“Do you think you’ll ever have children?” A friend asked me the other day.
“Eurgh! No!” I said, shuddering at the mere thought. “I’m not dedicating my life to dealing with actual shit, talking in a stupid high-pitched voice, and legging it around after an unruly toddler for hours on end...”
I trailed off as I cast my mind back to that very morning, which had been defined by a 6am pooper-scooper session, repeatedly telling my puppy that he was a ‘handsome rolling pin,’ and chasing said puppy up three flights of stairs over and over again, all the while trying to stuff crumpets into my mouth and attempting to get ready for work.
I’m not going to lie: there have been times over the past seven days whereby I have genuinely considered doing a Shirley Valentine and disappearing off to Greece on my own, leaving the puppy with my husband, who, since the beginning of the week, I have often fantasised of becoming estranged from.
Nobody warns you of the exhaustion that comes hand-in-hand with being a puppy parent.
Puppies: little squeezy bundles of fluff who play all day, sleep all night, and then blossom into well-rounded, well-mannered adult dogs.
Ha! More like sleep-depriving, energy-zapping, garden-destroying balls of sass who eat everything in the day (and I mean everything!), and cry all night. ALL NIGHT.
Today marks seven days since we brought Rolo home. The week has been an absolute rollercoaster of emotions, which I’m sure hasn’t been helped by a testing combination of 1am broken slumbers and 6am starts.
I never appreciated just how wiped out having a puppy would leave us feeling.
I think back to my old German Shepherd, who we had until the grand old age of 13. She was as placid as they come, and loved nothing more than lying at our feet night after night, quite satisfied with a chill after a long walk.
Rolo tends to prefer to spend his time eating stones, chewing cables, clawing at the carpets and lying slap bang in the middle of my Mum’s herb garden. (He clearly isn’t a fan of dill.)
You literally cannot take your eyes off him for half a second, because you’ll either find him half way up the stairs, or parading around the garden with one of the pot starfish from the downstairs bathroom in his mouth.
So far, he has smashed an ornamental cat, consumed his own body weight in flying ants, chomped on a spider, and ran amuck with one of my bras. He even stole the dustpan and brush from my Mum when she was attempting to sweep the garden the other day.
He is interested in everything, which was actually his downfall the other night. Marzipan (our fiery Russian Dwarf hamster) finally got fed up playing the part of patient big brother, and went for Rolo through the bars of his cage. Rolo ran off across the living room, looking totally perplexed. He hasn’t gone near Marzipan’s cage since. Marzipan, on the other hand, looked very pleased with himself, and pulled the facial expression that frightens me the most, whereby he squints his eyes, bares his teeth, and mashes his front paws together.
Stairs are Rolo’s favourite thing in the world at the moment, although he can’t actually get down them. He climbs them, and then stands at the top crying, one paw hovering over the top step, until one of us treks up to retrieve him. No sooner have we set him down, and he’s off again, a determined look on his face.
Night time is still a touchy subject. Rolo had one good night in the crate at the start of the week, and we thought we’d cracked it. Oh, how we rubbed our hands in glee!
... Until the following night, when he spent four solid hours practising what I can only presume to be his latest X-Factor audition.
We’ve read the books and articles, though, so we know it’s a case of tough love. We’ll get there.
Despite all of the above, Rolo is one of the cleverest puppies I have ever known. In just a week, he has mastered sit, wait, drop and come here, as well as becoming completely toilet trained, and learning his name!
Our next mission is ‘high five.’
“It’s my dream to teach him that, so that when I burp, I can high five him and it’ll be banter,” said my husband.
... Any other requests, Mr Darcy?
I hate myself for this, I really do, but I’ve even become one of those people who put on an irritating voice while speaking to their pets. You see, Marzipan never appreciated these kind of things. He’s a ham of the world, and thrives upon intelligence. I rarely see that hamster look as happy as he does when listening to BBC Radio Four. I have always treated Marzipan with a level of intellectual respect, and I often chat to him about nuclear wars and the stock exchange.
Rolo, on the other hand, has been called a variety of silly names this week, all pronounced in a cringey shrill pitch. We’ve had Rolling Pin, Sausage Roll, Bacon Roll, Bread Roll, Mr Roll, and Rolington Bear, to name but a few.
I even Facetimed him the other day while I was at work and husband was puppy-sitting.
God, what have I become?!
Cara Jasmine Bradley ©