There's a reason that both puppies and babies are cute- they have to be, because each one will try your patience like no other force of nature. So if a person's patience level is truly like a muscle – the more you use it, the bigger it becomes – then adopt a puppy or have a child to find out. And what better time to recognize the similarities, and vast differences, then on National Puppy Day.
As challenging as a puppy can be, let's face it; having a new pup is nothing like the life-altering event known as parenthood. Observe a snow globe at rest. That's your life pre-baby. Now, give the snow globe a solid shake and watch the chaos. That's your life – with no end in sight - after bringing your bundle of joy home from the hospital.
Start with the trip home. Perhaps you let your pup sit on your lap (assuming it was small enough to fit) while your spouse drove the car home from the kennel. Try explaining to the police officer as to why you employed the same strategy with your four-day-old baby as the cuffs are being slapped on. Yes, installing a car seat is a royal pain, and sometimes takes the strength of Thor, but get used to dealing with it. After all, that's your baby's means of travel for the next handful plus of years.
Out on the Town
Speaking of travel, this is another area where your pup is easy peasy compared to your baby. Most dogs require very little for a trip to the vet. Leash them up and you're off. Heading out for a couple of hours with your baby? Well, that can feel like you're packing up the house to move. Diapers, wipes, bibs, extra changes of clothes, teethers, snacks, water, sun screen and a hat in the nice weather, a coat, hat and gloves when it's cold, and a few random noise-makers comprise the standard content of the diaper bag.
Heeding Nature's Call
House-breaking your new puppy is usually a source of frustration as accidents are bound to happen, but puppy pads and a few tips from the vet will help. Eventually your pup will figure out a way to communicate he needs to go out.
Your baby? Not so much. Babies have a few set skills they are pros at. Three of those are peeing, pooping, and spitting up. And you never know where and when it's going to happen. But like death and taxes, you can count on some diaper blowouts being at THE most inconvenient time based on the circumstances of your day.
To summarize: dog humping your leg means "take me out now before I soak your floor." As opposed to your baby, who won't bat an eyelash over spitting up all over herself while you're stuck in traffic on the way home from daycare after a brutal work day. And it's the middle of July. And she's going to scream the rest of the ride.
Good Pup, Good Boy!
Behavior is another obstacle course a puppy and a baby will gladly help you navigate. A puppy might chew your leather shoes or gnaw away at your furniture. Your baby prefers crying fits and, after a couple of years, multiple tantrums daily. The difference is you can crate your puppy to curb bad behavior. Try that with your 6-month old and you'll hear from DSS.
Walk This Way
Leashes are great to control your pup when out on a walk. She gets her daily exercise while exploring all the new smells. Leashing your toddler in the grocery store to keep him from knocking over displays? While it's probably tempting on some days, it's not exactly Parenting 101.
You might not have adequately appreciated a solid night's sleep until your baby starts preventing you from attaining one. Early on, it is feedings and diaper changes all at the joyous time of 2:30 AM. Your dog, on the other paw, is probably a total cuddle bug who loves to curl up with you deep under the covers. Though, that won't prevent her from taking your space when you come back from that diaper change.
Home Alone - Not Just a Movie
Leaving your dog alone all day while you're at work isn't that big of a deal. Assuming he's house-broken, get him a comfy dog bed, fill his water bowl, and then watch for his nose in the window when you get home. Leaving your baby home alone all day while you're at work would no doubt save on daycare costs. It will also certainly land you in front of a judge for something other than jury duty.
In celebration of National Puppy Day, what have been your experiences raising puppies and raising babies? Share them in the comments below!