We decided to add 2 puppies to our family when we moved to another state. It seemed like a great idea. The kids would have someone to bond to, help them feel a bit more secure since we didn’t have any friends here yet. It made a lot of sense, so we went to the local animal shelter. (even though we spent weeks looking online for the breeds we thought we wanted. As you noticed, I did write that we went to the shelter). We told the kids the morning of the trip to the shelter, and they were so excited! When we left in the morning so we could be the first ones there, and we were. We get out of the car and sign-in on the paper, then walk over to the dog section and find two puppies; we want to see how well we bond.
While we were on our way to the shelter, we explained what they should look for when they sit with the puppies.
Temperament- How they respond to you. Does the dog come to you or move away from you?
Pay close attention to its bark- Is it aggressive, or are they trying to talk with you? (Annabelle is a talker who has a lot to say. She is not aggressive).
Assessing the puppies
After we assess that, we can go in and see how well they do with us. Our kids were good with it. They tried their best not to allow their excitement to cloud their judgment. Also, keep in mind what to look for before spending time with the dogs. My son went right by the first puppy and right to the kennel next to it. Were Annabelle was. She was on her bed, head down, and didn’t show much interest in us at first.
My daughter went right to the kennel my son passed. Stood in front of a puppy who stared at her from the other side with a slight tail wag. The kids wanted to spend time with the puppies and see if we can take them home. So we go into the kennels and spend the next 90 minutes with them. It took some time for the puppies to trust us. Let’s face it; being in a shelter is scary for any animal.
The shelter was terrific; they provided us with a harness and a toy to take home. Now, these harnesses were great to have at first. Then I had to take them a few weeks later to get their shots. I took them to a clinic; the prices are less for the vaccines. I had to take two puppies and two kids. In my mind, it was going to go well. I had my kids to help me. We had been working on training at home with the puppies. I assure you that trip sent me home crying.
When we got to the clinic nice and early, there was already a line. I asked my son to hold my paperwork from the shelter and my daughter to hold my purse, and I would walk the puppies. Leaving them in the car to get a number from the technician who came by to give us a number. I got that number and went back to my car. The puppies are barking and nervous; I figured it was because of all the new things they were experiencing. That was somewhat true.
More work to do
I got the puppies out of the car and quickly realize that they needed a lot more training. They pulled a lot on the leash, tried to run off, barked at other dogs and people. The kids were more interested in getting across the street, not staying with the puppies and me. I had so many people looking at me like I was a mess I was.
I looked like I was one clown short of a circus that day. At one point, Annabelle ran off, and I tried to grab the leash, but it just slipped right through my hand, leaving me with a burn that later blistered. She runs up to a lady and her dog barking. Annabelle now scared because the other dog walks over to her. Annabelle was unsure what to do, and that allowed us to grab her leash. While we were chasing after Annabelle, Comet was wiggling out of her leash. Scarlett saw this, and I was able to grab her just as she got out of it so I could prevent her from running off.
Finally, we go inside the clinic, and that was another hot mess. Annabelle had calmed down and stopped trying to run off. Comet was at a 10! Trying over and over to get out of her harness. Finally I had to sit over her. Put her between my legs so I could have more control over her quick reactions.
The lady in front of us asked about the puppies, and I thought she would let me have a piece of her mind, but she told me that she worked for a shelter before, and some of her behaviors are pretty common. I thought for sure that she was just trying to make me feel better, but she shared a few stories and even gave me some tips to help keep her calm. It somewhat worked at the clinic, but it was just something that I would never want to do again. The kids kept informing me that they were hungry and how hot it was in the clinic. We were there for about 30 hours.
A long time but our 4 legged family members needed their shots. Even inside, Comet was trying to get out of her harness. We finally got up to the desk. Got the shots. Waited a few minutes before we could go. Then tried to run out of the office, past the long line of other dogs and cats that were barely 2 feet away on the other hallway wall.
Comet and Annabelle
We get outside, narrowly escaping the incident inside when Comet and Annabelle try to run off outside. Both tried to wiggle out of their leashes, and I had so much trouble keeping them with me. We finally get to the car, and I load up the kids. My daughter closes the door just before I was about to get the puppies in (I guess out of habit). Then she quickly realizes that the puppies needed to come in and opens the door. The puppies carelessly barrel into my car. The door hits the truck next to us. The vehicle owner was in the car, waiting for their turn to go in. Yep, just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, she asks me for my information, and yes, there was a bump to the door but no dents or even missing paint.
I lost it, my hand hurt, and I had to now deal with this. I couldn’t stop the tiers from pouring out of my eyes. My kids were upset and trying to apologize; the owner was patiently waiting for me to get it together and get her the information. Once I get out and hand her the information, she tells me it’s okay; we have all had those days; take a deep breath. There was more to the conversation. In that moment I was just so shocked at the day I had that processing it all was a blur. I get home and yes, still crying. My husband, who is working from home at the moment saw me crying and tried his best to make sure I was okay while working.
He asks, “What happened?” the only thing I could say was, “these puppies were so bad!” and I started to cry even more as I was explaining our outing. At that point my mind shifted, and I told him that I was going to get a better harness. I wanted to make sure I control them while they learned to be around other people and animals. He said, okay, let’s figure out the best one to get.
I went on Amazon and found ones that went from their chest to their hips; they were about 90 dollars. Josh asked me to rethink that since they were still puppies, and I know that at that moment I was just to upset; I wanted something that seemed like they couldn’t just wiggle out. He was right though, and I found ones that were not as beefy but did offer more control. So I placed the order, and we have been using them since they arrived. Let me just tell you; they have been amazing. The puppies respond well with them on, and it is more comfortable for both the puppies and me.
When our puppies wear their harness, they even calm down more. It’s almost like one of those weighted blankets for them. It might not be necessary for every puppy or dog, but it was a game-changer for us. I would love to know if anyone else has used this harness for their 4-legged family members and found it helpful. Thanks for reading my story. Until next time, don’t forget to love on your puppy… or other fury baby.