Cruella de Shrille’s Pandemic Puppy

pandemic puppy pug

“I’m Just Saying” is a column by Suburbs 101 Contributor, Alexis Gold. A funny and brutally honest take on what life is like for a working mom in New York City/turned unexpected stay at home suburban mom. This month, Alexis gets a pandemic puppy.

I’m not sure what’s going to kill me first – the PTA or my new puppy. Probably the PTA since my husband and in-laws have really stepped it up with the puppy.

I’m pretty sure I am our new puppy’s least favorite person in the house. I should care more than I actually do. I am not a dog person. Everyone was convinced that I would get this dog and become a dog person. It turns out, I know myself pretty well.

She is adorable and sweet. A tiny pug. I named her Gertie, without getting input from anyone else in my family. My daughter always said if we got a dog, she’d want to name her Gronk. And, since even I have a heart and couldn’t name a sweet, little girl Gronk, Gertie seemed like the closest fit. Plus, I’m from LawngGisland so it would be sacrilege to name her after a Patriots-turned retiree-turned traitor player. The breeder was also desperate for us to name her. I’m sure she figured I was getting cold feet and was about to move to one of the 75 people on the waitlist that been sitting with a well-planned name for all of 2020.

I kept Gertie a secret from my children until the day we picked her up. You would think this was to give them the surprise of a lifetime. But, it was really so that if my pent-up anxiety about getting a pet got the better of me, I could pull a last minute audible. I am sure given the breeder’s matchmaking skills, she still would have found a good home. Though, the “still” may not actually apply here.

It turns out, having a new puppy is a lot like having a baby. I knew there would be some sleepless nights. There actually haven’t been. I didn’t know that I would go back to having a composition notebook live on my kitchen island, where we now track feeding, sleeping and bowel movements, again. I can manage that. What’s harder is that everyone in our cute town is excited and dropping off presents and asking to meet her. This should make me feel better, but it doesn’t. Their happiness outweighs my continued nervousness. So, in perpetual mom fashion, this just makes me feel guilty.

My kids are over the moon. This is by far, the most selfless thing I have ever done for them. Is it still selfless if I acknowledge it as selfless? Or does it then become self-serving? Probably the latter, though that would indicate the inklings of a crazy person — inviting a living being into my house, just to witness their joy the moment they see their puppy. But, maybe that is what I do every day, just on a smaller scale. See, I made your lunch… See, I took you to gymnastics…see, I got you the puppy you wanted.

The puppy they begged, cried and pleaded for took about 23 days to fall into the same category as doing their homework or brushing their teeth. Actually, I’m happily exaggerating a bit here. They truly love her, which is pretty amazing to watch. And, they definitely look to her for kisses in the morning before they look to me. They just don’t feel much like picking up her business. Much like they don’t feel like doing their XtraMath.

To be fair, my expectations were pretty well managed. I assumed they would do nothing. And they have miraculously exceeded those. What’s been funny is my son who told me he’d never play Fortnite again if he had a dog (this will turn out to be one pile of BS if anyone tries this on you) is the one that will do nearly anything he has never wanted to do in lieu of taking Gertie “out”. But, the girls have stepped it up. They take Gertie for walks often, and are quite good about bringing “poop” bags with them. You’re welcome, neighbors.

You might ask why I actually got a dog, given my level of happiness surrounding the project. You do it or you don’t. During the pandemic, I really thought it would be good for all of us — a thought unique to only me. But, as the waitlist dragged on, and life became a little more normal, I became anxious as to how we’d handle the dog with our already becoming too busy again schedules. But, never one to quit, I forged ahead. I spoke to breeders and friends, friends that had dogs and friends that didn’t. I Google’d “should I get a dog”, “who should get a dog”, “why shouldn’t I get a dog”…I asked the Magic 8 Ball, my mother-in-law, my mom and dad. It was either very thorough or very junior high.

And, finally, I decided to Nike it. I was pretty sick of listening to myself out loud and in my head. And, mostly, inertia took its course and pick-up day arrived. I will say, the whole meeting Gertie was pretty magical. We grabbed the kids from school, who were really angry when we told them we were going to look at a house in Pennsylvania. They were a lot less surprised by this, since I fit the Zillow SNL profile to a tee, than they were when we pulled up to a farm teeming with pugs. It took a few minutes for them to realize we were actually going to take one home.

We’ve had Gertie about a month. My husband, who I have mentioned in prior essays stole my office, has abandoned it. So, check one for Gertie. He has also taken over my spot at the kitchen island, and taken over most of her daily schedule, so working from home does have its benefits. Check two. My in-laws, who have turned out to be a godsend, took a not potty-trained puppy for nearly two weeks during spring break and they swear they will watch her any time. So, she really is racking up the points (as is the Vickster, aka my mother-in-law). She’s sweet, and will curl up in your lap (Gertie, not the Vickster), and even I, Cruella de Shrille, melt. A tiny bit. Now to tackle the PTA. Talk about sleepless night and tracking shit…

About Alexis Gold

Alexis Gold holds a BS from Cornell University. She spent more than two decades on Wall Street, where she was a top ranked analyst by Institutional Investor. While on the buy side her creative writing was used to analyze companies, primarily in the retail space. Following the recent closing of her last fund, she decided to stay at home with her three small children. Her writing has been featured in Read650 and offers a funny and brutally honest take on what life is like for a working mom in NYC/turned unexpected stay at home suburban mom. 

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