I wanted a puppy for around 20 years. Making this commitment was a big thing for me as my nomadic lifestyle prevented me from taking the plunge. I liked being free to leave for long periods of time and I loved being able to travel at a moment’s notice. But when Covid continued to prevent any holidaying due to so many lockdowns in my State of Victoria, I decided it was time. It was a big decision and one I didn’t take lightly. For me, I wanted to ensure I not only had the right home to suit a puppy but I also had the lifestyle to support caring for my puppy on my own. I searched for weeks to find the right puppy at a reasonable price. I wanted a poodle-cross and was open to any variety of these breeds. Weeks turned into months and then, I found her. Or she found me! Initially, I was going to take her brother (a white toy poodle) but then I saw a picture of this adorable ‘phantom’ coloured toy poodle and I was smitten. Phantom is a mix of black and red/brown. She was already spoken for but the day I was to make my decision, the breeder messaged me and said the owners couldn’t take her and she was mine if I wanted her! One night, I dreamed about her and woke with the name Foxy. I believe the fox is my spirit animal and I felt a connection to Foxy immediately.
I welcomed my little girl into my home as Melbourne entered into another lockdown (number 4) in May 2021. Oh, what a shock that was. I just wasn’t prepared for the crazy highs and lows of puppy life! I think we have a romantic notion of what puppy life is like and I was not expecting such a wide variety of puppy shenanigans. The zoomies, the biting, the constant need for attention. She is tiny too so I often wouldn’t see her and then I’d hear a yelp and feel terrible as I stepped on her.
When Charles Dickens wrote in A Tale of Two Cities “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….” I think he must have had a puppy!
In the first week, I tried crate training (putting the puppy into a crate to sleep) but that was 6 nights of torture for both of us. She cried most of the night and no earplugs could stop the heartbreak I felt. So on night 7, I set up the laundry as her bedroom, all cosy and comfortable. But again, she cried all night and for a further few nights, I just couldn’t take it anymore. So she now sleeps on my bed. So far we have found a way to make that work and at least we both get to sleep most of the night (except for bathroom breaks).
To be honest, there were a few times where I thought I’d made a mistake. The constant need for attention, the toilet training, the biting and chewing everything was overwhelming me. Living in an apartment means there’s no backyard to put your puppy in for alone time! Plus, I was sleep-deprived as I’m a very light sleeper. Sleep deprivation is hard on me so I was on an emotional high and low every day. It became obvious that I needed the training more than she did so that is our focus now.
A few months together and I am smitten. We are finding our groove. I guess this puppy parenting is like any relationship. It requires both parties to do their part to make it work.
One of my postponed holidays to Queensland was coming up in July but Covid stopped that again! Within 48 hours of my pending departure we entered into another lockdown in Melbourne (number 5). Interestingly, in my new life as a puppy Mum, I realise I’m ok with this lockdown. I’m not as anxious as I was before and it just means I get more time to play and train my little Foxy!
Through the ups and downs, I have to say I am so glad she is in my life! The positives out weight any frustrations. I am forced outside when I may just stay indoors this winter. We play between meetings which means I’m in the moment more than ever. And I am getting so many cuddles that I feel really loved. I really miss my travelling life and cannot wait for the opportunity to go on an adventure overseas again. Puppy life is certainly a different lifestyle for me, but I really think Foxy will give my life meaning and adventures I never thought I’d have. Stay tuned for more.