The Surprising Things a Puppy Taught Me About Marriage


Practice makes perfect, right?

by Maddie Eisenhart, Chief Revenue Officer

Gaia (6 of 12)

When you first get a puppy, they tell you to socialize it as often as possible. Get her comfortable around new people, introduce her to new smells, teach her how to be polite, to ask for permission, encourage her to be friendly and non-fearful. It turns out those things are not inborn. Like anything worth having, a good dog is something you have to work at. Particularly when said dog stands a good chance of outweighing both you and your partner in adulthood.

Beta Testing for Babies

There are many reasons couples choose to get puppies. Companionship. Snuggles. A deep desire to have all your socks in someone else’s mouth before you wear them. But I’ll come right out and say it: Michael and I are practicing for babies via our puppy. Now, before I get myself into trouble on the Internet, I know that raising a puppy is not the same as raising a baby. For one, you can’t put a baby in a metal cage for a few hours with a stuffed animal while you go run errands. And a dog is never going to come home at 3 a.m. smelling like weed, telling you he was studying for a test and to mind your own business, GOD MOM. But nonetheless, our puppy is a tiny helpless monster who depends on us to teach her how to navigate the world. We are, in essence, raising her.

So we’re beta testing our marriage for that challenge. And it turns out I’ve learned a lot more about our marriage over the last six months than I have about puppies. Here are some of the surprising things our tiny demon dog has taught us.

hermits just wanna have fun

Before getting our puppy, Michael and I had settled into a comfortable routine of hermitude. We’d get up, go to work, maybe go to the gym, come home, cook dinner, catch an hour of TV, and then go to bed. Our lives were centered (mostly) in and around our home and our relationship. And y’all? Sometimes it gets really boring in our bubble. And lazy. Getting a puppy fucked this all up. Because guess what? You can’t socialize a puppy from the comfort of your couch.

So because we have this new puppy, my partner and I have been forced to socialize ourselves. We’ve had to shed our hermit-y ways and say yes to things like group outings, for the sake of the puppy. We explore new places because of the puppy. We go on daily walks through our neighborhood. And our relationship is improving exponentially the more we take the puppy out into the real world. And it’s been so good.

When we’re tackling the big-picture marriage issues, my instinct is always to dig deeper, to turn inward on ourselves, and to solve the problem from the inside out. Translation: talk it into the ground, beat the dead horse, hope something changes. But as our relationship is thrust out into the world more and more by this giant helpless animal, I’m realizing that might not always be the appropriate means for change. It’s hard creating interest in a void. And it’s really easy to default to lazy, repetitive behavior when it’s so comfortable and familiar. So maybe what we need to level up our relationship isn’t to look inward all the time, but rather to introduce external stimuli to our marriage and see what develops. It’s the riskier move, sure. It could blow up in our faces. But then again, it’s worked before.

Help, I need somebody

Remember that thing I said about beating a dead horse? We do that a lot. I prefer this training method; he prefers that one. I’m a sucker; he’s a hard ass. We obviously both think we are right all the time. And while we come to a compromise 90 percent of the time, the other 10 percent we fall into a routine where we argue the same point over and over again, hoping the other will break and see our point of view. Fun, right?

So last month, when it became obvious that we were hitting a wall with certain aspects of our dog’s behavior, we bit the bullet and hired a professional dog trainer. At our last session, I was bemoaning a recurring argument Michael and I keep having about who should take our dog for a walk when we get home from work (thrilling conversations being had our house, I tell you). The trainer listened intently as I complained about XYZ, looking to her to back me up on my point. Except the joke was on me, as she kindly took me through a series of questions that pointed out how I may or may not have been the cause of my own frustration. Would I have listened to my husband if he made the same point? Probably not. (Sorry, Michael.) And I don’t feel bad about it. Sometimes you just need an objective third-party opinion to point out the obvious. And there ain’t no shame in that. Not to mention having a professional around has been good for team morale. It turns out a lot of the bad behavior we’d been blaming ourselves (and each other) for? Totally normal. I guess teenagers are jerks, no matter the breed. Who knew?

Responsibility is sexy

We live and work in Silicon Valley. Which means we are surrounded by a culture that values people with no strings attached: child-free, single, etc. And Michael and I are both people who love our jobs. So it’s really easy for us to put our work first and our marriage second. But puppies? Puppies need routines. And also, when they are really little, they can’t hold their bladder for more than an hour or two. Which means that Michael and I have had to completely renegotiate the logistics of our marriage. Regular schedules. Devoted bedtimes. And at first, it was really hard. I have a flexible job, which means it was easy for me to fall into the primary caretaker role. And for the first few months, we argued about this a bunch. But working through these growing pains has given us an opportunity to step up for each other in ways that are, frankly, really sexy. I’ll take my partner rearranging his schedule so I can get uninterrupted work time over flowers any day. (Though I will also take the flowers, just in case you were asking.) So while the popular narrative is that added responsibility turns people into stressed, harried shadows of their former selves (and there’s been some of that, for sure), for the most part, I’ve found that getting a puppy has made us more diligent, responsible humans, and better partners.

The jury is still out on whether there’s any validity to our beta testing parenthood vis-à-vis the puppy method (we have to wait for actual babies for that, I guess). But I’d argue that anything that strengthens our marriage is laying the groundwork. And practice makes perfect, right?

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is APW’s Chief Revenue Officer. She’s been writing stories about boys, crushes, and relationships since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) from NYU in Entertainment and Mass Media in 2008. She now spends a significant amount of time thinking about trends on the internet and whether flower crowns will be out next year. A Maine native, Maddie currently lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband, Michael and their mastiff puppy. Current hair color: Purple(ish).

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  • I love this and relate to it so hard on a number of levels.

    My partner and I adopted a young pit mix a few years ago without knowing exactly what we were getting into; we already had another dog, an older distinguished gentleman who for health and age reasons is (still) content to lie on the couch or at our feet and have that be most of his day, so we weren’t doing much walking. Harley changed everything — my partner and I had been fairly active before, hiking 3-8 miles each weekend in one burst, but actually going out and walking her every day, even for just a half hour, made an enormous difference in my life, helping me push back depression I hadn’t even seen creep in, only noticing when it was retreating.

    Having a dog with different needs really changed the dynamic between my partner and me as well — because she is infinitely more demanding than our older guy, we couldn’t slip into the routines we’d had for years and had to re-negotiate what pet care looks like for us now, 12 years into our relationship at this point in our lives, instead of relying on patterns that we’d developed much closer at the start of our lives together. The result is a balance that’s much more equitable and better for both of us.

    tl;dr YAY DOGS AND RELATIONSHIPS

    Also, Maddy, please keep the puppy photos coming.

    • Jacquelinerjerry1

      <<o. ★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★✫★:::::::!!be753p:….,….

  • Sarah E

    MOAR PUPPIES PLZ

    Ahem, I agree adopting a puppy is a major undertaking. We finally adopted a dog this spring, and though I was looking for a young adult, the 9-month-old we adopted turned out to be the perfect fit for our family. YES, we added a lot more stress, but mostly in spurts. Stressful, then we figure out a routine or a method, and then it’s better. So we’re forced to problem-solve together a little more. It’s also shown a spotlight on issues that are ongoing: how much time do we need together, the two of us? And how much time do we need outside the house? How do we balance those things? It’s a continual negotiation, and sometimes we hit a sweet spot only to have things shake up again for us. As much as we get frustrated with feeling trapped by the dog’s needs, it does help us more openly discuss our own needs and how we might meet them together.

    I’ll agree with what Elliott said elsewhere in the thread: the exercise and getting outside forces me into some self-care that I otherwise push aside. I won’t skip walk for the puppy, so I can’t skip a walk for myself. Both my husband and I get more exercise, more fresh air, and are in better moods for it. Even my cat-person husband laughs every morning when he’s woken up by licks to the face. We like being around her, we’re pushed to Netflix and Fetch instead of Netflix and Chill, along with just spending time playing with her and doing non-screen together time.

    And Maddie, I can totally attest that 1-yr old dogs are just teenage jerks, no matter what good behavior they already knew

  • LJ

    This is great and adorable.

    People are allowed to discriminate against pet owners in my city when renting suites/apartments/homes, so I will never own a dog unless I move (not move apartments, but MOVE move to an entirely different region). It makes me so sad. This sounds like such an amazing experience. Have fun and please post ALL THE PUPPY PHOTOS. Please. please?

  • Kelsey

    I’d like to make the argument that pictures of Gaia galloping are a totally legitimate addition to any (past or future) post on this website. I’m willing to be flexible and allow for pictures of the puppy sleeping or chewing on socks if you run out of galloping snaps.

    • Eenie

      Or Gaia with ponies/any other animal is acceptable too.

    • Sarah E

      I mean, if we’re trying to make stock photos better, the addition of a puppy (or more) to each photo is a great idea.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      <3

    • Sara

      I’d argue, not enough pictures in this article. I need more puppy photos!

      • Jess

        My favorite part about this comment thread is everybody posting pictures of their puppies. I will regularly stop conversations to point out cute puppies.

        More puppies please!

        • Sara

          My brother and I constantly exchange texts about dogs and cats we’ve seen that day. He’s a cop, and once got a call about some loose animals and I think it was the best day of his life because he got to play with six puppies and four adult dogs.

  • AtHomeInWA

    We’re kind of doing the same thing, but even smaller: Kittens.

    The litter box, wet food or dry, whether or not the kitties can go outside (never mind the fact that house cats are basically nature’s most perfect predator….), the litter box, who cleans up when they tip over house plants, who takes them to the vet, the litter box. We’re learning to navigate how we are going to set rules as a couple for them, rather than each of us doing our own thing in the same house.

    I’ve always known he was a worrier while I am the designated risk-taker in the relationship, but watching him worry for our furry babies has given me a new perspective on his worrying. “He’ll worry about our children” I think, then I smile because I love him just a little bit more.

    Our one cat is persnickety about the litter box and if it isn’t clean enough to his liking he’ll do his kitty business somewhere else. Like in my purse. Watching my partner realize what was going on and decide that this was an “us” problem (we aren’t doing keeping the box clean enough) rather than a me problem (well it is your purse) made me love him just a little bit more.

    As our two very differently sized kittens play fight and my partner, a younger brother, says of the larger kitten “he should know better, she’s just a little kitty” and I, an older sister, says of the smaller kitten “she shouldn’t antagonize him if she doesn’t want to get pummeled,” I realized we have some sibling biases we’ve never talked about before. Suddenly, things about the two of us that have never been at issue in our relationship became differences we have to grapple with in caring for two kittens, much less raising a child. I smile because I know that even after 6 years we have so much more to learn to love about each other.

    • Eenie

      On the cats and litter boxes…we have five litter boxes for two cats. If we don’t clean them all every other day our one cat does his business on the floor. It’s insane.

      My husband is the worrier too! He was in tears one time because it made logistical sense for him to drop the cat off at the vet for his teeth cleaning. He was so torn up that the cat would think he was leaving him for forever that I ended up having to do it. He claims he won’t be this soft about potential future kids, but I have my doubts!

      • raccooncity

        Mr. RC once got quite anxious about how much “screen time” our cat was getting because she likes to chase the hockey pucks around when we watch hockey. I, too, am concerned about his softy ways re: future kids.

        • emmers

          Lol! I love this.

  • Eenie

    I feel this way about our cats. Go ahead and judge internet strangers, we are both proudly that weird cat couple.

    When we lived in different states, each of us having a cat helped, because we both knew if we didn’t take care of ourselves, the cat would end up suffering. Now that we’re together and married, it’s been heartwarming watching the two cats start to like each other again. They help us embrace the “lazy” in life. Sometimes you just need to lay on a bed and nap. We desperately want a dog, but we know that’s more responsibility, and we’re not sure how the cats will handle it. We think adding a potential tiny human to the mix may be enough for now.

    • Kara

      Hi Eenie!

      No judgement here! We have 6 indoor cats (what started out as 2 blossomed over a few years) and 2 giant German Shepherds. Plus, as of this past Saturday, we started fostering a smaller German Shepherd :). I never had anything other than a few fish here and there growing up, and my husband only grew up around cats.

      There will always be discussions about who can/will do what, how to handle X situation, how long can they be alone, so fort and so on. If you decide to get a dog or add a tiny human, just give your cats time and space to come to terms with everything on their own :).

      Companion animals, whatever they may be, require different amounts of responsibility, but can definitely bring different types of love and entertainment :).

      I will say I love our dogs, and our older gentleman (at least 9 yo) German Shepherd doesn’t care about the cats at all. We were very careful always walking him through the house on a leash for the first year or so. This also allowed the cats to get used to him–so they won’t dart! The female GSD is about 4 yo, and she’s more interested in the cats, but gives up quickly and backs down if the hissing and claws come out.

      • Eenie

        Awwww. A german shepherd is at the top of our list!

        • Kara

          I can’t recommend them enough. All of our animals are from the shelter, rescues, or we found them, so you definitely don’t need a pure breed :). They are so loyal and sweet.

          If you adopt a senior dog, they are often much more chill (still very happy to go for walks, but also content to lay at your feet, on your bed or wherever). The only down side is you don’t get to have them in your life as long :(.

          • Eenie

            Yes, our two cats were adopted at 2.5 years. i cannot stress enough (for cats at least) how awesome adult adoptions are! We’ll definitely go for a rescue – so most likely a mix of some sort! With how much travelling we like to do, we want to wait on the dog front. I feel bad enough leaving the kitties home alone :)

          • Kara

            Wonderful! I totally understand feeling bad about leaving the kitties home alone. We board the dogs and 1 cat (he’s special needs) at our vet’s office.

            We do watch the cats from a video camera though when we’re gone. If you have an old iphone (I think iphone 4 or newer), you can turn it into a video camera. We use the app called Presence, and we set it to record when motion is detected. It will email and text you when movement is detected and it will keep recording for a little while. I think the app is even free :). You can even use the audio option to talk to your cats :)

          • Ashlah

            That is genius!

          • Kara

            Oh, and I found out it works for Android phones too :).

            ***Just keep in mind, that if you use a phone for a security camera, make sure you delete everything off of it before use (contacts, email, banking info, etc.). Because when the camera is on and recording, your phone is completely unlocked.***

          • Booknerd

            Um downloading this right now!! I was never going to be “that” cat lady who gets security cameras for her cat but I have an old iphone so its irresponsible to do nothing with it right….

          • Kara

            Enjoy! We love using ours :).

          • Eenie

            I have a security camera ;)

    • Ashlah

      We’re in the same place. Have two cats, desperately want a dog, but are too close to adding a baby for it to be a reasonable thing to do. Now it’ll probably be a few years, but I waaaaant one :(

    • clairekfromtheuk

      Our rescue cat quickly became the undisputed queen bee over our two large dogs. And when I say quickly, I mean within 24 hours. She’s also BFFs with our older, bigger dog (like, sleeps ON her BFFs). Fair enough she was from a home with other dogs but I have a strong opinion that both cats and dogs will pick up on your attitude. If you’re the leader of the pack for your dogs and they see you relaxed about the cat, they too, will be (or learn to be) relaxed.

  • Amy

    Honestly, I think having our two dogs was great practice for our baby. They taught us that, at a minimum, we could keep a small living thing alive, fed, and healthy. But they also got us in the mindset of being responsible for another creature, because we had to consider the effects on their care and wellbeing of most major decisions (moving, taking a vacation, getting a new job, etc.). They get sick, misbehave, and otherwise cause us varying degrees of worry, stress, and inconvenience. In the process of caring for them we have shown each other our styles of dealing with difficult situations and divvying up responsibilities.

    Of course, our (human) baby is a lot more work and the stakes are a lot higher. But when she was born we felt a lot more confident jumping in than we would have been pre-dogs. I always thought that parents who bristle at the comparison between pets and kids were kind of silly, and now that I’m a parent myself I can confirm: indeed, silly. It’s different, but it’s actually not THAT different.

    • Poppy

      I’m always scared to say this to parent friends, but my puppy? WAY HARDER than my newborn. Obvs, we were lucky to have an easier newborn and we had a particularly high maintenance puppy, but I’d take the night feedings in my bed over trying to taking a puppy outside in the cold 3-4x night literally any day. Plus it was easier to get into a routine with my little girl (poop, cry, feed, sleep, cry, poop, feed, sleep..) whereas my puppy was very unpredictable, with boundless energy.

      Now, my toddler is way harder than my grown dog, and I have friends who’ve had colicky newborns from hell, so YMMV. But in my experience at least, I really don’t think the puppy vs. newborn comparison are really that crazy, with the exception of the stakes (like you said)

      • Meg Keene

        That… sounds to me like you may have had an easy baby indeed. Mine screamed for hours a day (and night) in our face without stopping, and there was no routine ever. And NICU and hospital visits, abet low key ones but still. (My second baby, way easier, though still no puppy.)

        But my kids overall, and toddlers and preschoolers? REAL HARD. Really really good, but really hard.

        So yeah, probably don’t say that to parent friends unless you know they have one of them dream babies ;)

        • Lisa

          Yeah, I was that awful baby who didn’t sleep through the night for the first 1+ years of my life. I was allergic to milk, which no one figured out until I was 5. That meant my mom spent most of that year alternating between feeling awful that she couldn’t figure out what she was doing wrong and terrified of how horrible it would be to have more kids if this was normal (like my pediatrician told her it was). As a farm girl, I doubt she would ever have said that babies were easier to care for than any animal!

      • stephanie

        Just hear to echo that you totally had an easy baby. ;)

      • Sarah

        I hear you. I just have a baby no dog but think a dog sounds like way more work. Plus kids eventually grow up.

      • Sarah

        Just want to say I loved reading this :) As a non-parent, I already feel like it’s frowned upon to admit to other non-parents that basically anything in my life is manageable – like life is the Olympics of Suffering and everyone has to compete. I can’t imagine how much worse this will get when my friends and I all have kids – I mean, I get that having a kid most likely WILL be really hard, but that honestly doesn’t worry me as much as never being able to talk about anything not being hard does. It always makes me happy to see that that doesn’t have to be the case.

        • Meg Keene

          Having kids can be really hard. It’s the hardest thing I’ve done, and I didn’t have a kid in NICU for a month like Stephanie, nor did I spend 14 hours a day trying to get my kid to nurse like another close friend is currently doing. So yes, it’s tough surrounded by a lot of people in my life who are not doing it and want to tell me how tired they are from work… when I have work AND haven’t slept through the night in 1.5 years, and I only have about 30 minutes of downtime a day. God’s honest truth is some things in life are harder than other things. And having two tiny kids and two full blown careers is not the hardest by a LONG LONG shot, I have friends without kids going through way harder times than I am right now, like Cancer. And my life’s got nothing on single mom’s working three jobs, or people with dying spouses. Life can be really fucking hard, but kids are just one way it can be hard.

          But please keep in mind that as hard as life can be at time for folks (parents or non parents) there are still parts of our lives that are easy. AND, to be perfectly honest, most people I know going through hard times…. with kids, with cancer, you name it… are actually hiding the ball most of the time on how life is rough. I know that most women in my life really struggling are hiding the ball from people not going through stuff that is as hard, because we don’t want to inconvenience people emotionally. It’s part of women’s emotional labor.

          So hey! When your friends lives do get harder, the Olympics of Suffering may actually stop. Because when things are super hard, we tend to try to put on a brave face. That, or get friends who do ;)

      • anna

        The getting up and going outside multiple times a night, especially when cold, is awful. My puppy is now a dog and that’s over…except when he’s sick and the 4+ trips outside return. For me, at least, the whole needing to put on clothes and shoes and go outside when it’s cold and snowy is especially disruptive and annoying. Way moreso than a newborn. But again, varies by people, newborn, puppy, and probably climate too.

      • I’ve never had a dog, but my baby also does not require me to go outside 3-4x a night! In fact, the first few weeks I actually set an alarm at night and woke him up to feed him. Luckily after a couple of weeks a lactation consultant told me I was crazy and to let sleeping babies sleep. I have friends whose 2-month-old is sleeping through the night already (11ish to 6ish, at least), other friends whose 6-month-old was sleeping from 8pm to 8am regularly…and then my aunt, who swears that my niece’s constant and unstoppable crying stressed out their cat so much that he died. People are different, and babies, being tiny little people, are also very different. If you told me that parenting was easier than raising a puppy, I might look at you a little funny, but the idea that taking care of a newborn might not be as demanding as training a puppy…sounds totally possible to me.

      • My newborn was SUPER hard but I kinda love stories of easy newborns. Because it somehow balances out the world for me? I dunno. Some people get easy puppies, some people get easy newborns. Some part of the process will be hard, but yay that ONE thing was easy at one time.

  • AP

    ‘So maybe what we need to level up our relationship isn’t to look inward all the time, but rather to introduce external stimuli to our marriage and see what develops.’

    X1000. This is huge for us. So many of our relationship frustrations can be traced back to boredom or being in a rut, which affects our communication big time. I especially tend to withdraw when I’m stressed or frustrated, and then I want to talk it death and figure out all the whys. Sometimes there is no why, we just need to have fun. It’s amazing what shaking things up will do, even small things like checking out a new bar trivia night or taking a day trip a few towns over.

  • april

    Yup. We just got a puppy this summer, and this has more or less been our experience too. I’ll be honest, I had a couple of meltdowns during the weeks right after we brought him home (he was already 4 months old at that point, so not a real baby-puppy, but still pretty young). Without realizing, my husband and I had slipped into a really comfortable routine, and the puppy totally disrupted all that. We’re in a much better place now. Puppy training classes helped a lot, so did breaking down and signing our little guy up for doggy daycare. We also just developed a new routine – which is actually pretty great since it involves a lot more silly puppy antics than our old one!

    And for those of you who enjoy ‘puppy gallop’ pictures, here’s one of our little guy enjoying his first visit to the local dog beach. (Ours is the curly one in the front – the one that sort of looks like a muppet) https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/95f915a463c52c0773ad09520ab3007ba3179585ee924ca4d0edb8f00f4cd606.jpg

  • Sara

    While I am unmarried, I completely relate.
    I didn’t mean to get a dog – he kinda fell in my lap after his previous owners decided his barking was too much for them. My 4.5 year old lunatic has has made me get out of a rut I didn’t know I had, and actually helped me untangle myself from some commitments when I’m overscheduled (I have an ‘always say yes’ problem). I have a life line to get out of situations (oh sorry, I have to go home and let the dog out). I take time to have ‘Baxter Days’ where we can dog park it up or take long walks. Also has taught me to work on my patience since that barking issue is a long process and me getting angry at him isn’t solving it. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/12c11587ea277fe0a1a82b0c7afd5bab8ce324fd5118a7f86583d4d6f321df6d.jpg

    • Another Meg

      Your puppy is so cute, I just can’t. Handle. This.

  • Rebekah Jane

    I have to say, our recent addition of a puppy (moving us back to a two dog household) has made me start to realize a few things about myself as well, such as I might not be a kid person after all (*gulp*), that, if I was going to reproduce, having two might be a better option than one (especially since the big one practically babysits the little one for us), and that no matter what happens in our future, we need more space…a lot of it.

    It has also taught my partner and I to share responsibility a little bit more. I go home three times a week to let the dogs out at lunch because my jobs is closer, but he works from home two days a week and looks after them then. He feeds them in the morning, I feed them at night. He snuggles one, I snuggle the other. We’re slowly mastering the two-on-two defense, which has made everything else fall a little more into place.

    Plus, since the puppy can now venture out onto walks, we’re taking daily walks around our neighborhood and I love it. There is nothing better than dedicated time with your partner without phones or TVs in the background. It’s my favorite time of day!

  • I’m totally with you on this, Maddie! My husband and I were recently married, had just bought a house, and had only been living there for a month when we started looking at adopting a dog. (Like life wasn’t crazy enough….) We ended up getting Zoey from a local rescue organization shortly after and she was just six months old at the time. I had never owned a dog before so it was completely new territory for me, unlike my husband who had dogs all throughout his childhood. Regardless of all the ‘newness’ in our lives at the time, it was one of the best decisions we ever made. The biggest perk was how it helped us learn to compromise – from changing our routines to decisions on training, she’s made us work together which has been great. We’re interested to see how she’ll handle a kid….when you get to that point, Maddie, I’d appreciate your insight!

  • AmandaBee

    Just this January we adopted our “puppy” – a 12-year-old Black lab mix. We already had 2 cats and had worked out a basic pet care routine, but I totally agree that there’s something about a dog that kind of brings people together. We go on walks together in the evening with the dog, we have to check in with each other about our schedules to make sure the dog is taken care of, we argue (ahem, discuss) what kind of approach to take with training the dog. And I LOVE seeing my husband take care of Duke, they’re so cute together.

    For those who aren’t sure if they can handle the puppy route, we totally recommend the adult-dog adoption. Though we know we won’t have our Duke as long as we’d like because of his age, he’s added so much love to our life and is also super chill and easy to care for (generally speaking). We weren’t planning on getting a senior pup, but think it ended up working out pretty well because his care needs are pretty well aligned with our lifestyle.

    Duke pictures attached, including bonus picture of him cuddling his cat brother (they are best buds).

    • sage

      Awww so sweet. Seniors are the best! My dog turns 9 next month and it shocks me how much more of a sweetheart she grows with age.

  • Aubry

    Figured I would add my pics to this great collection!
    I completely agree that dogs strengthen your relationship. Something I was afraid of (and that I didn’t realize was a fear until after) was that I would end up taking on the lions share of the care. Now, I take the dog to work with me most days so have defaulted to primary care as now that he is grown, but when he was a baby puppy C was amazing about sharing the work. We would either alternate or discuss a plan for who would get up in the middle of the night to take him out etc. And he scoops his share of the poop! The nighttime outings were intense when Lego was a puppy, too. It is typical of the breed not to be great at housebreaking, but he was especially bad about needing a mid-night pee break. He was at least 8 months before we could eliminate it entirely.

    I also learned that I am a gigantic B when I’m chronically tired. Tuck that away as being important to know for early child rearing. It has caused us to have a few great talks about logistics around infants. We shall see if any of it holds up in real life, but it makes me feel better anyway!

    And now Baby Lego and Grown-Up Lego for your viewing pleasure ;)

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/b0b9f498a8cfc87e0e0c56f54a23b0bf3bc6e25bd209e7e6802fe75795dc23f5.jpg https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9e6173155b482e6d91f0b8bde75e375414752b980c90ea34b80d6f94f537bd29.jpg