We decided to get a puppy. Well, my husband decided to get a puppy. "Great for the kids," he argued.
As it turns out, having a puppy is like having a baby. Yes, it is!
In preparation for our puppy's arrival we visited a pet superstore to buy some essentials. Walking into that pet store was like walking into a baby store - so much to buy! I have since learnt that the similarities don't end there...
1. Will sleep for 70% of the day and expect your undivided attention for the rest
Like babies, puppies sleep for the majority of the day. When they're not sleeping they run riot. They tear around the house and garden seeking mischief - you need eyes in the back of your head. Take your eye of the ball even for a minute and pup has got herself wedged behind the tumble dryer or dotted your underwear around the garden (the latter actually just happened!). They whine because they want to go out, because they want to come back in, they want food, a drink, for you to play with them - want, want, want! Forget about a quiet cup of tea, you will never have five minutes to yourself again. As soon as you sit down, pup or child will need something.
2. Will toilet anywhere (except where you want them to)
It doesn't matter how many times you show them the ideal toileting spot, they would still rather leave a present on your new carpet, sofa, in their bed (or yours) and your shoes. I'm pretty sure that pup and my toddler are in competition to see who can produce the most crap in one day.
Oh well, at least with a puppy you don't have to go through that horrid teething business, right? Wrong! Puppies teeth too and in the process will chomp on whatever they can; furniture, shoes, iPhone, your fingers - it's all fair game. Everything you own will sport either an enchanting line of baby spit or intricate puppy teeth marks - maybe both.
4. Need constant praise
If I'm not praising the children for managing to eat a yoghurt rather than use it as body paint, I'm praising the puppy for weeing in the garden and not the house. Cue relentless, high-pitched: "Who's a clever puppy? You are! Yes you are!"
5. The need to buy 'stuff'
Remember the first time you went shopping for your baby? You HAD to have everything! The same rule applies to your pup - you want the stuff! Yes, a plastic bed would suffice but how lovely is that fleece-lined, chaise lounge-style bed, which just so happens to match the sofa? And, of course, she will need that jewel-encrusted collar for special occasions.
6. You will always worry about them
I never stop worrying about my children, I obsess over everything and getting a puppy means I have yet another living thing to think about: "Has she eaten enough?" "Does she need to sleep?" "Has she toileted recently?" "Is she too hot?" "Is she too cold?" "Do you think she's happy?" And, once I have the answers to these questions, I will find something else to worry about.
7. People love them or hate them
I have met people who simply can't get enough of my darling offspring, and people who have openly told me: "I don't really like babies." The same goes for puppies. You will meet people who will want to know everything (and always that age old question: "Is she good?" to which you will smile and say: "She's great!" even if only that morning you were tearing your hair out because she was being very vocal about her dislike for a leaf in your back garden).
And, there will be those who are not enthralled at all by your new addition. Even your pup's full arsenal of cuteness can't break these people. At least they would never admit it to you.
8. They give great cuddles
I may have had the day from hell and be ready to lock my children in a cupboard, but one cuddle and I forget all that. And in the evening when the kids are in bed and I'm winding down, pup will crawl into my lap and snooze, a fluffy bundle of innocence. Yes, baby and puppy cuddles are awesome (and the little monsters know it!).
9. They grow up too fast
Before you know it, your cute little pup will be all grown up and you will fondly look at puppy pics, reminiscing. Meanwhile, your dog will be snoring in the corner and your grumpy teenager blaring angst-ridden music from their room.
10. Life's never dull!
The children and puppy drive me crazy on a daily basis. My husband walks through the door at night and I shove all three at him and run for the hills. But, they also make me smile and laugh. While I'm having five minutes to myself it's the smiles and laughter I remember the most - and that the puppy poohed in the living room and the toddler used it as face paint...
So, do the similarities end there? Can you think of more?