Life of Vi: Here Comes Trouble

Our top 5 puppy owner survival tips

By Rachel Simpson

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March 23rd was the tenth anniversary of National Puppy Day, a day created to “celebrate the magic and unconditional love” that puppies bring to our lives. Fair enough, puppies indeed enrich our lives, and plenty of less deserving subjects have managed to have a day dedicated to them. But that puppy love, while unconditional, is not without its price: a puppy is a great responsibility, one not to be taken lightly. There are some things you need to know before adding a puppy to your life, so we—Violet included—are going to let you on to a few crucial nuggets of information. Here then, are our top five puppy owner survival tips.

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1. Do Your Homework

You want your puppy to live a long and healthy life, and one of the ways you ensure that happens is by finding a reputable breeder. It took us almost a year to find a quality breeder with puppies available, but the process didn’t end there. We had to visit our breeder (more than once) and prove ourselves deserving and capable owners. It was worth it: these measures reflected the quality of the breeder. Violet, a purebred French bulldog, suffers from none of the ailments her breed often exhibit. She’s perfect, obviously. And we have our breeder to thank for that.

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2. Home Sweet Home

It sounds harsh, but when you get a puppy, you’re taking her away from everything she’s known. Don’t worry, she’ll get over the change quickly, but you need to have some things to help her transition from her old family to her new one. We got Violet a crate with her name on it, lots of toys (knowing that she would probably show an interest in half of them), her Jonathan Adler harness, and her purple bunny, which lives under our coffee table to this day. We also got her a Snuggle Puppy, a plush toy with a heater and a heartbeat, so that she didn’t feel alone when she went to bed at night. She outgrew her Snuggle Puppy right around the time she wormed her way into our bed.

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3. Appetite for Destruction

You can give her chew toys, keep your shoes—and really, anything you value, including your toes—out of reach, but puppies are going to chew things. (They’re good preparation for babies in that respect.) Violet didn’t really care about shoes, but she did a number on our kitchen chairs, our desk chair, a bed frame, even a section of baseboard. And while at the time we lamented the damage, we’ve since forgotten it. Because stuff is replaceable, while our little Violet is anything but.

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4. S.O.S

When puppies aren’t sleeping, they’re playing – and if you’re not playing with them chances are they’re either imperiling themselves, wrecking things, or both. And they’re going to want to play even when you don’t. So if possible, call in the reinforcements to help you exhaust your puppy. Violet’s grandma was crucial in entertaining our little monster, and Vi’s uncle could be trusted to work her into an exhausting frenzy whenever he was around. Not only does the play tire out your puppy, it socializes her, which is important.

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5. Enjoy the Silence

Your puppy naps multiple times throughout the day, and having been run ragged, you’ll want to spend those precious quiet moments doing nothing at all. But that’s a mistake. You need to take advantage of the freedom your puppy’s sleep affords you to tend to all of the tasks she forced to the back-burner when she was running amok. When Violet dozed off, and once we stopped staring and taking pictures of how cute she looked in her sleep, we used that free time to clean up, work, and often, to console our two (now perpetually terrorized) cats. So yeah, enjoy the silence, but don’t squander it.