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BLOG: Bringing home Tuggy

Allison M Cooper
York Dispatch

This is not an advice blog. This is a blog about stumbling through the process of bonding with a new puppy — and all the rewards that brings.

Bringing Home Tuggy

The only small piece of advice I might give is enjoy every minute of it and go with the flow. The investment results in a strong bonded relationship like no other. But that's not to say you won't be utterly confused and confounded at times. Much like bringing home baby, it's helpful to keep your sense of humor and do your best. And know your puppy is doing his best, too.

You will learn each other and train each other. And as you start to grow into each other, the little victories when you get it right will be so exciting. Building a relationship is work, even with a pet. But it's very purposeful and worthwhile work.

OK. Enough advice. This truly isn't an advice blog. We are not experts, we just love our little guy very much and he is such a sweet bonded part of our family. Now, we have an "empty nest," our youngest child is a senior in college. Therefore, we have some time to invest in little Tuggy. And he has met our daughter when she was home on break and they have bonded wonderfully, as well. We are hopeful he will meet his brothers soon.

Preparing to bring home baby: We prepared by buying books, crates, a car hammock, a parka, two fleece vests (it was January - and in my defense, a dog lover I know said it's OK to dress them for weather, so that was the goal. She also mentioned it being OK to dress them for Mardi Gras, I think - though she denies that. That's how I heard it.)

It's a parka. We're sorry.
Um . . . mom

We did not take the decision to bring little Tuggy into our lives lightly. Still, the timing seemed perfect. A dog lover and kennel owner from my hometown happened to have two puppies born around Thanksgiving. Sue is amazing with labs and has had them for more than 30 years. She actually didn't really want to give up this little boy.

I thought of her as I was thinking it might be time to bring a dog into our lives — and my patient partner in life, Kevin, agreed.

We met Tuggy around Christmas and he was ready to come home on January 17. We drove to upstate New York to pick him up and as we were leaving with him, Sue asked us if we had paper towels to clean up any messes that might happen in our car.

Because Puppy.

"Yes," I said. "But we are going to stop often and let him out to go potty."

"He's never even seen outdoors," she laughed.

Hmmm. We didn't know what we didn't know.

But Tuggy took to the car and aced the six-hour ride:

Snuggled Tuggy

No problem! We've got this! He even got out at a park, made a quick potty and settled back in without any messes.

Sleepy Tuggy

How hard can this be?!? We are really good at this.

Little angel

Stay tuned for . . .

. . . The Reality Check.