New puppies, much like Gremlins and teen vampires, tend to be lovely creatures by day and terrifying after dark. (I write these words, as you might imagine, bleary-eyed and disoriented from sleep deprivation. So if this blog comes off as disjointed or even nonsensical, just remember that pickle boots fichus dump truck.)
We picked up Beasley, an 8 week old yellow Labrador, late on Sunday morning, and by the afternoon we were frolicking together in the grass. Things were wonderful. The world was a sunny, beautiful place. The fact that we had a new puppy just when I was entering my busiest and most intense week of the year, NYU Stern Orientation, barely registered. Such was the cuteness of Beasley.
“We’ll take care of her!” my kids assured us.
“What’s there to take care of?” I asked breezily, watching Beasley tumble around in the grass as if attempting to mime the word Cute. She sniffed our faces. She licked our noses. She put her head in our laps.
Then, night fell.
I had read, in a book about raising dogs that was written by monks (I feel like monks should just write books on everything because who’s not going to tell a monk they don’t know what they’re talking about? You?), that we should keep Beasley in a crate next to our bed. I read that I should lie next to her to make her feel safe.
The kids practically begged to let them sleep next to her in our bedroom that night.
“You can stay in here for a little while,” I told them magnanimously. Liz would be in the bed. I would be on an air mattress on the floor next to the crate.
“Yay!” the kids cheered.
“Not too loud,” I said.
“Yay!” the kids whispered.
The lights went off.
And Beasley started barking.
Now, in movies, puppy-barking is universally cute, probably because it’s usually accompanied by a voiceover where the puppy is lost and asking a goat if it can be its new mommy.
This wasn’t cute.
It took all of three minutes for Finn to gingerly stand up and perform an overly dramatic stretch/yawn combo.
“Well, I think I’ll head off to bed,” Finn said. “Lucy, you can stay with the puppy.” But Lucy was already on all fours on the other side of the room, trying sneak out the bedroom door.
I looked over at Liz to see if we should make the kids stay, since they had promised to take care of the puppy in good times and bad, but Liz was already pushing back the covers.
“Yeah, I’m sleeping in the guest room.” (Liz has a big job as a lawyer. I would be gone the rest of the week, and she was getting a glimpse into her puppy-night future. The kids, I don’t know what their excuse was.)
So now it’s just me and Beasley, and Beasley is barking like crazy, and I’ve abandoned the monk-book and I’ve moved on to frantically googling Puppy-Barking-Night-Crate-Oh-No-What-Happened-to-Chasing-Your-Tale-and-Falling-Asleep-with-a-Stuffed-Penguin.
Put your fingers in the crate, I read on the website I found. That way the puppy will think it’s still with its mom.
That didn’t sound right at all but I was desperate so I put my fingers inside and that’s when I found out that puppy teeth are LITERALLY MADE OUT OF RAZOR WIRE. But at least now she’s not barking, so I leave my fingers in there and I’m wondering if it’s possible to fall asleep when your fingers are being chewed on by what feels like a baby wolverine and then I’m realizing that this cheap air mattress I got at Walmart is starting to deflate.
So now I’m lying on a big flap of polyvinal chloride that smells like a Crocs factory and Beasley is chewing my fingers and breathing skunk breath in my face and I’m wondering how I’m going to get to sleep when I realize Beasley is pooping. She’s pooping in her CRATE where she sleeps which has apparently never happened in the history of dogs. So I scoop her up and run outside into the night and plunk her down in the yard except she’s already finished pooping so now she thinks we’ve gone outside to play.
I assure her, in forced coo-ing terms, that she is sadly mistaken.
It was a long night.
I used to think people were exaggerating in saying having a puppy was like taking care of a baby. They were not exaggerating. It’s practice for a having newborn. (Though when I suggested this to my colleague Bryan he looked at me strangely and asked why you would need to practice not sleeping and picking up poop, and thanks but he’ll wait for the actual baby for all that.)
So I’ll say this:
You gotta want a puppy. You gotta be all in on a puppy. Because you’re not sleeping and you’re cleaning up and throwing away a lot of shoes.
But we, the Grennan family?
We are all in.
We got Beasley because our family was incomplete without a dog. That’s who we are. Beasley is a Grennan. And we love her. And I’m tired.
For that reason, this week’s top five list will be as short as I can possibly make it. Ready?
The Top Five More Appropriate Names We Could Have Given Beasley:
- Chompy Muppet.
- Tumble ‘n’ Poop.
- Toilet Face.
- Caged Fracas.
- She’s Peeing.
Okay, seriously, IF YOU HAVE A PUPPY, I would genuinely love any and all advice. I need it. Give it to me now. Like, stop what you’re doing and start typing in the comments. I’ll wait.