Puppy SOS – I’m not the only one

There’s this great new TV show from the US on some channel or other, appropriately entitled Puppy SOS. If you have a puppy, you are bound to have had a puppy emergency/times of general desperation, and Brad and his magical touch with these mentalist pups is a revelation to the novice puppy wrangler. 

I only wish Brad had been there when I needed him most. Not just for tips on how to face the day with only one half of all your shoes and clothes covered in puppy tooth-sized holes, but to show me that I wasn’t the only one finding it hard at times. I only discovered him a couple of weeks ago, when the whirlwind that is Baxter had begun to show tentative signs of losing his devil-may-care attitude to everything, including my health and sanity. Light has been twinkling at the end of the puppy tunnel, and Brad has come along to help me go towards that light. 

Puppy SOS has it all for the desperate puppy owner. Got a Chihuahua that thinks it’s God and hates your teenagers, who were the ones that wanted it in the first place?  Brad will put her firmly in her place. Got a chocolate lab that views your toddlers as its own puppy playthings? Brad will save them from a life of being nipped at and having their wellies stolen. He’s now always to be found on my small screen, prancing around with a slack-leashed puppy which only moments before had been eating its owner’s breakfast off the table, now inexplicably trotting next to him like a well-drilled cadet. He’s a miracle worker, and all he seems to do is teach the wretched owners how to make the animal behave on and off the lead outside the house, job done. 

One of the best things about it is that Baxter loves the show too. In fact, he loves any telly programme that features dogs, specifically Golden Retrievers. He’s embraced the season with two new favourite films, Santa Buddies and Santa Paws. The fact that they’re horribly mawkish and cause me to feel a bit sick because they’re so syrupy doesn’t bother him, but that’s fine by me. If only Scrooged featured a Goldie we’d all be glued to the TV 24/7, stuffing our faces with mince pies and making the most of the peace as the dog sits quietly, snout glued to the screen (literally, he thinks the dogs live in there). 

The luckless owners on Puppy SOS are all at the end of their own tethers, and each show always opens with tearful scenes of the mum (it’s always the mum) wailing about how she’ll have to send the thing back if it doesn’t stop ruining her life. There’s also invariably a scene involving teenagers slacking off and slamming doors when they’re asked to get their fingers out and feed or walk the beast, mum silently losing it yet again as she’s left standing alone in the kitchen, puppy gnawing at her slippers. The dads are often only intermittently visible, opting to do something important off-camera and away from the miserable and messy household instead. 

You see, that’s what they don’t tell you about puppies – they’re horrid. They look cute – I even find myself cooing at cute specimens of young doghood but, unlike those who have never owned a dog/owned one as a child that was looked after by their parents/had a beloved dog for years that can never be replaced and is remembered with rose-tinted fondness, I quickly pull myself back into the present, the experience of being the owner of a set of over-zealous tiny jaws and jumping paws still too raw to forget. Things are a hundred times better now, we have a wonderful bond and he’s (sort of) starting to behave himself, but I really felt I was the only one who found having a puppy hard to handle. I’m not, it’s normal. If more people knew that the vile puppy phase passed, and that their feelings of being overwhelmed by the reality and the responsibility are normal and ok, perhaps more would be willing to stick it out, and fewer puppies would end up unwanted. 

For now, I’m working on using Brad’s top tips to reintegrate Baxter and me into society. I’m still permanently covered in mud, poo bags and treats spilling out of every pocket and bag, but even the beatific Brad can’t fix that.






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