With both my sister and me coming back from college for the long summer, my parents broke down and agreed to adopt a rescue puppy. After a week of searching on Petfinder.com and looking through hundreds of adorable puppy profiles, we stumbled upon a cute little German Shepherd mix that seemed to catch all of our eyes.
Picking out the puppy was almost an easier task than deciding on a name for our incredibly indecisive family. It seemed that every name from Anna to Sadie carried some sort of negative connotation to at least one of us. Dozens of names were considered and immediately shot down with reasons like “That’s my boss’s name” or “That’s this annoying girl I know at school” or “That’s the name of our next door neighbor.” On the way to adopt our new puppy, we finally agreed on the name Hazel.
Ten-week-old Hazel joined our family like a whirlwind, an enthusiastic and playful ball of fur that craved the attention of everyone in sight. It had been over ten years since any of us had taken care of a puppy, so we were all naturally a little overwhelmed. We checked out half a dozen books from the library on puppy training and soon realized one thing: raising a puppy is no walk in the park. Luckily, we got to bypass one of the least enjoyable aspects of having a new puppy: housetraining. The family that fostered Hazel prior to her adoption had already done this chore, and we have only had to clean up a couple of accidents since we brought her home.
Hazel has a puppy’s limitless amount of energy and insatiable curiosity. She’s like a small toddler. We all have to be on our toes to ensure that she doesn’t chew up my sister’s flip-flops again and to make sure she doesn’t break down the barrier at the bottom of the stairs and adventure up to the second floor, where she’s not allowed. Just last week, Hazel started digging holes in the front lawn, and we now have to watch her very closely whenever she goes outside.
But while her energy and curiosity can be a curse when it comes to shoes and our beautiful green lawn, it’s also my favorite part of having a puppy. Hazel is always interested in playing, and if you ever start to lie down on the carpet, she will come running with her tongue out and tail wagging and jump on top of you. Hazel is also very keen on exploring, whether she is outside running through the tall grass and around trees or jumping over barriers to get upstairs, she is always sniffing out new and unfamiliar things.
Night brings its own problem: bedtime–when I have to put her into her crate. The whining begins. For up to ten minutes she noisily pleads to get someone to pay attention to her and play with her. She tilts her head to the side and stares up at me with her glossy brown eyes and her cute puppy face, and I melt. It takes every ounce of willpower for me not to go running over to let her out.
Despite its challenges, Hazel’s arrival into our house has been so rewarding. We laugh at the way she throws her toys around. My dad, who was the biggest roadblock to getting a dog, is now her biggest fan. He wrestles with her in the living room and chases her through the house and is even the one who takes her to puppy class every week. If you are looking for something to enrich your life, get a puppy.