For as long as I can remember, I’ve always longed for a puppy. But there were always the stop signs: no space (back when I lived in an apartment), or the fact that I might relocate to another country if I got a job there (before I landed my current job at Kaodim, which I absolutely love), or the lack of time to care for a dog. My parents were never fond of dogs – my dad claimed that he’d been chased and bitten by a stray dog when he was younger, which was why he disliked dogs in general, and my mom was basically just apathetic toward dogs. She didn’t hate them, but she wasn’t a fan either.
But then Cody happened. And he changed everything. I believe in miracles, and I believe that God answers prayers.
How It All Started
Last month, I started my search for a dog. I told God that my ideal dog had to be a really adorable Maltese puppy that was no older than 3 months old. There’s a whole story behind the reason for my puppy search, but I’ll leave that for another time. I inquired at least 50 pet stores if they had Malteses and only a couple of stores had them, but they were ridiculously expensive. So after a few weeks of an unsuccessful puppy hunt, I dropped the search and decided to wait until the right pup came along.
The Puppy’s Story
Two weeks ago, one of my coworkers pointed out that her friend was advertising Maltese pups for sale. So I got in touch with the guy and learned that the puppies actually belonged to his uncle’s family, who wasn’t able to care for the pups. The puppies’ mother had passed away due to a milk fever, which could’ve been avoided if the family had taken better care of her.
Long story short, I swung by with my friends to check out the last remaining pup and I fell in love with him right away. He was sooo tiny, and he had the cutest little puppy face I’d ever seen! He looked just like a mini teddy bear, with cream hair, big round eyes and the cutest black button nose. But he needed to be adopted right away, because his current living situation with the family wasn’t very hygienic and since he was only 5 weeks old, he was still too young to be vaccinated.
So I got home, prayed about it and talked to my family about my concerns. I’d been dreaming about owning a puppy for so many years. And this wasn’t just any puppy – this was a 5-week-old puppy who wasn’t even potty-trained or vaccinated! That meant I’d have to be extra careful with him, since his health was still so fragile. And that also meant adjusting my time around his feeding schedule, which was every 3-4 hours.
My parents were surprisingly supportive when I told them about him. And so were all my friends and coworkers! Everyone knew how obsessed I’d been with Malteses, and they were really excited when I told them I was getting this new pup. Summer lent me her puppy play pen, and Man Yee gave me a big stack of wee pads and some really cute clothes and a dog shampoo. They accompanied me all Saturday to pick him up, take him to the vet and shop for his necessities. Summer helped me set up the play pen at home and taught me how to potty train him. Lots of people have been so wonderful in welcoming me into the “Puppy Parent” club and they’ve been sharing doggy tips and stories with me, which really helps.
So I’m just so thankful for all the support that I’ve been receiving regarding Cody!
How Cody’s Doing Now
He’s great. He’s grown so much from the day I picked him up. He barely had any teeth on Saturday, and by Sunday morning, I noticed that a few white dots had budded on his gums. And when he playfully clamped down on my hand, I could feel the subtle pricks from his emerging teeth. That was just a week ago.
Now he’s 6 weeks. He’s gained a bit of weight from all the puppy milk and kibbles, and he’s also developed a slight bark too. Unfortunately, like most small dogs, his bark takes on the shrill, high-pitched note and it can be really unpleasant at 4 AM, especially when it’s accompanied by endless whining. And since he’s teething, his play biting has gotten rather painful lately. I know this is a very normal phase for puppies, especially since he’s barely even 2 months old, but I’m starting to realize that the real challenge about raising a puppy is not the whining or the barking or the biting, because those things eventually phase out as the puppy matures.
In my opinion, as a newly minted puppy mom, I think the biggest challenge of all is fostering a strong bond with the puppy and understanding him, while helping him to understand me. At 6 weeks, this chapter is a very big part of Cody’s life because he’s just starting to develop his personality. He’s learning new things, and a lot of that involves understanding my family and me. He’s adapting very well, which is just great!
But every now and then, I worry that I’m not being a good mom to him simply because I don’t have any experience in this area, and unlike my friends who’ve had dogs for a long time, I worry that I will never be able to bridge the gap between our differences – I don’t speak dog, he doesn’t speak English – so our communication has to be based on body language, the tone of my voice and other non-verbal cues. I worry that I won’t be able to read him very well. I have all these silly concerns at the back of my mind but at the end of the day, I know that I’m just exemplifying symptoms of an overly anxious mom.
Puppy parenthood is probably similar to actual parenthood, where you start off clueless and anxious, only to gain more experience and confidence along the way. So I need to tone down on the worrying and just focus on making every day the best day of Cody’s life. He’s brought heaps of joy to my family. My parents went from “We want nothing to do with your pup when you get him” to instant Cody fans the moment I brought him home. They coddle him and shower him with kisses and love all the time. Cody makes them laugh. He makes them happy, and most importantly, he’s everything I ever wanted in a puppy and more.
To many more years with this little guy! 🙂
PS: If you’re a puppy parent, I’d love to hear from you too.