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The Battle of the Bladder

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As the age-old saying goes, war is hell.

And when that war is being waged against a young dog’s natural potty inclinations, it can also be smelly.

Can I interest anyone is some gently used carpeting?

Yeah, I thought not.

I’m completing Week 2 with my new puppy, a 10-month-old female pug named Kaddi.

My thanks go to all the people at Pugs Dominion for raising a playful, healthy and happy dog and allowing me to become her adoptive parent.

Having grown up around dogs, I knew some of what to expect.

They like to chew on just about everything, for one.

A dog my family owned when I was growing up came close to getting herself thrown out of the house for her chewing habit.

Pocket calculators had just started becoming popular, and my father fell in love with his brand new Texas Instrument.

And then the dog got ahold of it, and she more than satisfied her curiosity about what a calculator looks like on the inside.

Then she decided to sample the new wallpaper in the kitchen, which my parents had just finished redecorating.

She would lie in front of the wall, grab a bit of the wallpaper at the bottom and then pull it off in strips.

That wasn’t exactly the look my mother was hoping to achieve.

So I puppy-proofed the areas that Kaddi would have access to as best I could.

And so far, I haven’t found her munching on anything inappropriate.

But to the extent that I attempted to be prepared for owning a dog for the first time, there are many things that have taken me by surprise.

Training a dog to relive herself outside rather than in the house is one of those things.

Admittedly, I wasn’t well-prepared for this phase.

She had previously been trained to go outside, but that was in a much different housing environment.

And now she was basically starting all over.

Wishful thinking led me to conclude that she would merely need a few refresher lessons before her training kicked in.

Most of the first week, however, was a stark reminder about how wrong I was about this.

Owning a dog also has left me feeling like a human ATM.

On more than one occasion, I’ve considered having my paycheck sent to Petco and Walmart via Direct Deposit rather than my bank account.

I mean, why bother with a middleman?

Another aspect of owning a puppy that surprised me is the time needed to keep her happily occupied. There have been moments that I couldn’t wait to get to work just to have some peace and quiet!

I actually knew that a good deal of time and patience would be needed to housebreak a dog as well as tend to her every need.

But it’s one thing to comprehend this as an abstract notion and quite another to experience it.

You can learn about yourself by owning a dog.

How accepting are you of the others’ mistakes?

What’s your level of dedication to an adorable creature you’ve invited into your life?

When do you decide that enough is enough and isolate yourself to grab some “me time,” regardless of how much someone else wants your attention?

This has obviously been a growing period for both Kaddi and me.

But we’ve made a lot of progress, which shows that the time, love and patience invested in this arrangement has been well spent.

So I’ve at least created a beachhead in the Battle of the Bladder!

I’d like to think that my “charm offensive” has played a key role in the wonderful relationship we share.

But looking at Kaddi’s sweet face, there is no doubt that it’s the other way around.

Jerry Moore is the editorial page editor for the Watertown Daily Times. Readers may call him at 315-661-2369 or send emails to jmoore@wdt.net.

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