My husband always said he didn’t want pets. He married me while I had an 18 lb, long haired cat. Shortly after we had our first baby, I became highly allergic to my sweet kitty and gave him to a family who would love him just as much, if not more, than I did.
For years I respected my husbands’ wishes to have a pet-free home. I grew up with dogs and remember one of my dogs being there for me during some tough times as a teenager. Over the last few years, one of our kiddos in particular fell in love with our neighbor’s dog and began asking if we could have one. I stood strong and continued to support Dave’s decision.
However, it was after watching an episode of Little House on the Prairie that I saw how much Carrie loved her fluffy pal Jack that I began thinking differently. Our kids are becoming much more responsible, they are all school age now, I am home alone during the day, and many more reasons I began to secretly want a dog as well.
We were visiting friends in October of 2020 (when things started to lift in the pandemic here in Michigan.) The kids were no in the room and I shared this secret aloud with Dave and our friends. Our friend Meg asked Dave to share exactly why he was so opposed to getting a family pet (mind you, we had fish for five years but they didn’t bring us much joy!) He told us everything and they were valid concerns. He didn’t want to pick up poop. He didn’t want to step in poop in the yard. He didn’t want a dirty house. But then somehow he said if the kids and I could take care of the pet, he would agree to it. I thought I was hearing things!!!! Dave agreed to a dog!!!
For the next week, I researched a breed. I knew I wasn’t allergic to our neighbor’s dog, Lucy, which was a King Charles Cavalier mixed with a poodle. She was 13 pounds and I loved the size. I fell in love with a similar breed which mixed Bernese Mountain dogs with Poodles, calling them Bernadoodles. They bred them in several different sizes: toy, mini, and standard. I was searching high and low and found waitlist upon waitlist for this breed. I found a few breeders out of state that had some available but I didn’t want to drive hours to make this happen, however, I wanted to make it happen quickly before Dave changed his mind!
Exactly one week from the moment Dave said okay, I was with a friend and found a breeder who had a few puppies left on her farm an hour and a half from our home. My girlfriend and I drove out and picked out the fluffiest, friendliest of the little and brought him home to surprise our kiddos. It was a moment I will never forget!
Fast forward to five weeks later….we had a sudden and tragic death in our family. We spent a week or more home with family, grieving. Out of the blue, Dave mentioned he read that the Bernadoodle breed does well with a puppy. What?!??! My husband suggested another?!?
I got back onto researching. I knew not to get two from the same litter. I knew that getting them so close together may mean they bond better with each other than with us but just like having our babies close together, I was in puppy training mode and if we were going to do it again, I wanted it to happen at the same time!
On December 1st, we adopted Honey from a litter of ten tricolor bernedoodle puppies on an Amish farm in Michigan (I promise I did my research and we visited the farm to make sure their breeding practices were humane!) The children easily chose Honey. She was shy but not running away from them. The entire experience was amazing as the kids learned so much about the Amish way of life from our brief visit to the farm.
Life with two puppies quickly became crazy. That same night we came home from the farm, I had intense chills, body aches and ….you guessed it, I was tested the next day and positive for Covid (this was before the vaccine was available.) A few days later, our three children and Dave tested positive. ALL FIVE OF US HAD COVID-19. Dave and I had several symptoms and were down and out for two weeks. The kids, thankfully, seemed like they had minor colds with headaches. Taking care of Honey was not easy. All of the bathroom breaks outside, every movement hurt!!! I was either letting a puppy out, cleaning up a puppy mess (thankfully Harry was potty trained by this point) or helping with virtual school.
Long story short, I would do it all over again. It was similar with our children, when you are in the baby phase, you are there! Too far out of it and you feel like you are learning it all over again, with learning pains! I did some research and found that having puppies from different litters was your best option. Many people said getting two puppies close together would encourage them to bond with each other instead of their humans. They are definitely best buddies, but I wouldn’t say they don’t love to snuggle with us too (first thing in the morning and at the end of the day!)
That’s the story. We now have Harry and Honey and our lives are so much sweeter with so much more love to go around! Having just celebrated Harry’s first birthday, I figured I would list out ten things we learned having two puppies!
Ten Pieces of Advice for Having Two Puppies:
- Crate training helped us tremendously. The puppies love their crates and we still have them sleep in them overnight and stay in them when we leave the house.
- This is the best chew toy known to dogs! We found them at Home Goods, Five and Below as well as on Amazon. I never knew dog urine could burn your grass, these rocks helped!
- Chewy has fantastic customer service and we have used them for almost everything we have purchased! I highly recommend it!
- One way we bonded through the experience was watching dog training videos on YouTube as a family. We loved Rachel Fusaro and her advice.
- Talk to your friends with dogs to get a good idea on the type of food to feed your puppy. Then stick to that food. Anytime you make a switch, it can upset their little digestive systems! There is a strategic way of switching mapped out on the back of most dog food bags. Also ask your vet about supplements. Our dogs are on the smaller size and require supplements for their glands to help prevent discomfort 🙂
- Socialize your pet. Take them for walks where they will encounter other humans and animals. Teach them not to jump on people.
- Pick up your dog poop (meaning, always carry poop bags when with your pets)
- Respect guests in your home. It’s important for me to realize people coming to our house to visit may not like pets. I keep the dogs in the crate if our guests are afraid of them or not a big fan of dogs. I learned to keep them in their crates during a party a hard way (they ate hot dogs right off little kids plates!)
- I was focused on teaching the puppies tricks when we first got them. Then I realized the importance of teaching them basic obedience and manners like stay, come, down, etc. Our dogs are treat obsessed and will basically do anything for a “cookie, cookie!”
- Puppies cost a lot more money than the price you pay to bring them home. So many shots, neutering surgery and more. Keep track of it all and realize that just like with other things, there are ways to get a discount! We use 1-800-PetMeds and save $40 every few months on their heartworm and flea & tick medication!