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Beacon Senior News

Am I too old for a puppy?

Apr 26, 2021 03:40PM ● By Sally Breslin
Black and brown puppy lying on floor, looking up with classic "puppy dog eyes"

I’ve heard many friends say, “Once my current dog (or cat) passes away, that’s it. No more pets for me. I’m getting too old.”

This has made me think about what I’ll do once my two dogs pass away. Will I be too old to take care of a new dog? But if I choose never to get another dog, will I be able to stand the loneliness? The silence? The lack of fur on my pants?

To be honest, I’ve thought about getting a puppy. The last puppy I had was over 20 years ago. After that, I adopted full-grown dogs. 

Back in 2000, my husband and I became the proud parents of a Rottweiler pup I named Sabre. (I admit it was a vanity thing—“SA” for Sally and “BRE” for Breslin). The day we picked her up from her foster home, she was eight weeks old and already weighed 18 pounds. She had paws the size of small hams, which made me a little uneasy. 

“If she ever grows into those paws we’ll be raising a horse, not a dog,” I told my husband.

Though it had been years since we’d had a puppy, having raised them before, I distinctly remembered what to expect the first couple nights: total sleeplessness. 

We had a warm, cozy bathroom, so I put Sabre in there with a little fleece bed in one corner and a baby gate across the doorway. My husband and I had just settled into bed and turned off the light when she began to cry. This, however, was unlike any crying I had ever heard before. No, this puppy sounded just like the screaming woman in the shower scene from “Psycho” (and at about the same volume as a fire engine siren).

My husband sat upright in bed. “The neighbors are going to think I’m murdering you!” he said.

I climbed out of bed and wrapped a small plastic alarm clock in a towel. 

“I’ll put this in bed with her. The ticking will relax her,” I assured him.

There was blissful silence for the next 30 minutes. Then the screaming began again. With my eyes still half-closed, I got up and walked barefoot into the bathroom…right into a puddle on the floor. What was left of the alarm clock was sitting in the middle of the puddle.  

The next morning, I began my tried-and-true method of housebreaking. This method had worked like magic with my other dogs, who were completely housebroken in only two days. Whenever I made a big deal over Sabre doing her duty outdoors, however, she looked at me as if she thought I needed a lobotomy.  

I swear the puppy was a pee factory. As she filled one end drinking from her water bowl, she’d simultaneously be emptying the other. It took me three months and about $500 worth of pet-stain remover before she was completely housebroken.

Clearly, I remember what it was like to raise a puppy, so I’m wondering if I’d be able to handle it now that I’m much older.

Maybe I’d be better off getting a hamster.