Post puppy depression

First of all, I just want to thank everyone who read my inaugural blog post. I’ve always liked to consider myself a writer, but it took me this long to start a blog because I’m a generally private person – sharing my thoughts and opinions with an audience is frankly a little terrifying. It was literally with a trembling hand and butterflies in my stomach (ok, that part isn’t literal) that I hit “publish” last Monday. I felt like I was back in Mrs. Fenton’s speech class my junior year of high school. Lucky for you, this is a blog so you couldn’t hear my voice shake, and lucky for me, Mrs. Fenton wasn’t there to roll her eyes and say “That’s enough. Sit down. You’re finished,” when I started blanking out. (That didn’t actually happen to me, but it happened to several other kids in my class and initiated my life-long fear of public speaking and snippy, petite, red-headed women.) Because of this, it meant a lot when the page views and comments started coming in – I was genuinely surprised that people were actually reading what I wrote and had something to say about it! So thanks for that. Now that you know I love you, let’s move on.

It was actually one of your comments (shout out to Anna – what up girlfriend?!)** that inspired me to write this next post about a very serious subject: post puppy depression. No, not postpartum. I may have that to look forward to with the advent of Babygeddon, but this is different. Mainly because it involves a puppy instead of a baby. Regardless, remembering this experience does not bring me any closer to shaking my baby-phobic inclinations. Here is my story.

**PLEASE NOTE: This is what I like to call my “shout out” voice. In no way does it reflect the way I verbally express myself in real life. Peace.

It all started about 3 ½ years ago when I devised a brilliant, elaborate plan to convince Will that we needed to get a puppy. It turned out this effort was entirely unnecessary because he agreed wholeheartedly the second the word “puppy” escaped my mouth. So now I have a brilliant, elaborate plan on file for when I need to convince him of something else in the future. Win-win.

We did some research online and found the perfect candidate – a 9 week old toy fox terrier hailing from rural Missouri who was 2 pounds and 6 inches tall at the time. My mind was reeling with the possibility of all the designer luggage and handbags I could fit him in. Sold! We christened him Gatsby and happily drove out to the sticks to pick up our new little family member.

Everything was great the first day. Gatsby slept in a tiny little ball in my lap all the way back to St. Louis, explored his new home for a little while, then slept in a tiny little ball in my lap the rest of the night while we watched a movie. In case you’re wondering, tiny little balls of sleeping puppy are ridiculously adorable and not at all hard to take care of. I think Gatsby knew this – it was all part of his diabolical plot to make me love him before he began his quest to destroy my life.

Maybe that’s being a little dramatic – he didn’t destroy my life, he just changed it. But for a person whose only commitments in life were a fiancé and a job, that change felt pretty destructive at first. I couldn’t put a finger on exactly what was bothering me, but I think I was actually slightly depressed the first month we had Gatsby. It wasn’t that I minded feeding him or even cleaning up poop, puke and fur (granted, I didn’t love that either). I just felt tied down in a way I never had before. We always had to think about what we were going to do with him whenever we wanted to go anywhere. Our solution was to lock him in the bathroom, and while even a bathroom-sized room is a palace for a dog of his microscopic proportions, he always wailed like a banshee (he has big pipes for a small dog) and made us feel guilty. Then some disturbing thoughts started entering my head. Did we make a huge mistake? Am I going to be tied down by a dog for the next 15 years? Do I even LIKE this dog?

Thankfully, post puppy depression isn’t quite as severe as postpartum depression can be. I didn’t have to resort to taking medication and worrying about what Tom Cruise thinks of me. At the risk of sounding glib, within a few weeks the post puppy depression was a thing of the past. In fact, I am now pretty much obsessed with Gatsby. After all, he is the cutest dog in the world.

Am I right or am I right?

I think the problem all along was that I wasn’t prepared for change, and the long-term commitment of having a dog didn’t hit me until we actually brought Gatsby home. The fact that I was able to adjust to that gives me hope that I’m maturing and maybe I’ll be able to use this lesson when other future family members make their debut.

Random thought of the day: The lyrics to some of the popular songs right now are laugh-out-loud ridiculous. Ke$ha – while you’re inefficiently brushing your teeth with a bottle of Jack, remember that gingivitis is a serious risk factor for heart disease. You just think about that, young lady.