As the airplane began its final descent into Denver, I set to the task of stowing various items in my carry-on bag. The woman next to me probably noticed the logo of a well-known dog food brand on the bag because she asked, “Oh, do you have a dog?”
I’m the kind of person who will do just about anything to avoid talking to others on a plane. Unless you want to talk about dogs, that is. In that case, I’m all, “OMG! Will you be my new BFF?”
“I do! Two of them,” I responded. “What about you?”
“Yes,” she answered with a smile. “We’ve only had her a few weeks. She’s a puppy.”
Wait a sec. Was it my imagination or did her eye just twitch?
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“A puppy! I bet that’s fun.”
“Oh, yes, lots of fun. And oh my gosh, is she ever cute! She’s just, you know, a puppy.”
Okay, there was definitely a twitch that time.
The woman went on to tell me about how they had lived in New York City for years and never had a dog. But when they moved to Colorado, their kids begged for one and they finally gave in. They decided on a puppy (twitch) because they wanted it to grow up around their kids.
But puppies are, you know, puppies. Hello, behavior issues. And since they had never had a dog before, they weren’t quite prepared for the unique challenges their new little bundle of joy presented. The woman even briefly considered sending the puppy to prison. Okay, not prison exactly, but a well-respected prison dog training program in the state. But the waiting list was three months long and her children loudly protested being separated from their furry sister. So instead, they found a positive reinforcement trainer nearby.
“It’s really helping,” she said as the plane touched down. “And I love that little dog to death. But, well, between you and me, I’ll never get a puppy (twitch) again.”
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As I said good-bye to my new BFF (whose name I didn’t catch), I started thinking about puppies and all the reasons I never, ever want one. Have never wanted one, as a matter of fact. Oh, I don’t have a problem with someone who adopts a puppy (as long as they’re from a rescue or a reputable breeder — no puppy mills, please). And I can certainly understand the allure. I’m as susceptible to puppy breath as the next person. But no puppy will ever have the opportunity to breathe on me and here’s why:
1. They have no brains
Okay, I suppose technically they do have brains but there’s nothing in there. It’s not their fault. I mean, they’re brand new and have no clue how to actually use their brain so they act entirely on impulse. Which, in my opinion, makes them uncomfortably close to zombies. Cute, fluffy, adorable zombies, but zombies nonetheless. What? Want proof? How about …
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2. They want to eat you
Have you ever noticed how puppies are constantly biting you? And really, that’s just not fun to me. Especially since they have sharp little razor teeth that will bring the burliest man to his knees if they catch him on the nose. Some people are all, “Oh, they’re so CUTE when they do that! They’re just trying to play. And … PUPPY!” I just don’t get it because that’s obviously how they lure you in so they can DEVOUR YOU. And if that’s not enough …
3. They want to eat everything in the entire world
Since a puppy has rarely been able to consume an entire adult human, they have to settle for smaller prey. Like your shoes. And your socks. And your purse. And your table. And the antique doily your grandmother made (which, okay, maybe you didn’t like anyway but it was made by your Memaw, for crying out loud). They’re little piranhas. Little zombie piranhas. And of course, the problem with eating everything in the world is that …
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4. They poop and pee ALL the time
I really have no idea whether zombies poop and pee but puppies sure do. A lot. And they do it wherever and whenever the mood strikes them. Now, I get that they have teensy little bladders. Plus, the lack of a brain is a definite handicap when it comes to being able to hold it until the next trip outside. But wow! The amount of waste a puppy can produce at any given time is just impressive. How can such a tiny little body ever produce so much poop and pee? Blurgh.
Yes, yes, I know. Puppies do eventually grow out of the zombie stage. But that leads me to my biggest problem with adopting a puppy …
5. You have no idea what you’re going to end up with
Yes, there are behavioral tests you can do to get an idea for a puppy’s basic temperament. And even without those, you can pretty easily pick out the bold one or the fearful one in the litter. But beyond that, who knows? You could do everything right and still end up with a dog who has an irrational fear of windmills or birds or men with funny hats. You could also do everything wrong and have the most solid, well-socialized dog in the world. It’s kind of a crapshoot, really. But with a dog who’s already an adult, you know exactly what you’re getting. Even if the dog has issues, I’d rather know right from the start than be surprised down the road.
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Again, I totally understand why some people want a puppy, and I sure don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. But for me, a fully grown, brain-engaged, non-zombie dog is worth more than his weight in puppy breath.
Your turn: Do you prefer adopting puppies or adult dogs? Tell us in the comments!
Photo: Labrador retriever-mother and her puppy by Shutterstock