It’s a well known fact that during the pandemic, people either bought or adopted puppies and shelter dogs in droves. Now that the pandemic is slowing down, many of these pandemic dog owners are rethinking their choices. Many dog owners have to return to work or have found a job and can no longer devote ALL their time towards their canines. Many others, I am sad to say, are rethinking their dog ownerships and revisiting returning many of these pups either back to their breeders or dropped off at animal shelters.

My daughter is one of those pandemic puppy owners. Wanting to do something good for her seven-year old daughter, she bought a puppy from a co-worker of hers, whose own female Maltipoo accidentally got pregnant. Even though her co-worker officially was not a breeder, her little pup cost her $1,200. My daughter’s puppy experience lasted two weeks. She got hit with a double whammy: her husband turned out to be allergic to the dog AND working from home, as well as tutoring her own daughter via virtual classroom, left absolutely no time to take care of a puppy.

Enter grandma (me) the supposed solution.

I’ve been a dog owner for decades. One dog-at-a-time owner. I can’t ever recall a period, since 1974 where I did not have a dog. So, when both my granddaughter and daughter tearfully called me and told me of their puppy woes, I, like a jerk, told them I would take in said pandemic puppy. I’m home all day long. Live on acreage. I have nothing to do plus I have great experience raising dogs from puppydom.

Besides, who can say no to this face?

The puppy came without vet visits, immunization shots, heartworm shots, rabbies shots, flea and tick care and was not neutered. All of this daughter was expected to cover BUT now that the puppy was officially grandma’s, grandma and grandpa supposedly were to be responsible for these costs (technically, if this puppy was purchased from a real breeder, said breeder would have covered these costs, just like they were covered from the other three dogs I had adopted since 1974)

So now, grandma and grandpa have two dogs. Our original dog is a ten-year old catahoula who costs us around $50 a month to feed and care for. Once a year we get a $300 vet bill for the catahoula. When I re-set up our budget, I foolishly thought our monthly bill would double to $100 and ditto for a once-a-year vet bill for the Maltipoo.

Boy, was I dead wrong! My monthly costs (food, pet products, vet care) since I got said puppy have been as follows:

  1. October $176.82
  2. November $439.25
  3. December $453.04
  4. January $234.92
  5. February $106.36 (I think this is what a normal month will be)
  6. March $714.09 (technically the amount should be $1217.37 as puppy was spayed. Daughter reimbursed $503.28)

In six months of ownership, I have spent $2,124.48 plus @$27 a month for pet insurance X 6 = $162 for a Grand Total (so far) $2,286.48. Throw in the $1,200 purchasing fee and this little pandemic puppy is in the tank for $3,486.48. OUCH! This is NOT good for someone like me who is on a fixed income. How hubs and I have come up with the money so far has been a miracle. I will admit that I’ve cut back on grocery shopping just so we can afford this puppy. And now, with the vet spay bill, I’m sad to say I put said amount on an interest free credit card loan. WTF am I doing? This is NOT like me to extend myself for anyone or anything, let alone for a puppy just to please my crying granddaughter!

Here are just some of things I had to buy to accommodate our puppy:

In the interim, this puppy has literally destroyed the interior of my home. She has chewed on almost all of my kitchen chair legs, she has chewed through both of our pairs of slippers, stolen tons of our socks, chewed through area rugs, area rug corners, put a hole in my fave pillow, put holes in my good pajamas from biting and chewing on the material, nipped at my hands with her razor sharp teeth.

Because we got the puppy in the winter, we couldn’t potty train a 4 pound puppy outside in the cold, cold weather. Instead we bought another cage, placed it in my office (!!!!!!!) and that is where puppy goes to relieve herself. Several times a day. Thank goodness my office has cross ventilation because I have to open those windows at least once per day! The only good thing I have to say about puppy’s constitutional responsibilities is that the puppy has learned to successfully use the spare cage as her bathroom. She voluntarily jumps into the cage whenever she has to relieve herself. And because she is so small and tiny I don’t mind picking up the poop with a single tissue. There hasn’t been one mistake until I made this statement. Yup. You guessed it. As soon as I acknowledged that puppy has never had an accident in my house, she peed in our bathroom. A nice little ‘flood’. Apparently, she miscalculated where my office was. Oh well. At least it was on a tile floor and NOT on any of my homes’ wood flooring!

Now that the weather is getting better, I’m out walking the puppy, who in turn, has been very very good about relieving herself outside. But she’s still a puppy. Which means she has to be walked several times a day. Like five times a day vs the only one I’ve been doing. I can manage two walks a day but that’s about it. I have to remind myself that I am 70 years old and not up to this puppy business. Puppy wants to play All.Day.Long. I have the puppy toys strewn all over the house to prove it. I don’t have either the strength nor the wherewithal to handle this little (now 11.5 pound) bundle of puppiness.

Thankfully, my husband has taken over. He feeds, walks, plays and cares for the puppy. He takes the puppy in to the vet. And he has taken over the care of the puppy from her spay operation as well as an operation to extract one of her overgrown baby teeth. (Kah-Ching!) Needless to say, hubby and puppy have become inseparable love buddies. She kisses hubby to death. Hubby melts like a lava stone and is taken in by this puppy madness. Me? I just keep fretting over the bills.

No. No. No. We are not giving up our beloved puppy. Hubs said this too will pass and eventually puppy will settle down and be as boring as our 60 pound catahoula. I count the days. We have another six months to go before puppy is no longer considered a puppy. Despite all my complaining, our puppy does bring much needed joy and purpose into our lives. It’s been a blessing knowing that we are giving a good home and care to a little dog. Who knows how she would have wound up at the hands of another owner? Pandemic puppies are being abandoned now by the bucketful. We would die if our little puppy wound up in a kill shelter.

Technically, all complaining aside, it has been an honor to have this little buddy in our lives. The greatest joy is seeing the face of our granddaughter light up when she is with her beloved little puppy once again. We really did do this for her. Not for ourselves. It’s been a lonely journey for our granddaughter. She’s not been back in school for a year and can only virtually play with her friends over a computer screen. Our granddaughter is very lonely and cries for her puppy each and every night. At least the puppy is real and gives great little face kisses.

As long as the Good Lord provides, puppy will have a good and loving home.

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