First 5 days with a puppy, or what it’s like to be simultaneously miserable and ecstatic

Me in 2013: “I want to get a dog but maybe not for a few years.”

Me in 2014: “OMG puppies are so cute but that would mean a major life change and I love traveling and not coming home right after work because then you miss happy hours with friends so maybe when I meet someone and settle down yeah that’s the right time to do it.”

Me in 2015: “Every guy in San Francisco is the worst I’m going to be alone forever.”

Me in 2016: “Fuck it I’m getting a dog.”

On Saturday, I brought home the cutest fluff ball in the entire world:

That’s us 3 minutes into the car ride back to my place, and roughly 2 minutes before he barfed all over my shirt and lap. It’s cool, dog. I look better in earth tones anyway.

The poor pup shivered most of the ride, and when we were one block from my apartment, he puked on me again. It’s like he was telling me “I’m a lot of work, and just in case that hasn’t sunk in yet, MY SECOND ROUND OF DOG VOMIT WILL REMIND YOU.”

I carried him upstairs and slowly brought him down to the ground. He did exactly what I expected: cautiously walked around, sniffed things I thought he’d sniff, and then took a massive dump on my kitchen floor.

There’s something about seeing an adorable puppy take an adorable shit in your apartment for the first time that makes you go awwwww. And gag. And wonder if yours smells that bad too.

We spent the rest of the night getting to know each other. I asked him a lot of typical questions like “where did you grow up?” and “what do you like to do in your free time?” and he responded by peeing on my carpet and nibbling on my toes so it was basically the same as taking a first date to Folsom Street Fair.

Crate training has been easy. Except not at all. The second I closed the crate door, he freaked the fuck out. He was clawing at the sides, jumping at the top. Did I somehow get a claustrophobic dog? Can dogs have xanax? Are these daddy issues he’s working out? All I knew was that it was late and I live in a large building with thin walls so I couldn’t let it go on.

He slept on the ground near my bed and I slept with the light on, paranoid he’d find something to choke on and die. I’d be the only person on earth that killed his dog within 12 hours. I slept in 45min intervals, constantly afraid he was peeing and pooing all over the ground (spoiler alert: he did!). But I’d look down at him and he’d look back up at me and lick my hand and I’d smile because he’s so fucking cute.

The next day, a friend who recently got a puppy came over to provide moral support and show me how to parent. A coworker swung by to watch him while I escaped to get pee pads (she brought bubbles and treats because she’s a dog whisperer). Another coworker stopped by to bring me coffee. Other friends wanted to come meet my new best friend. It dawned on me that more people had been in my apartment in a 5-day period than in the past 6 years of living here.

Everyone warned me getting a puppy is a lot of work. I listened and nodded thinking “yeah you watch them and clean up after them, I get it.” But OMG “a lot of work” is an understatement. 5 days later and I still haven’t slept more than 1.5hrs at a time. I have to remind myself to feed him and make sure he always has water. I’m teaching him his name and how to sit. And I have no idea what I’ll do with him when I go back to work next week (probably should have thought that one through).

But it’s worth it. It’s really worth it. He’s so fun and happy. And I’m growing up before my eyes. I’m becoming grounded in a way I needed to be for a long time but was afraid to take the plunge. And when he takes a massive shit on a pee pad and runs over to show me how proud he is for doing the right thing, it validates all the hard work I’m putting into making him an upstanding citizen in the dog community.

Now if I can get him to not step in his poop when he runs back to me — that would be the hugest victory of all.

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