I wasn’t sure I’d ever have a dog. My husband and I aren’t particularly pet people. I’ve always viewed animals as something you get because they’ll give you something in return; for example, a chicken gives you eggs. And yet, here we are. We got a puppy last weekend.
I feel like you need some back story here. As much as we love our acreage, we are well aware that we’re living among both small and large predators. Deer, coyotes, bears, and cougars all call this part of the Fraser Valley home, and while we’re rarely seen them, they are around. My parents once came across the carcass of a deer that had clearly been dinner for something. On a recent drive to work, a cougar sauntered right across the road in front of my husbands truck. He said it was bigger than he imagined it would be. We heard a cougar while outside for a walk with our kids.
We know this is their land too, but we need to feel safe and confident taking our kids outside to play. I was constantly watching my back and scanning the horizon for something coming out of the bushes. That’s not exactly a homey feeling! We decided a dog would be a necessary addition to the family. Sure, they’re cute, but we got a puppy for more than their adorableness and companionship.
The process of getting a puppy was more complicated than I thought. I scanned the SPCA pages but found most of the dogs required homes without children. I searched to buy online, but breeders were either charging a high price for a pure bred or seemed slightly sketchy and I worried about puppy mills. My new neighbor suggested I get in touch with her friend at CAARE and that’s the route we ended up going.
I will say that I thought the process to receive a puppy from CAARE was a little intense. We had to fill out a multi-paged application form and had a home check. That’s right, someone actually came to our house to make sure we were who said we were at that we were responsible enough to adopt a dog. Seemed crazy to me, but at least we knew they truly cared about their dogs. We were approved and met with our potential puppy the next day.
We got a Puppy! Meet Riley.
Riley is a German Shepherd Husky cross and ten weeks old. She’s amazing with kids and pretty well behaved. The biggest two issues we’re dealing with right now are toilet training and separation anxiety. Sometimes she does her business on the disposable mats, other times she completely misses. She howls if I leave her sight though, which means my husband and I are taking turns sleeping downstairs on the couch. We decided she isn’t allowed on the top floor of the house so we have a gate across it. We’re kennel training her and it’s going well, but it’s a slow process. We plan to hire an actual trainer to come in and help us and I’m eager to get started!
Having a puppy is a lot of work! I knew that going in, but I don’t think you truly realize how much of your time it takes until you’re in the situation. Kind of like having another child! Training her feels slightly torturous, but I have to keep reminding myself that it’s a temporary hardship. She’ll get it eventually!
Riley really is a good girl. She has a wonderful temperament and she’s adorable to look at. She loves people and loves to play! I apologize in advance for the Riley spam you’ll be subjected to from here on out, but just think of it as the perfect compromise; you get to enjoy her cuteness without all the work!