Dog Owner Diaries: You've Got A Dog, Now What?

Adopting a dog is usually a big thought out process . . . usually. Not for me apparently. I adopted my own dog on a whim. 

I received a text from a friend who had found two puppies under an abandoned car asking if I knew anyone who wanted a puppy. That’s when I decided to adopt my first dog, Thor.

Who could resist this adorable fur ball?

 Thor, puppy

Thor was found at around two weeks old with two major eye infections. After his first trips to the vet, I was told he might not be able to see, and that he may not even make it. He was in terrible condition, and I was a first time dog owner. I was woefully unprepared to own a dog, especially one like Thor.

Through some luck, the help of the vet, and Thor’s amazing will power, he pulled through. He is now nearly seven-years-old and has use of both his eyes (even though he does have one lazy eye).

While everyone’s experiences are going to differ, I hope sharing my experiences will help.

So, here’s what to expect when you unexpectedly adopt a puppy.



There will be poop. Everywhere. In the middle of the floor. Under the dining room table. Behind the couch. Every. Where.

It may seem strange right now, but you’d rather the accident be poop than pee. Urine is much harder to clean up and the smell last considerably longer. You can even go through a whole roll of paper towels for big accidents.

Puppies need to be taken outside to the bathroom often. The general consensus is that puppies can hold in bodily functions an hour for every month of age, plus one. So if your puppy is five months old, that would be six hours.

Do not take puppies outside if they have not received any shots. This shouldn’t be a problem, as most puppies you adopt will have received their shots, but if you are in the situation that I was in where you find a two-week-old puppy, keep that in mind.


Puppy Proofing

If you don’t puppy proof your house, expect destruction. Shoes, clothes, wires, anything puppies can get their mouths on. After all, they teethe just like infants do. Common victims of puppy teething are shoes and socks, but I’ve also been the proud owner of many phone chargers that are now two separate cables thanks to my pups.

Things like this shouldn’t be a problem if you crate your dog while you are away or asleep, just keep an eye out when your dog is out and about.

For people like me who will let their dogs roam the house freely when they aren’t there, it becomes a little trickier. You have to make sure there’s nothing to chew at their level.

The best way to combat chewing is to give your dog exercise (mental and physical) and make sure there are plenty of toys to chew on instead.


Unexpected Vet Visits

Let’s face it—bad things happen. And when they do, they can cost a ton of money. It is a good idea to stash some money for an unplanned vet visit. Last year, Freyja got out of the house (she can open doors) and got hit by a car. A rush to a 24-hour pet ER, $1000, and a whole lot of panic later, she was thankfully okay, save for some cuts and bruises.

Point being that if you some cash set aside, it will be a much easier situation to deal with. Rather than wondering if your pup is okay and how you are going to afford care, you can seek treatment and not have to worry about the finances.


Fleas and Ticks

These pests aren’t just annoying, they’re also detrimental to the health of your dogs and even yourself. Common prevention usually costs between $20–$50 a month, depending on brand and use. Some forms of prevention are good for fleas, ticks, and worms, but may be on the higher end of the price scale.

The benefit of prevention far outweighs the cost. Ridding your home of fleas is a monumental task and can often cost hundreds of dollars.


These tips, among others, are lessons I had to learn along the way. But don’t let them scare you away from dog ownership. Owning a dog is an amazing experience, and the positives far outweigh any of the negatives.

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