About a month ago, Chris and I adopted Lulu.
I had wanted a dog for a long time, and when I met Chris, it clicked – he loves dogs too, so as soon as we knew we were good together, we started looking for one…
We checked out local shelters and met a few dogs, but no “love at first sight” moment. We thought about adopting (well, buying) a Goldendoodle (a mix between a Labrador and a Poodle that’s absolutely gorgeous and irresistibly sweet). But we really wanted to be able to rescue, and I’ve always liked dogs without a specific breed.
Chris was always saying he wanted a brown, medium-sized dog. I just wanted one that wasn’t too big so we’d be able to take it everywhere. Where to find that? Hmm…
I guess we had an ideal image in mind and we were kind of waiting for it to fall into our laps. That’s the best attitude to have with love stories, right?
Well, one day Lulu did fall into our laps – in the form of a text from Emily, who sent me a photo of Tammy, a little puppy she was taking care of for the weekend. Emily was fostering the puppy until someone was ready to adopt it. I immediately thought “Medium-Brown-Dog”.
“OMG CHRIS’S DREAM DOG!!!” I answered. “Do you think we can adopt her?”
“I think so!” Emily responded.
So we went to meet her, we fell in love, and after five days of anxiously waiting for the shelter to approve us, we had an adorable little puppy, and we had no idea how big she would get or what she would look like when she was grown.
An adorable little puppy…who had to pee every three minutes.
I don’t know if you’re aware, but I live on the fifth floor, without an elevator.
And of course, the day I picked her up was also the day Chris was leaving on tour for 10 days.
Ten days alone with a puppy? Nothing could be less stressful. Pffff! I grew up with dogs. I’m a country girl, I know what I’m doing, none of that scares me.
“Come on, little puppy!!!” (we knew we didn’t want to keep the name Tammy, but it took us a week to come up with Lulu) we’re going on a walk! Come!!! Come, I said!!!”
Bleh. My dog didn’t speak English. Or French. Spanish maybe? She’d been found in the street in Nicaragua. “Aqui!!!” Nope. Nothing. We were going to have to teach her absolutely everything from scratch.
And suddenly, I realized. Having a dog in the city is nothing like having a dog in the country. Nada. I realized that:
– My white jeans will never be white for longer than half an hour from now on. So that’s over.
– The girls who take their dogs out at 6am in unlikely outfits are not necessarily doing the walk of shame. Half-dressed in a silk slip with a puffy jacket over it? Yeah, that works. Totally. Pass-me-my-mug, I’m going out.
– I was going to have to choose my beauty products with a new level of discretion. Have you ever been to a dog park? Your dog has an amazing time and it makes you blush with joy. But you come home covered in dust from head to toe to hair.
– The joy of picking up you know what off the ground. Okay, you learn pretty quickly that it’s just like with babies. It sounds eeeew said like that, but after three times, you’re totally over it.
Okay except when our dog decides to relieve herself right in front of a cafe terrace full of people eating lunch. Or when she’s sick, which happens a lot with puppies.
At that point, you’ve only got one weapon: the big, embarrassed smile.
Little by little, I figured it all out, and I’ve become an honorable dog owner. I’ve started training her a little bit (Chris is the one in charge of training), and I put together a special bag with all her accessories for when we go out.
Yes, because my dog has more accessories than I do.
Between her treats (absolutely necessary for training), her toys (the ball, “come on, go get the ball, come on, gooooood girl, that’s right, good puppy, etc.) her leash, her wipes (since she’s a puppy, you have to clean her up when she drags her extremities on the ground too much) and her poop bags, it’s a real 24-hour bag I have to take with me.
And this winter, I’m going to have to buy her a puffy jacket too. Because as soon as it’s a little bit chilly out, she’s freezing. She shivers!!! No, I swear, and I used to make fun of dog sweaters. I’m going to have to buy her BOOTS!!! Help.
I’m telling you, it’s nothing, nothing like having a dog in the country.
Oh yeah and also, when you adopt a puppy, you’d better be available. The first few weeks, working at home is sort of a necessity. Unless there is a secret I don’t know about. Because otherwise, how could you do it? A little dog needs a lot of attention…So much attention that you kind of forget about yourself, I’ve noticed. Like:
The other day, Chris and I were at a party, a little tipsy, we were having a good time, and we’d just made some super nice new friends when suddenly we looked at each other and with one look, we knew: we had to go home. Lulu can’t wait.
There should be dog-ternity leave, I say.
And I swear, I always laughed when I saw people treating their dogs like they were children. But from day one, Chris and I have been calling each other papa and mama. The RIDICULOUS couple. “Go see papa!!!”
No seriously. From the outside, having a dog, and having a dog in the city, and having a dog in New York City seems completely nuts.
But little by little, I’ve also started learning the strange things that little puppy is changing for me on the inside.
Mostly I wanted a dog because I like dogs, and I’ve always liked dogs. But I’d never thought about the side effects having one can have on us all.
I’ve already realized that with taking her out a minimum of ten times a day (so, 50 floors total) and going around the block five times, and spending over an hour at the park, I’m going to have a butt that makes Kim K pale with jealousy this summer.
I’ve learned what it’s like to walk in the street with a friend way cuter than me. Not that it’s never happened before, but now, when you go out with a dog, it’s literally the entire world coming up to you and saying “Awwwwww” in your face. And many times they only look at the dog, not you. I’ve said, “Thanks!!!” into the air more than once.
And strangers talk to you like you’re already friends. Even our neighbor (Tom Hardy’s doppelganger) with his sweet pit bull that looks just like him. Best dog friends!
(Obviously, like any good, normal, anxious girl, I immediately turned it around and imagined my guy falling under the charm of a gorgeous Goldendoodle owner not covered in dust, and then I immediately mentally turned this thought into a piece of paper, I wadded it up and threw it in the trash, because seriously what was I thinking)
(I’ve been getting into visualization; can you tell?)
I also realized that oddly, I’m less hungry. Or maybe less nervous. Or more occupied with my hands. In any case, I noticed I’m snacking less.
I also realized that no matter what my dog does, she never annoys me. The same things kept happening. Whether she would pull on the leash, chew on my headphones, or go to the bathroom in the wrong place, I’d say: “It’s not her fault. She didn’t do it on purpose.” Suddenly I’ve become the queen of patience and kindness.
Finally, and most of all, when she comes over to cuddle in my arms, when she greets me with crazy joy 12 times a day as if I were the messiah, when she falls asleep in my lap with that air of total peace and trust – I get butterflies in my stomach, and I realize how much I needed her.
Even though at first, I said to Chris: A dog will be good for you, you’re so stressed with your job. It will be great. You really need one.
I realized, how condescending I was being.
I realized the one who needed a ball of fur to love, it was me.
Translated by Andrea Perdue