When I need a puppy fix, I do one of a few things: I turn to my sweet Terrier Tessie, who, at 9, still acts like a puppy (see those irresistible puppy-dog eyes looking up at you?); I Facebook-stalk my friends’ puppy pics (I just had to share some of them here); or I get lost in the sheer joy of this live puppy cam. Or this one. I consider it prep time for when I adopt my own puppy again someday. And when I do, I’m going to write my furry bundle of joy the following note with all the ways I promise to love her:
I promise to provide you the best of the basics, like fresh water, a comfortable, clean place to sleep, the right food and shelter from the heat, cold and rain.
I know how curious you’ll be, so I promise to puppy-proof my home. I’ll get rid of, or lock up, any toxic plants, poisonous foods, medications, cleaning supplies, insect repellants, electrical cords, open trash cans, and small objects that could cause choking, including jewelry, toys, office supplies and string.
I promise to give you dog-friendly chew toys, like Planet Dog’s Orbee Tuff® Bones for Pups, which promote healthy teeth and reduce the risk that you’ll chomp on my favorite pumps or, worse, something hazardous to your health.
I hate leaving you alone, but when I do, I promise to put you in a puppy-proofed room or a comfortable crate for your safety.
I promise to pet you, and keep petting you, even when I’m petted out. I know how great it feels, and the physical contact will help you trust me more.
I promise not to get frustrated when it seems like you have to pee every five minutes. You do have a tiny bladder, after all. I’ll read up on how to house train you the right way.
You have twice the energy of adult doggies, so I promise to give you food with at least 25 to 30 percent protein in it, and I’ll make sure you’re on a regular feeding schedule. If I’m in doubt about how much food you need, I’ll ask the vet!
I promise to groom you every day. I’ll brush you with a brush that’s perfect for your coat, check your eyes, ears, nails, paws, gums and teeth, and rub your belly. This will make you less nervous when the vet does the same thing.
I promise to give you the occasional treat when you do something extra awesome (but not too many!). And don’t worry: I know which treats are good and bad for your puppy tummy.
I promise to play with you several times a day, and take you on at least one long walk every day, because it’s so important to release that puppy energy.
I promise to socialize you with other puppies and dogs (once everyone’s had their vaccinations). This will keep you active and teach you important doggie social cues.
I promise not to get mad at you for nipping and biting. Here’s what I’ll do instead: If you bite my hand, I’ll let out a high-pitched yelp and let my hand go limp. You’ll think that you hurt me and stop biting. If you don’t, I’m going to do it again and walk away from you. If you stop, however, and lick my hands instead, you’ll get my ultimate praise!
I promise to learn your body language so it’s not such a struggle to communicate.
I promise to coddle you when you’re whining. The safer you feel as a pup, the more independent you’ll be as an adult.
You’re probably not going to like this, but I promise to take you to the vet within the first week of bringing you home. You’ll need your puppy vaccinations, and I’ll need to know about any health problems specific to your breed for the future.
You’re really not going to like this, but I promise to have you spayed (or neutered), sometime after your 8-week birthday. Unfortunately, 3.7 million animals are euthanized at shelters each year in the US because of overpopulation, and we don’t want to add to that tragedy. Besides, it can actually make you a happier pup!
I promise to pay attention to any signs that you’re not feeling well, like lack of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, coughing/wheezing, sudden weight gain or loss, swelling, constant crying, pale gums and constipation. If any of these things happens, I’ll call the vet right away.
If I’m not doing a good enough job raising you, I promise to get help. I’ll call the vet or find a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB) who can lead me on the right path.
I promise to never, ever hit, slap, shake or scare you, grab your scruff or rub your nose in your waste. This will only make you afraid of me and actually encourage aggressive behavior. I love you way too much to do that.
My list could go on, but what about you? How do you show love for your furry little friend?