For as long as I've had the ability to clean up feces, I've been a proud cat owner. Most of my adult life outside of college has been spent cleaning litter boxes like a boss, being woken up by a big furry ass in my face and earning multiple cat-scratch battle scars like a seasoned warrior. OK, that was my attempt at trying to make cat ownership sound interesting. Did it work? Of course it didn't. The truth is, cats don't have owners – they have staff. What more can you say about an animal that will gladly eat your eyelids if you happen to keel over in your home one day? So for me, it was time for a change. I'd lived long enough under the servitude of my feline masters, and my life needed a little more freedom ... a burst of man-control.
Enter Vixie the puppy: a hyper-bouncy Pomeranian sausage with a go-getter attitude and a serious unconditional love complex. So here I am, a single guy with an adorable puppy and two cats. I think that says more about me than anything else (but that's between me and my therapist).
Since Vixie has come into my life, I've learned a thing or two about taking care of an infant canine – things they won't tell you at your local Pet Supermarket. So let's dive in:
You like that couch? How attached are you to those pillows? By the end of your first month with the puppy, there's a good chance that there won't be a spot in your home that hasn't been urinated upon. All this can be fixed with good training, but I'd still recommend stocking up on some non-toxic cleaning supplies. The funny thing about having a Pomeranian puppy is that she has what is commonly referred to as the "puppy puddles." This sounds adorable on paper, but if you're having guests over who are demanding to see your new puppy (and they will), you'll find there's nothing quite as embarrassing as watching your pup piss all over your friend's new, ungodly expensive pair of shoes. The whole thing seems to happen in slow motion: the puppy is let out of her crate, the excitement begins, and you watch as your pal's face magically turns to complete disdain as a puddle inconspicuously starts to expand around their person. This is normally followed by you, in a fit of apologies, throwing your arms in the air like a Muppet and scrambling for the paper towel roll.
You is kind, you is smart ...
If your pup messes up, keep your cool. As a cat owner, I sort of expected my puppy to at least maintain herself in some sort of way. The truth is, puppies are going to need your attention – as much of it as you can possibly give – in the early stages of living with you. And when they don't have that undivided attention, there's a very good chance that they're gonna knock something over, urinate, poop, chew or make any other disastrous choice you can imagine a small ball of fur and teeth making. Relax. They have no idea what they're doing. These beginning moments are the most critical in growing your best friend for life, and you want to make a good first impression. With a little love, they'll grow into themselves and your floor will be (for the most part) safe.
Of puppies and yoga pants
A lesser-known fact about owning a puppy as a single male is that they happen to attract those of the opposite sex, namely those in yoga pants. I was out for a brisk stroll with my pup around the local downtown lake one morning, and I found myself stopped almost every 10 yards by an attractive woman. I may need to take some quality field study time to speak to a yoga expert on the subject, but when I'm strutting down the sidewalk with my fuzzy companion, I end up feeling like a bona fide love guru – insert "downward facing dog" joke here.
Be an adult about it
The most important thing to remember about this entire process is that you are in charge of a tiny life. Your world will always have its ups and downs, and you may not always feel like you're able to devote the time you need to do things that matter most, but you are the only thing standing between your pup and a tragic ending. As scary as it may be to admit to yourself, you are a parent now. Dog ownership can be one of the most stressful things you can do yourself as an adult, but it can also be the most rewarding. For me, my little Pomeranian pulled me out of a year full of losses and a tough breakup. I'd say that's worth cleaning up a few puddles of pee, wouldn't you?