According to the Urban Dictionary, Quincy is a word that describes someone as being very funny, nice, cool and attractive. Generally, it just means that someone is an all around good person.
I’ll change the word person to puppy.
“No Quincy!” I say probably hundreds of times a day, sometimes it feels like I say this phrase thousands of times a day. I’ve been saying this for the last seven weeks as we’ve welcomed a new Pug puppy into our family.
The decision to get a puppy wasn’t really a hard decision, at least for me. The passing of Max was hard, maybe one of the hardest things I’ve been through in a long time. The love between a human and their dog is a love that those who have experienced it, know it. Those who haven’t, well, I hope someday you do. While I knew I wanted another puppy, it was my kids who really wanted a puppy more. They were here for the ending of Max’s life and while they were sad, the idea of them having a new puppy was a good distraction. There was a feeling of emptiness in the house after saying goodbye to Max, I hated it. So when the kids said they wanted a new puppy, it was pretty easy to get me to agree. It took a little bit longer to get Dad to say yes. But in the end, we all agreed that a puppy would join our family.
It’s 2:30am, it’s raining outside, it’s cold outside. We live in the Seattle area so this time of year the temperatures vary greatly and this particular morning, it’s probably 37 degrees, cold, wet and dark – especially when I’ve been laying in a warm bed. I haven’t been sleeping that well because my sleep is interrupted by the whimpering of a little puppy in the crate next to me. This time, after a few minutes of waiting, the whimpering doesn’t stop which means I need to get out of bed and take him outside to go potty. I try to get downstairs without making too much noise. I put on his leash. Grab my jacket. And, adventure out to the front yard in the early morning hours. As I walk around our yard in the cold and feeling super tired, I manage to find myself taking in a moment to enjoy the peacefulness of the outdoors. It’s surprising how calm the world can be, in the suburbs, at 2:30 in the morning. Quincy goes potty, a quick pet and cheer of excited for his accomplishment and we both head inside to go back to bed. I hope that I get to sleep until the alarm goes off, but I know I will be lucky to get two hours before he is up again.
Before there is too much time for judgment, we did not get a new puppy to replace Max and we all definitely grieved for our beloved friend. There were a lot of discussions about death and life in our house as our 11- and 9-year-old children handled the emotions that come with saying goodbye to a well-loved pet. It was hard. Max will never be replaceable. We know this. Yet, we have started our new journey with a little Brindle-colored Pug Puppy. We made the decision to get another Pug, but we wanted a different color – so he could be different than Max, so he could his own puppy.
Days turn to weeks and I am starting to feel like I have a newborn baby in the house again. I haven’t gotten much sleep, in fact, my husband tells me I am starting to act like a zombie. I am tired and honestly feeling like training a puppy is really hard. It’s 24-hours, non-stop with this new little guy. I had forgotten how much work it is to have a puppy. At one point, I wish I could have a puppy-maternity-leave from work. I start wishing for more sleep and drinking more coffee. In my head, I know these weeks will past quickly, much like the time of newborn babies passed too quickly with both of my kids, but in the moment the weeks feel like years. My conversations are all about Quincy and my favorite two phrases have become “No, Quincy” and “Quincy, go potty!”
The day my kids first met Quincy was a day I will cherish forever. We met the people who had Quincy in a parking lot, I know a little shady, that is a story for later, but when my kids first met Quincy at first I think they were a little scared. Maybe not scared, nervous might be a better word. I’m not sure. I was the first to hold him. Quincy was shaking and whimpering. Quincy definitely didn’t know us and wasn’t sure what to make of being held by a strange person. We told the kids that he would get used to us, it will just take some time. They took turns holding him with caution, Quincy continued to shake. It was awkward and beautiful all at the same time. The kids were meeting their new puppy – the puppy that I knew would capture their hearts in a way that they can’t yet comprehend. This puppy will be different for them than Max, they were going to know Quincy differently as they will remember bringing Quincy home when he was just eight weeks old. Max was a part of family before either kid was born. Quincy was going to be their first puppy, that is a special place to be in a person’s heart. I will admit though, it wasn’t like I thought it would be, the kids and the puppy were all a little scared. Love at first sight was more like nervousness at first sight. Although it was different than I imagined, it was a great moment. It was a reminder that we were about to have a lot of first new puppy moments in our family. It was a reminder that with bringing home a new puppy there will be excitement, love and even fear and anxiety. Our family, all four of us, were in love with this new puppy.
Puppies are different than dogs, in my opinion. You bring home a puppy and you are literally starting from scratch with everything. Everything is new. Everything is unknown. Everything takes patience. The excitement of a new puppy in the house started to fade after a couple days. The kids learned that Quincy didn’t know how to fetch, sit, or rollover. In fact, Quincy didn’t even know how to walk on a leash, let alone go potty outside. He also didn’t know not to bite and of course his sleeping patterns were all messed up. He slept during the days and wanted to play during the night which was opposite of the kids’ schedules. Quincy also tried to chew on their things and even peed in their rooms. The annoyance of a new puppy was definitely in full affect. At one point, I honestly thought both kids were so annoyed by Quincy that they didn’t want a puppy anymore. It became another first moment as we taught the kids about responsibility, commitment and a different kind of patience. Yet with all this frustration, what is different than a new dog, is the innocence that comes with a new puppy – and don’t forget the adorable puppy face, smell and bulging eyes.
It’s been almost seven weeks since we welcomed Quincy into our family. Quincy sleeps through the night, most nights, thankfully. He now knows sit, fetch and we are working on rollover. His bites have turned to licks, for the most part. His accidents are less and less frequent and in all honesty, when he does have an accident it’s been because we weren’t paying attention to his signs to let us know he has to go out. Quincy snuggles a lot with both kids and even takes turns falling a sleep with the kids in their beds at night. The kids are eagerly awaiting the night that we don’t take Quincy from their bed to put in his crate, they want him to sleep all night with them. Quincy walks on a leash, only eating the leash every once in a while and admittedly when he does that, I think it’s cute. He hasn’t chewed up anything besides his toys, knock on wood. The annoying moments of a puppy are still very much still here, but they are becoming less and less annoying and more just the highs and lows of having a puppy.
When we got a puppy I was looking forward to my kids continuing to learn about responsibility. I wanted my kids to really experience what it is like to care for another living creature. I think they are learning these things, slowly. What I wasn’t expecting was that I would learn a few new things too. Well, maybe not learn, reminded might be a better word.
Here is what Quincy has reminded me of:
- Life can sometimes feel like a circus.
- Have patience.
- Encouragement is a necessity.
- Everyday is a new day.
- Get some exercise daily.
- Take time to smell the bushes and explore the grass.
- Simple things are fun.
- Chasing your tail provides endless entertainment.
- Embrace curiosity.
- Be unique.
- Playing with a puppy will reduce stress and frustration.
- We all need a place to call our own, where we feel safe.
- Show affection.
- A little love goes a long way.
Quincy, welcome to our family. We love you!