We have had our dog, Pixie, for almost 4 years. We got her in 2012 when she was only 8 weeks old. I had found her on Craigslist. The supposed offspring of a German Shepherd mother and Timber wolf father. I drove two hours to pick her up, ecstatic that Wonderful Husband (who was Wonderful Boyfriend at the time) was allowing me to have a puppy. I had never had a puppy before. When I was growing up my mother refused puppies. Any time we got a dog, we got a DOG from the humane society. One that was at least a few years old, house trained, and new basic commands. Any time my brother or I would bring up getting a puppy my mom would shudder. She would explain that puppies cry, and they pee on everything, and they run away, and they don’t listen. I always thought she was sort of exaggerating.
I was wrong. Puppies are evil. They cry, non stop. For four months Pixie cried all night every night. We were determined to crate train her because our other dog Xena had never been crate trained and was prone to eating everything in the house while I was at work. Every night, we would give Pixie treats and lure her into her crate, the minute we locked the door she would start crying. We responded by moving the crate downstairs to the laundry room. She cried louder. We covered it with a blanket. She cried louder. Finally, we gave up and let her come sleep upstairs with us and Xena.
Pixie refused to house train. She was almost two before she even remotely began to understand (or accept) the concept. We would take her outside, she would wander around for a while, as soon as we would bring her back in she would pee. And she didn’t just pee, she peed on the carpet. She couldn’t go somewhere that was easy to clean up. She ruined all of our rugs, carpeting, and hard wood. It was disastrous.
Wonderful Husband began demanding that we get rid of her. She was a stupid dog, un-trainable, and disobedient. I refused. We had taken her on as a responsibility and there was no going back now.
When we moved into the new house, she dug up all the rose bushes on day one. On day two, she made a dramatic escape and was missing for hours. By week three, we were at our wits end. If we left her outside she barked and ran the fence all day, if we kept her inside she would inevitably pee on something and eat us out of house and home. Just about the time we were trying to decide if maybe we had bitten off more than we could chew, she started to get better. It started small, a day in the house with no accidents. A day in the backyard with no new holes.
By the time she reached 2 years old, she was a different dog. We could leave her alone in the house all day and not really have to worry about anything. When we had to rehome Xena due to circumstances beyond our control, Pixie only got better. It was as if she sensed how brokenhearted we were about Xena and she knew we couldn’t handle any more bad behavior.
When we got pregnant, a lot of friends and family started asking us what we planned to do with Pixie. Would we get rid of her? Would we make her an outside dog? Would she get a crate in the basement? Surely we weren’t planning to allow our dog around our baby..?
That was one of the most frustrating things I ever dealt with. Asking me what I planned to do with my dog when I had a baby would be like me asking them what they planned to do with their first born if they ever had another child. No, my dog is not my child, but she is a part of this family and has done nothing wrong to deserve being banished to the back yard or being given away to someone else. She is fine with my daughter, who insists of pulling her fur, ears, gums, and paws constantly. She snuggles close to us when we have family time on the couch, and she dutifully lays outside the nursery when Little Darling is napping.
She still isn’t trustworthy in the house at night, she sleeps in our bedroom with us with the door shut. When she has to pee at night, she will only try to rouse me once and if I don’t wake up then she will just go to another bedroom and pee. But that is something that is controllable, we slept with the door closed anyway. She isn’t a very good guard dog, when a shady character came calling one evening, she laid of the ground begging to be petted, but when a friend of ours tried to enter the house without knocking one day she went after him.
She sheds like crazy, spring time is like a fur fest in our house. I vacuum daily and have to cover the furniture with blankets that I fluff daily because the clumps of fur fall out by the handful. But its a labor or love. By taking on having a dog, I took on the responsibility to clean up after her.
I know that a lot of people are not dog people, or don’t want the responsibility of taking care of a dog. I also know lots of people who consider their dogs their children and care for them accordingly. Its a matter of personal choice, I will never judge someone who doesn’t want a dog, or doesn’t want their dog inside, or doesn’t want their dog around their kids. Just like I would never want someone to judge me because I let me daughter ride my dog like a pony and sleep with the dog in bed at night.