Thursday, June 17, 2021

Puppy Preparations

As many of you know, Eliot and I have been planning to get two puppies for a long time now.  We've put it off for years, waiting until we were ready for the responsibility... and waiting until our house was ready for the puppies and the mischief they will bring.  This past year, I realized how badly I wanted, and needed, to get them.  So recently, we've been making it our mission to get the house ready to open our doors to welcome them.

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In addition to getting the house ready, I've started to look into getting all of the supplies that we'll need to care for two puppies.  Up until recently, Eliot and I have only bought puppy stuff here and there... and what we have bought has mostly been fun stuff like Disney collars and bandanas or San Jose Sharks collars and leashes.  We've bought a few more things now, like the Snoopy dog beds we found at TJMaxx at the end of May.

The past few weeks, I've kicked my puppy preparations into a higher gear.  Towards the end of May, I did a search for all of the shelters in Maine from Bangor down to the Portland area.  I was already following most of them on Facebook, but I did start following two or three more.  A few days later, Eliot sent me links to a few puppies he found on Pet Finder.  Two were located in Manchester, NH and the other two were in MA.  I looked up those shelters and started to follow them on Facebook too.

On June 1st, I was taking a break and innocently scrolling through Facebook when I saw that the Hancock County SPCA had just gotten two black lab puppies that were 10 weeks old.  They were brothers and they were so adorable.  They were trying to get them a home together, but they could separate them if necessary.  It really took every ounce of fortitude I had not to drop everything and apply for them.  They were at the shelter in my hometown... just minutes from my parents' house.  The same shelter that Elissa and I volunteered at years ago.  The one I always look at and think of all the animals that need homes whenever I drive by.  But I know that we're not ready for them.  We're still trying to finish organizing the house and it wouldn't be fair to them.

But my resolve is starting to crumble, and I can feel the crack in my armor growing.

We'll get them soon Mel... not much longer.

Instead, I've forged ahead with cleaning the house and taking some time to look at the prices of puppy supplies online.  I've found a few lists from pet supply stores, blogs, and websites about puppies.  (It's been a while since either Eliot or I had a dog, so I figured a list of puppy necessities was a good place for us to start.)  I've found a few promising items and marked the websites of supplies to go back and show Eliot.

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Last night, Eliot and I were finally able to go look at supplies in store.  I've wanted to do this for a few weeks, but we've been so busy with orders that we have focused all of our attention on that.  We finally took took a night off to run some errands that we've been putting off.  (It was also a great way to celebrate the first day of our new face mask freedom!)  While up in Portland, we took a few minutes to look at puppy supplies at both PetSmart and Walmart to get an idea of pricing.

We browsed through most of the dog aisles at PetSmart.  We checked out the toys, leashes, collars, food bowls, beds, brushes and crates.  Then, we spent a few minutes checking out the playpens and gates.  We ended up buying two small patriotic eagle toys that were on sale.  (We were only going to get one, but they had two and I figured that they might destroy one of them.)  When Eliot was at the register, I went over to look at the puppy training schedule information just to get an idea of what they offered.

Eliot and I also went to Walmart to pick up a few other things.  While there, we took a few minutes to check out the dog stuff.  They had a much smaller selection, but we still wanted to get an idea of our options.  We did find some cute pop up bowls.  They also had a few pop up "crates" that might make sense for traveling or road trips.

We planned to go to Target and were ahead of schedule so we decided to check out the new Burlington store.  We were looking for Disney stuff, but while there we also looked at the dog aisle.  Eliot found a cute Snoopy plush toy that we ended up buying.

After that, Eliot and I went to Target to get the plastic teal kiddie pool that I first saw a few weeks ago.  As soon as I saw it, I immediately thought of the puppies.  (I've been keeping my eyes peeled for puppy stuff.)  Since we aren't sure when we're getting the puppies, and pools are seasonal, I wanted to get one now so we have it.  Our family dog Lucky never really liked swimming that much.  I want the puppies like the water and see it as a fun thing.  I'm planning to play with them in the pool when they're little so they'll grow right up having fun in it.  It's probably not deep enough for them to learn to swim in it, but it will be something fun for them on a hot day!

I wasn't sure if Target would even have the pools, but we decided to check since we had planned to go there anyways.  According to the website, Portland and Biddeford were sold out of them, but Bangor had two left.  My parents were going up to Bangor to get something for their business, so they said they'd check for me last night.  Eliot and I decided to check the Portland store anyways, but went in not expecting to find them- though I was hopeful.  We reached the outdoor section and they had a stack of at least 30!  I called my parents to double check- and they had no luck in Bangor.  Mom and Dad couldn't find one at any of the stores they went to.  I told them we had at least 30 to pick from, and I thanked them for looking.  Eliot and I got two teal kiddie pools... I figure for $10 more, now we have an extra one in case one breaks.  And, we will also have one pool per dog for next year if both pools make it through this summer!

I've kept my eyes open for cute dog merchandise and decor too.  When Eliot and I were wandering through Walmart after we got our first coronavirus shots, we found some cute dog statues that we bought for our front porch.  I've also bought a few different Disney dogs things over the past year or so.  I found a cute Pluto shirt at Target that I bought and I've found a few things online that I've tucked away.

I also caved and bought a few things from Disney along with my rainbow items.  I couldn't leave the puppies out so I bought two collars and the belt bag from Disney's 2021 Rainbow Collection.  I've seen a lot of people use belt bags for dog treats while they're training their dogs.  I decided to get a larger one since I figure that I'll need something to hold my cell phone and keys to keep my hands free if I'm walking two dogs.  Plus, I can use it for treats and extra poop bags.

Eliot and I will probably get more supplies over the next few weeks.  I don't want to go crazy buying stuff, but it does make sense to buy the things we know we'll need.  At the least, we'll probably get crates, water and food bowls, car seat covers and a few puppy toys.  Then, we can pick up collars, leashes, food and treats after we get the puppies.

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Of course, the biggest part of our puppy preparations has been working to get the house cleaned and organized.  You're probably wondering what's taking so long... 

Our house also doubles as Eliot's and my workshop for our businesses, so it's been hard to get everything organized in a way that doesn't distract us from completing orders.  For years, I've used the dining room table as my workshop.  But having paints, paint brushes, glitter and small pieces around isn't safe for puppies.  These past few weeks, I've been gathering all of my supplies and organizing them in containers.  Then, they've been getting moved to my office where they're put away, but still accessible.

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The house won't be completely finished (with art hung and decor out) when we get our puppies, but Eliot and I are trying to finish most of the organizing in the downstairs spaces, upstairs hallway and our master bedroom at the very least.  Then, we know that those spaces are safe and "puppy proofed" before we bring them home.  We're still planning to do some more wall painting eventually, but right now, our main focus is to make the house safe for puppies.  The cosmetic stuff can get finished later.

We won't be letting the puppies into Eliot's office and both guest bedrooms anyways... maybe when they're older but they'll never be allowed in Eliot's office for their own safety.  Eliot's office has the 3D printers in it, and that means small pieces of plastic that are easily everywhere.  No matter how many times he vacuums it, it seems like it just multiplies again.  Plus, the printer plates get hot and the puppies won't understand that.  I don't want any burnt noses or paws, so Eliot's office will always be gated off.

Our plan is to finish cleaning and organizing the house over the next few weeks.  Then, we'll start to analyze everything and "puppy proof" it.  We're also planning to get a few of the doggy gates ahead of time so we can install them and start getting used to them.

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Then, I'm going to be starting to fill out and submit applications at shelters throughout Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.  A lot of them will hold your application for a few months, so you don't have to keep filling it out every time they have animals you'd like to apply for.  I'm also planning on sending the letter I've had written for the past month making sure that each shelter will allow us to adopt two puppies.

Eliot and I are not sure when we'll finally be bringing the puppies home; I guess it all depends on when we find a match at a shelter or rescue.  (But I'm really hoping that we'll find the right match sometime this summer!)  What I do know, is that with all of our preparations, we'll be ready when we finally find our fur babies!!!  °o°

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