pillow, nose to nose with me, or on top of my head. She would only wake up if she needed to go out, then quickly go back to sleep.
It was a precious first week.
Then, it was like someone fed a gremlin after midnight.
She started attacking us in our sleep. Of course, she is just playing, but having a mouthful of sharp little teeth coming at you at 2 a.m. is not my idea of fun.
That’s the big difference between a puppy and a newborn — puppies have these tiny little razor sharp piranha teeth that can hurt like the dickens if they get you.
Our sweet moments of cuddling asleep were over, replaced by her attacking my sleep bun and shaking it with all the ferociousness an 8-pound puppy could muster.
Not sure if you know this about German shepherds or not, but they aren’t maulers. That’s one of the reasons they are often used as K9 dogs. Mia would latch onto the big bun on top of my head and not turn loose.
I may have gotten whiplash at one point, she shook my head so furiously.
Instead of sleeping on my pillow, she decided to start exploring and see if she could try to jump off the bed, something we are actively trying to prevent.
It’s funny how some of the things you did with other pets, you learn you shouldn’t do with the new ones. We used to think nothing of them jumping off the bed before but have since discovered it can be harmful for their joints.
But the little pup was heading straight towards the edge of the bed, and directly onto Doodle, at some ungodly time of the night. I scooped her up quickly and returned her to her spot but she wasn’t having it. Nope. She wanted to play and she wanted to bite.
I decided the safest course of action for me was to sleep on the couch.
The cat was not too happy about this, but decided he was glad to have some company.
The formerly feral mini panther even cuddled for about five minutes.
“How did she do?” I’d ask Lamar in the morning.
“She didn’t sleep at all. I fed her, took her out, thought she’d sleep. She wanted to get Doodle up and Doodle went in Mia’s crate to get away from her.”
I didn’t think about the crate. I’m pretty short, I could maybe fit in there.
Much like having a baby, there’s a lot of growing pains especially the first year. There’s a lot for them to learn, and we have to have an abundance of love and patience.
It’ll get better eventually. I hope. It just takes time.
We’ve had Miss Mia for little over three weeks, and have maybe slept for a combined total of 12 hours in that time.
But there’s puppy breath. And that makes it all worth it.
Sudie Crouch is an award-winning humor columnist residing in the North Georgia Mountains among the bears, deer, and possibly Sasquatch. You can connect with her on Facebook at Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Humor, and Deep-Fried Wisdom. Her recently published book, ‘Mama Said: A Collection of Wit, Wisdom, and Deep-Fried Humor’ is available in paperback and Kindle download on Amazon.