It’s early in the morning as I quietly type this in my bedroom. I don’t want to wake up our 14- week puppy. (He’s so peaceful when he sleeps.)
We’ve had our puppy (named Cooper) for almost 3 weeks now and i could definitely say it’s been an adjustment. Things have been pretty good overall! Cooper has his mischievous days, that’s for sure, but he is a sweet dog, deep down.
I just wish I would have known the immense undertaking it would take on me.
Don’t get me wrong, I was told by every person, “puppies are so much work!” “Puppies are like having a child.” “Oh wow, you’re getting a puppy! How are you going to take care of it?” which began to irritate me (“Why can’t you just say, ‘congratulations!'”). Nevertheless, I thought I was mentally prepared for the work it would take to raise our little guy. But what no one ever talked to me about was the immense emotional toll that has been rocking my life ever since.
The first few days were the roughest. We had Cooper confined to our dining room/kitchen area, and every time we went to the bathroom, Cooper would cry uncontrollably. The first time I left him to go to work, I’m pretty sure he cried the entire time. Since he’s so young, his mental development stage is growing (and will be for a very long while), so I’m constantly distracting him from teething, while also taking him out often to go potty. Typical puppy stuff.
But on top of the massive amount of things I do (a full-time job, multiple part-time jobs and professional projects), having our puppy need me for every other waking moment has been a prep for motherhood. I understand that. But things have taken a turn for the worse. I’m not eating as much, and I don’t have the energy to cook, much less exercise. It’s been a series of strange meals since we got our puppy.
Not only that, I’ve had several days when I just crumble under the emotional weight of it all. Little things like Cooper constantly barking to go outside (only to sit stubbornly in the sun for 20+ minutes) or incessantly biting my sweater has brought me past my emotional threshold. My husband’s been handling the puppy better than I have, and takes care of Cooper when I literally can’t function. In fact, he’s had to tell me numerous times, “yes, this will get better.” (I know he’ll have to keep re-assuring me of this.) I have cried more in the past 3 weeks than I think I have since I suffered from burnout in my junior year of college.
Having a puppy might be the closest I’ve ever come to a longer-term depression.
Last night, as I peeled myself off the couch after a notably bad evening of puppy-fueled tears, I desperately Googled, “depression after getting a puppy”, which felt incredibly ungrateful. I mean, who in the world becomes a shell of a person after getting something as adorable as a puppy? It turns out that many people get overwhelmed with the new addition of a puppy into their life (even if they did everything to become prepared, like me). They call it “the puppy blues”.
It might sound paradoxical, I know. I can imagine you, my mom friends, reading this and screaming, “WELCOME TO MY LIFE!!!!” and I understand that risk comes with writing this blog entry. And I do not compare this to the same level of postpartum depression. But I feel so compelled to share my experience with “the puppy blues” because, until I Googled “depression after having a puppy”, I felt so alone. And so much of my life journey is helping people feel that they aren’t alone.
So I’m chronicling our puppy journey. I’m sharing my honest reflections as we go through our first year of puppy ownership: the good, the bad, and the emotional.
Have you ever had “the puppy blues”? Did you stumble across this article because you’re suffering from depression after having a puppy? If you are, that’s totally okay. You aren’t alone!
Helpful links for post-puppy depression: