A dog is for life, not just for lockdown

So, we got a dog. Yes, we became one of those clichéd couples that got a dog during lockdown. But technically it’s not lockdown anymore—or is it? If it is, doesn’t this mean that lockdown will likely go on for months and years, rendering any major decision—house move, baby, puppy—in such a significant amount of time, a total cliché? Maybe it’s not a cliché then, and instead just a decision we made that we’re feeling happy about.

Anyway, meet Cocoa. She’s an F1b Cockapoo. Or more specifically, a CockerCockerPoo (She’s 75% Spaniel, 25% Poodle). Key personality traits include irresistibly cute puppy eyes, a wavy tuft, baby murmurs and incessant licking and nipping and love of scrambled eggs and boiled chicken (if together, even better).

We’re 15 days in now and we’ve seen our lifestyle change massively but in a really great way (90% of the time, anyway). Gone are weekend lie-ins and slow weekday mornings (we used to rise slowly around 8 am, earlier before lockdown) and spontaneous trips and late nights out are a thing of the past—but then they have been since March anyway. Instead, we’re up at 7 am, picking up shit three times a day, attempting simple commands like ‘Sit’, ‘Down’ and ‘NO!!!!’ and trying to think of new dog-friendly foods to make her four daily kibble feeds slightly more interesting. Oh, and nursing our wounds from her surprisingly sharp pin-teeth bites that happen more times than we’d like. It’s great.

Cocoa is 10 weeks’ old at the time of writing, so it’s still too early to be able to take her out for a walk because of her vaccination schedule. This will be able to happen in 19 days’ time—not that we’re counting. Work-wise, it’s working. We’re both still working from home a lot of the time and truth be told, she naps about 18 hours a day. For the hours she’s awake, we’re running around after her, teaching her tricks, guiding her away from ‘no-go’ areas and generally talking to her in a conversational tone as if she can really understand what we’re saying. With her curly spaniel ears and a perky tail that wags, she makes us laugh so much and there’s nothing cuter than seeing her sit patiently and quietly by our feet around 9 pm in the hope that we pick her up and let her snuggle on the sofa with us (we always do). Of course, it’s hard work (slippers, boots and rugs are some of the many things she’s ruined so far), but the pros massively outweigh the cons.

We’re both new to dog ownership. And although we’d talked about it before in the past, I think we both thought it probably wouldn’t happen. After all, it is a massive commitment and—see point above—a huge lifestyle change. When I’d casually looked at puppies in the past, they were always so far away or ridiculously expensive. Some breeders were even taking deposits for pup pregnancies that weren’t actually confirmed yet, which didn’t feel right. So, we left it. Also, my boyfriend needed a bit more convincing. Har har.

Then about five weeks ago, we looked again (or I did) and found the cutest litter of puppies that were five weeks’ old and reasonably local. We visited the family twice and it just felt right. The puppies were happy and healthy, the mother was the family pet, the environment was safe and clean and the breeder kept in touch with us over Whatsapp until we were able to pick her up at 8 weeks’ old. 

In casual conversations and many online articles I’ve come across, many people have mentioned rescue dogs and how anyone considering a pup should at first consider adopting one from the animal shelter. And wholeheartedly, I agree. We didn’t do this—we went down the private breeder route—and I do feel a bit guilty about it. But truth be told, we don’t have a lot of experience with dogs, so I don’t know how successful we would have been at being able to rehome a pup with a troubled past. Perhaps we would have had ourselves a breed that didn’t fit in with our lifestyle, which is massively important. Maybe it might have been too much for us and it could have all ended in tears. Anyway, we were that typical couple that fell immediately in love with the first pup we visited. They do warn about that happening in articles. Oh god, maybe we are a cliché. 


Thank you for reading. Come back next week, when I’ll probably be back to business (literally).