Earlier this year, for the first time, I housebroke two puppies at once. Incidentally, this is also the year I decided to never—ever—housebreak multiple dogs again. My pups seemed to be conspirators in a game of “you distract him while I destroy that.” They ate my favorite hat, removed and consumed a $20 bill from my wallet and pulled most of the latticework off my back deck. It was like living in a college frat house: Every morning I knew I’d discover an accident on the floor and something broken.
To make matters worse, they barked in their crates until I was certain they’d go hoarse, but they soon learned to take turns. My days ran into nights. “No, it can’t be,” I’d say as the sun rose. After several relentless weeks I offered to give my truck to a buddy in exchange for watching the puppies while I slept for four uninterrupted hours.
Where was my wife during all of this? In bed with 24-hour morning sickness, unable to help. That’s right, we were simultaneously expecting a third addition to the family (which has since arrived). And as the big day approached, more than one individual jokingly observed that the puppies helped prepare me for fatherdom. That’s perhaps truer than they realize. By most accounts, one of the greatest challenges of raising a newborn is the extreme sleep deprivation. Well, thanks to the pups I knew I could handle that. Plus a baby poops in a diaper rather than on my floor and doesn’t require walking. In fact, once the puppies were finally housebroken, sleeping through the night and no longer requiring a constant eye, I’d started feeling pretty good about myself.
Then I learned of my wife’s baby shower registry. Soon a dozen women descended upon my home, carrying gifts, discussing the latest in celebrity gossip and pressing me to answer whether I’m “ready to be a dad” for the billionth time.
How fair is this? I spend five months of forced insomnia and, while the puppies consumed or soiled nearly all my possessions, my wife got showered in gifts by her best friends. Gundog owners of America, it’s time we stand up for ourselves. Let’s make 2013 the year we create a new societal custom: the “puppy shower.” To make things easier for you, I’ve devised a registry. To hammer home our point, I’ve categorized each item according to an equivalent item on my wife’s baby shower registry.
The Wish List:
Petmate Ruffmaxx Dog Kennel
Mud River Homebase Dog Bed
Miller Manufacturing Automatic Dog Waterer
SportDOG Brand TEK E-Collar with GPS Tracking System
MSRP: $160 to $400
Avery Sporting Dog Neoprene Vest
Dokken’s Dead Fowl Trainer Retrieving Dummies
Drake Quick Hitch Retriever Stand
Pro Plan Sport Performance 30/20 Formula
So, you see, products required to raise a puppy are no less essential—or less expensive—than those for a baby. Isn’t it time that rearing a puppy became more of a community effort?