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"How becoming a 'dog mum' made me realise I am not ready to be a human mum."

So, I got a puppy. A basset hound named Walter. My partner and I went halves and he’s the first living thing I’ve ever had to be responsible for (apart from Nugget the gold fish who sadly passed away many moons ago).

He’s a super cute dog. And I’ve obviously over loaded my Instagram with pictures of his cute little face. And people kept asking, do you love him? Are you obsessed with him? And the answer was a hesitant ‘yes’ to the people asking. But to myself, I wasn’t as sure.

Now don’t get me wrong, he’s adorable. And I would never find him another home. I just didn’t really consider the real impact that being a ‘dog mum’ would have on my emotional and mental health.

In the lead up to getting Walter, it was all puppies and rainbows. I was full of excitement and counting down the days until we got to meet our little furry friend. I was watching YouTube videos on basset hounds and pinning puppy photos to my vision board for months before.

Then the day we picked him up came. As soon as I pulled up to the house my heart started to thud. Then I felt as though I had been kicked in the stomach as I finally realised what was happening.

 

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Me and my mate ????

A post shared by Walter The Basset Hound (@nothingbutahounddog) on

The whole drive home I stared at him. But rather then being besotted with his adorable puppy eyes, I was struck with this overwhelming feeling of dread. What have I done?

This little life now depends on me and will continue to do so for the next 12 to 14 years. Goodbye spontaneous trips away, see you later sleep ins and independent living. I now have another soul to think of. And this overwhelming realisation hit me like a pile of bricks.

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Every time I looked at him, I felt panicked. Trapped. Should I really have committed to this? I can barely look after myself, can I really look after an animal?

I began to then think about how this may impact my relationship with my partner. After all, we got this puppy together, so that only creates additional pressure. What if we were to break up? Who would look after the dog? What if we have different approaches to caring for and training the dog? (Which, mind you, we do. I am perhaps a bit too soft!)

And with these continuous feelings of anxiety, I began to question if there was something wrong with me. Why don’t I feel overwhelming love for this puppy? How can I not be obsessed with him? He is absolutely adorable. And I have wanted him for almost a year now. So why do I feel a sense of regret?

So naturally, as I lay in bed pondering the huge commitment I had just made. As I questioned whether I was just some stone cold psychopath that couldn’t fall in love with those adorable liquid brown puppy eyes, I turned to Doctor Google.

Round dogs are officially a thing, and they need to be seen to be believed.

Video by MMC

And to my surprise (and delight) Post Puppy Blues is a legit thing. There’s even a website called Puppy Depression that listed everything I was feeling. Thank. Dog. I am not alone. I am not heartless. And the relief set in.

According to site, Puppy Depression (sometimes called the “Puppy Blues”) is a common and entirely normal (Yes! Normal!) response that occurs when adopting or purchasing a dog—especially if it is a younger dog or a puppy. Those affected by the condition are overwhelmed by the prospect of caring for their dog and the loss of previously-held freedom.

Triggers for puppy depression vary from owner to owner, but typically include some combination of:

  • Grief for loss of freedom – tick 
  • Feeling overwhelmed with new responsibilities – tick 
  • Sleep deprivation (especially from house training and/or crate training) – tick
  • Anxiety over welfare of new puppy  – tick
  • Fear or anger over damage to home and furnishings – tick

 

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When mum gets home from work ❤️

A post shared by Walter The Basset Hound (@nothingbutahounddog) on

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Now, I know some of you might think I sound like a spoil brat. An ungrateful puppy owner. But it got me thinking, if these things are concerns for a dog, how will I fare as a real mum to an actual proper human being? Will I be able to handle the commitment of forever? Will I be able to protect, support and nurture a human if I am scared of my impact on a puppy?

I’ve always wanted kids. I’ve always wanted to be a mum. But becoming a ‘dog mum’ made me realise, I am not ready to be a human mum. And to be honest, that’s not a bad outcome. Being 30 (recently turned, thank you for the well wishes) I had started to feel the clock tick. But since becoming a parent to my cute little fur baby, I realised I’m not in a great rush to have a real baby.

And to be honest, the post-puppy blues haze has started to lift and I can see that light. Walter is just about the cutest thing I’ve ever seen and I can now say I love him. So if you’re thinking you want kids, maybe get a puppy first. Or to the men out there, if your partner wants kids, perhaps buy them a little ball of fur to stall them for a little longer. I think it will buy you some time…

Have you experienced the ‘Puppy Blues’? Tell us in the comments section below.

You can follow Walter’s adventures at @nothingbutahounddog.

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