Courtesy photo: Shea’s dachshund puppy, “Blue”

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By Shea Hubbs / Staff Writer

First, no I didn’t give birth, which sounds terrifying.

For women that have, you’re awesome. I did, however, become a mother to an adorable dachshund puppy.

My boyfriend and I had been wanting to get a dog for a long time, and when we saw him our hearts exploded. On Feb. 15, my life changed forever.

I hadn’t been a dog mom before, so this was all new to me. When we went to get him, my heart started to race. I was nervous, scared and more excited than I’ve ever been. I started shaking when I went to pick him up for the first time. He was so small I thought he would break.

But I held him close to my chest and kissed his head. My heart was attached from that moment.

Now came the thing that I had been struggling with since I knew I was getting a dog. What was his name going to be? I asked my friends and family for suggestions, but nothing felt right. It wasn’t until my boyfriend, Isaac, and I went to the pet store for toys and food. I was carrying the puppy in the store when a sales associate came up to us and made a comment about how he looked “blue.”

The puppy had gotten a bunch of shots that day, so it was understandable why he looked down. But when she said that, Isaac and I gave each other a look. When we got into the car, it was an easy decision. “Blue” was his name. We were so excited that we had named him.

Our excitement went down when we tried going to sleep. I thought I had everything planned. I’d done the research, gotten all the best toys, food and treats. But we couldn’t stop Blue from barking. Of course, I knew a puppy would bark, but I wasn’t prepared for him to be up all night long.

The first night I didn’t get more than two hours of sleep. Blue wouldn’t stay asleep unless he was in bed with us. It didn’t matter what we did, he wouldn’t sleep. Over the next few days, we tried a few different ways of getting Blue to bed. Websites said all different things. Don’t let them eat before bed, don’t have lights on, tire them out, don’t let them nap a lot. I did all of these and he wasn’t having any of it. I was so sleep deprived it started to take a toll. I was grouchy with Isaac and my coworkers, my eyes were constantly puffy, I cried more times than I can count, and I was starting to lose my mind. He just barked all night, endlessly.

I was getting hopeless. I had gotten this dog and couldn’t even get him to stop barking. I was wondering if I had made the right decision. Was I ready for this? But I didn’t give up. I talked to a trainer at one of the local doggy daycares, and with her advice, I got Blue to sleep more and more each night. He still has work to do, but we’re making progress.

Then I got to thinking. I thought about my mom and sister. Both have raised more than two kids, mostly alone. If this is how it is with a puppy, I can only imagine the toll it takes on a mother with an infant.

I called my mom and told her about everything that was happening and she just smiled. She knew more than anyone how I was feeling, and now I can say how much respect I have for her and all the mothers out there. I know having a puppy and baby are nowhere near the same, but the feeling of being responsible for a defenseless being is a big deal. Feeding it, bathing it, potty training them, and loving them when they don’t understand how exhausted you are. It’s a big deal to do either.

No matter how much you think you’re ready, there is always something you won’t be expecting. But take it one day at a time and you will reach the day where you miss it all. Even the crying… or barking.

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