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  • Writer's pictureKristen Rocco

How My Dog Changed My Marriage

At 3:30 this morning, my almost 11-month-old French Bulldog puppy, Pudge, woke us up with loud licking noises which then progressed into dry heaves. This came after him vomiting before bedtime. To say we were alarmed is an understatement. We rushed to get dressed after we exchanged a few anxious, “What do we do? What do we do’s?”

What do you do when you don't know what to do for your aliment. Naturally, you go to the doctor. And that's how we landed at the pet emergency hospital at 4 a.m.

Luckily Pudge is fine and it seems as if we, the new parents, freaked out unnecessarily. The vet said that dogs get nauseous after throwing up and that was likely what was going on. We sighed with relief and happily, urgh, begrudgingly signed the $126 bill. Forty minutes after we left, we were home again. But only an hour later, I was hitting the alarm. I had to get to the airport for my 9 a.m. flight and I needed to allow enough buffer time to ensure I wouldn’t miss it.

I’m exhausted. Greg’s exhausted. The reality of what other people had told us is now setting in. Caring for a dog is good practice for having children.

Good thing we love him!

Pudge, our french bulldog

(Meet Pudge)

Pudge came into our lives two months ago and ever since we’ve been figuring this pet parent thing out. We had thought about getting a dog for YEARS like 5 or 6 years. So when we finally did it, we felt ready. Like really ready. But nothing could have prepared us.

The new morning routine has us getting up 30 minutes earlier than before and “did he poop?” has become one of my most frequently used phrases throughout the day. There there’s meal time and training time and doggy daycare and the list just goes on.

Pudge in his cute jacket

We went from two people who didn’t have to think much more beyond what’s for dinner to now having to think a week in advance about Pudge’s schedule and let me tell you I have learned a thing or two about how an outside force — a pet or a child — can throw a whole new challenge into your marriage.

This experience for me has really reinforced why it’s important to be on the same page and act as a team.

Pudge and Kristen in the car

“Should we let Pudge sleep in bed?” This is a habit that if you start you can’t break. It’s hard to see them in their crate with their droopy eyes staring back at you like, “Don’t leave me in here all alone.” But every night, we put Pudge in his crate. I was anticipating how tempting it would be for Pudge to sleep in my spot in my absence and so I called Greg to make sure we were still aligned. We were. We both agreed that Pudge needs consistency so he knows where he sleeps and where we sleep. Training takes teamwork. I can’t ask Pudge to do one thing and Greg asks him to do the opposite. He will get confused and not know what to do. And more chaos will surely ensue.

Then there’s the schedule coordination aspect. This coming week I have a client dinner so I had to ask Greg if he can be there for Pudge after work. These type of conversations happen all the time. Before we just came and went as we pleased. But now. Now it’s an entirely different thing because we can’t leave Pudge home alone more than he already is. He needs to “go potty” and eat dinner. That means we have to be flexible and help each other out, a lot.

We don’t have everything down to a science yet but we’re getting there and we’re zigging and zagging together as a team.

Now I want to know... Do you have a dog? What have you learned about marriage through your experience?

Dog tips for new pet parents are welcome, too!

xo, Kristen

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