So They Call It Puppy Love

So They Call It Puppy Love

by Teresa Yerkes

There is a reason they call it puppy love. You are so enamored with the newness of the relationship; you fail to consider there may be an unpleasant side. And so, it goes with the relationship with your puppy. I am telling my puppy story because it provided a beautiful lesson in love and patience.

My husband, Bill, and I have a female Labrador Retriever named Lucy. We had planned a litter of puppies for friends who wanted them. We toyed with the idea of keeping a puppy for ourselves but decided we were just too busy to have two dogs. So, we found homes for all of them before Lucy went into labor. She had eight beautiful puppies; all of them were yellow or cream in color.

When it came time for the puppies to go home to their forever homes, one of the parents changed his mind. So, we had to decide to call someone on our list to see if they still had an interest in one or to keep the puppy for ourselves. Peaches, who had already been named by her parent, was your typical puppy. She was adorable, playful, and needed a lot of attention. Even though we knew that it would be difficult for us to raise her, we decided to keep her anyway.

Peaches was the fourth dog we raised; the third that started out as a puppy. So, this wasn’t our first rodeo. We understood there would be interrupted sleep, potty training accidents, chewing issues, etc. But what we couldn’t foresee is this was no ordinary puppy, and this wasn’t going to be an ordinary experience.

This adorable cutie pie had a self-determined mindset, meaning she did whatever she wanted even when she had been trained and corrected to do what’s right. This is just a shortlist of challenges we experienced with her. She chewed our baseboards, a wall, glasses, cell phone, three computer mice, the couch, carpet, and bedding. And yes, she also chewed the many toys we bought for her. While being supervised, she would run to the neighbor’s houses and took things they left outside.

When she was not up to her shenanigans, she was a great dog. She was affectionate and happy. I loved her and the two of us bonded well. But the amount of damage she was doing was weighing me down. At least three different times, I had decided I just couldn’t take it anymore. But I relented, thinking she will get better with time. She was nearly one year old, and she chewed the frames of my prescription glasses. Thankfully, she didn’t swallow the lens. This was the last straw on an already crazy behavior week with her, we really needed to find her a new home. I just had had enough and didn’t want the extra work and expense anymore. I was frustrated, upset, and exhausted emotionally.

As fate would have it, the original parent stopped by the next day. He would come by and checked on her periodically. I asked him if he was ready to adopt Peaches and he said he would think about it. I thought for sure he would say yes. And in my mind, that would make the whole thing right. Peaches would go to the original parent, and we would go back to having just one dog.

Well, his answer was no. So once again, I had to decide to keep her or find her another home. It had been a long, difficult journey with her. My heart was torn. I really loved her and enjoyed the dynamic she brought to the family, but oftentimes she was such a troublemaker. I prayed for the right answer.

What I started to realize was she was a test for me. A test to see if I could rise above my own needs and to love her through her growing pains. After a lot of soul searching, I relented for the last time. What is interesting, it seems like the next day she began to listen better, and she didn’t chew on anything that was not hers. I know better than to think it was just a coincidence. I believe the timing was in God’s hands all along.

She now has her forever home. There was no going back. She is now a permanent part of our family. We are finally at peace with our two-dog family.

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