In Case You Are Thinking About Getting A New Puppy

This article will either talk you into getting a puppy, or talk you out of it. It’s all about what way you need to be pushed right now.

She came home on a gloomy Saturday in August. After a two hour drive to pick her up, Donner, my 10 1/2 year old Golden Retriever, wanted to play. He had no idea what was in store for his happy solo dog life.

In 2017, we had to put down Sierra, Donner’s big sister. He was a terror to her when he first came home so I rested easy knowing this was just karma if the “puppy” would terrorize him.

She didn’t disappoint.

This is the first picture I ever took of the little girl, just 8 weeks old, named Summerella.

August 7, 2021

She was timid, a little scared, but completely adorable. I had made a home for her in the front seat on the floor of the passenger side of the car. She wanted nothing to do with that. She quickly went in the back seat and totally took over “Donner’s Spot”, where he loved to sit with the window down and let the wind blow through his giant floppy ears.

She’s sitting in “Donner’s Spot”

Donner, being the nice guy that he is, let it happen, but damn look at his face. He’s so mad at me!

We brought Summerella home and she gained a little bit of confidence hour by hour looking through all the new toys and getting used to her new place.

“This is such a good idea”, I said to myself.

ANNOUNCER: “This was not the best idea.”

The first 3 days I had a shy, sweet cuddly puppy. Day 4 she was replaced with a demon from hell 5 hours a day.


She had teeth sharp as a razor and used them with force. I looked like Freddy Kruger’s victim by day 7. As I would say “NO” in my own forceful voice, she would literally SNARL at me.

By the time I was fed up with her antics and she was about to go in the kennel, she would pass out sleeping like one of those fainting goats. Just down in milliseconds.

Even better? She was a heavy dreamer and would wag her tail while sleeping, flop her paws around, and in the part that broke my heart – would move her mouth like she was dreaming of feeding off her doggy mamma she’ll never see again.

She had so many similarities to Donner as a puppy. They looked almost identical aside from critical private parts. They did the exact same sweet behaviors when they were 8 weeks old, I couldn’t help but take photos of it! Can you even tell which one is which?

Looks were where these two stopped being identical. I thought I knew it all about Golden Retriever training. For goodness’ sake, I have an AKC registered Good Canine Citizen in Donner! Training was a breeze, aside from the time he dug up the sprinkler system and habitually chewed on the side of the stucco house.

Summerella was a whole different dog. Sit and Paw were easy. Down took a little convincing. Potty training? Forget it. We’re still working on that at 4 months. It took Donner two days.

She’s been to the vet 3 times since we got her, just for shots, and every time someone says “Can I borrow her? The girls in the back want to see her.” Sure. I say. I learned a long time ago, after thinking getting a big dog would get me more attention from guys, that with Goldens you get attention from women and kids. You need a Great Dane to get a guy’s attention.

I admit to have created this problem in advertently, but when she first came home she loved to play tug-of-war with my scrunchies. She’d even pull them from my hair. “Oh how CUUUUTE” I would say. Then one day she threw up and there were 3 scrunchies in the mess. The next day she popped bright pink and blue – two more scrunchies. Even TODAY, as I have now hidden all scrunchies from her and just tie my hair in a knot instead, she popped out my favorite scrunchie. First it was amusing, then it was angering, all the while knowing at any point one of those could get stuck in her throat, belly, or digestive track. So I have to check her mouth every time I hear her chewing on something and a mild panic takes over.

Luckily she has gotten over her mask chewing addiction.

When she’s scared, intimidated, or now just wants to cuddle, she’ll do this adorable thing where she sits on my chest and kinda slides down so she’s laying next to me with her belly exposed so I’ll rub that belly. For example:

She’s got two witching hours. One is 7am – 8am and the other is 7pm – 8pm. No matter how much we’ve played, walked, tugged, or chased, she goes absolutely friggin’ nuts. Zoomies on high-speed. Even one day she banged her poor head and cut her eyelid. Just kept zooming.

We have a giant field next to our apartment where we can go run off leash (until they build the housing development). Both dogs LOVE it there. We chase balls and each other while finding all kinds of flowers for me to pick and them to chew on.

I learned the hard way, don’t to this when there has been any kind of rain recently.

The one things that my dogs DO have in common is a love of water and a hatred of baths. One of the best parts of the past two months has been watching Summer get her first swimming lesson from Donner. She was a little scared but had to show big brother how brave she was.

Even with all the times she drives me nuts avoiding 40 new of the top puppy toys to chew on a piece of cardboard or a receipt, the more pure moments make me laugh at a time I need all the laughs I can get.

I made the mistake with Donner of always wondering what he was going to look like when he grew up. I didn’t enjoy every stage of his growth in the puppy form nearly as much as I should have. I am not making that same mistake again. I’m going to pick her up while I can, snuggle her puppy ego whenever possible, and make sure that Donner doesn’t feel left out of the game.

Summerella is now on her way to be trained to be a Good Canine Citizen. She’s doing well in her puppy classes. We are struggling with loose leash walking big time. She’s getting better at “Come”. I have to tell everyone she greets (and she greets EVVVERRRYYYONNNEE) to not let her jump and to turn around on her when she does.

I have sad moments, where I accidentally call her Sierra. I miss that damn dog so much. She was such a special part of my life. She’s been gone since 2017 and I still can’t stop thinking of her every day. I know she’s watching Summerella chew on Donner’s ear and cheering her on from the Rainbow Bridge.

The dogs we let into our lives bring us so many challenges and joys. We are so much more patient and kind with them than we are with the people around us. The next time someone is annoying you, ask yourself “How would I treat a puppy if they were annoying me?” I guarantee you’d handle it with more grace.

It’s the truest statement ever that we just don’t deserve dogs.

For now, I gotta go. The witching hour is coming up and Donner and I need to protect ourselves.

Tell me about your dog! I’d love to see pictures too. How did you handle training? What’s a funny puppy story? All dog comments are welcome here.

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