Nancy Roman

Real Life With Puppy

I like to present the positive side of Life.

I believe in the positive side of Life.

I believe in happiness and kindness and sweetness.

My husband calls me a Pollyanna, and I never minded when he calls me that, because seeing Life as sweet and Humanity as decent is a good way to survive.

But I am not unaware of the bad things. I choose not to give them much room in my life. But I know they are there.

A good example is the new puppy, Henry.

I love him already. He is sweet and happy and funny and affectionate.

But oh my God, he is so much WORK!

And not perfect.

Oh, so not perfect.

I think sometimes when I look back on previous posts, it may seem my life is perfect. I think – like so many people on social media platforms – I may give that impression. Because I write of all the wonderful things in my life.

And maybe some people reading my blog or seeing my Facebook page or Tweets think that maybe I have the perfect life. Maybe they are envious.

And here’s another ‘maybe’ –

Maybe I need to set the record straight.

Here’s a glimpse of not-so-perfect.


Henry was four-and-a-half months old and 35 pounds the day we took him home. He was not housebroken.

He is now six months old. Forty pounds. He is not housebroken.

Oh, he is better. He is catching on. But he’s not there.

And I am also not there – if you define ‘there’ as being of sound mind.

Henry drives me crazy.

I start the morning all positive and happy.

By evening I am a quivering teary mess.

I am exhausted.

Henry needs supervision.

I am not a good supervisor.

Before I retired, I had a staff. I was not a good supervisor then either. But I knew it. So I hired the best people I could and stayed out of their way.

I am not a good supervisor because I am a daydreamer.

I read. I paint. I get lost on the internet. Sometimes I just drift away to La-La-Land. (that’s another story.)

And while I am away with my thoughts, Henry is amusing himself. He tears things up. He counter-surfs. he takes his brother’s toys. He is a herding dog, and he gives his best effort to herd the cats, who do not appreciate it.

And often, he pees. He poops. Not always outside.

I am exhausted from supervising him when I do not like to supervise.

My life for the last seven weeks has revolved around pee and poop and the constant question, “Where is he now?”

I walk him.

I walk him several miles a day. My other dog – my beloved Theo – has to come too. Two leashes are extraordinarily difficult to manage when the boy will just not stay on the same side of me. Or on the same side of any tree. But I cannot take them separately without a lot of shrieking (and not all of it is from me).

Oh the jealousy.

The cats are mad. All except Thor, who insanely loves the puppy.

The other cats are furious. Lillian especially wants to know why there was not a vote. With four cats and one dog against the idea, and one of the two humans ambivalent – a vote would have spared me all this frustration and exhaustion.

At least I could say that all the walking has led to a nice slimmer me. Except it has not.

Because of all the chocolate I need right now.

I tell Henry every day that he should start looking for new parents.





  1. Linda

    Oh my. I look forward to things getting better for you and Henry. In the meantime, your post has made me think twice (for the 12th time) about adding a puppy to our own lives at age 67. Thanks for all your insight. I really enjoy your blog.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was 64 and my husband was 70 when we got our first dog. It has been one of the best decisions we ever made. But having 2 dogs at 68 and nearly 74 is really difficult. But good too.


  2. He looks like he will be a big boy! My friend adopted a King Charles spaniel. Small dog. Small bladder. Took a LONG time to housebreak. She had taken her to a series of obedience classes and is working toward getting her certified to be a therapy dog. She has improved greatly but it was a lot of work. Good luck to you. In a year, you should be on easy street. Maybe. He is adorable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I need to just be patient. Henry’s puppy kindergarten teacher says that it is sometimes hard to see a big dog as just a baby, so our patience can be tested.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Kathy Zurcher

    Oh goodness! I am on a list for a Theo dog (Lagotto Romagnolo for others) to be born in June. I have a perfectly behaved nine year old English Cream Golden. I am 71 and my husband is 74. He is much more patient with the puppy we are hosting at the moment But your post is making me question whether this is a good idea. (Angel would vote no.) But then I look at your photos of adorable Theo….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I know things will get better. Get great even. But I wanted to show that there are problems even with joy.


  4. Deb

    How can you not love that face 🙂


  5. I am with you. I am 66 and have had dogs and cats one way or another all of my life. My latest dog was really my son’s, but with a newborn they just couldn’t handle her. Six years and a dozen run aways later, she’s calmed down some. I’m glad I saved her from the shelter, but she’s been a handful every day since that fatal first one. Makes me think double triple about another one. Maybe when I’m retired in December. But I’m like you. A daydreamer. I better think thrice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sometimes even a “handful” is worth it for the joy.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. You forget how much work a puppy is when you haven’t had one for a long time. Puppy kisses and cuddles make you forget a lot of things. But at least now you are an experienced puppy parent. If you think back to when Theo was a puppy there were probably moments then that you wondered if getting a dog was a good idea but that turned out just fine. I’m sure Henry will too, but he does need to learn to go outside.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s exactly right! I tend to remember Theo as much better than he actually was. I had forgotten all the tears I shed and all the regrets I had – because now he is the love of my life. But even as the love of my life – he is FAR from perfect!

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Sounds exhausting…but fun:)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It looks as if your dogs need some doggie training, which in reality, is human training. Henry is a handsome guy. Good luck with your training.

    Liked by 1 person

    • He actually graduated this week from puppy kindergarten, and he did quite well. It is hard to remember that he is still a baby when he is SO BIG.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Puppies are a lot of work .which is why I don’t want to have one again

    Liked by 1 person

    • Starting over with a puppy was not my first choice, honestly. But Henry kind of fell into our laps – and we know it was meant to be! I love him – even though he is a LOT of work.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. From zero to time so dogs in a very short time? Oh my! No wonder your patience is tried. I do so love puppies – especially when they belong to someone else!

    But you’re right. That face!


    • Puppies are hard. Babies are hard. But the payback is enormous.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Dogs are hard work. I grew up with them, but of course my mum did most of the hard bits, always reminding us that their needs come first. In adult life I’ve always had cats, much easier when you work long hours, but my husband always wanted a dog, so we agreed when we had a house and garden big enough… and we got Bambi. Fully house-trained, and mostly well-behaved, 10 months old so still adaptable, but she does take work. She needs time and attention and most of all exercise, and she takes up so much of my TIME, and it turns out hubby doesn’t enjoy playing with a dog every single day like he thought he would, so I think he regrets getting her. But her love and her personality and her humour and intelligence and silliness and the sheer joy she takes in the simplest things have changed everything. I am a dog person now, and there’s no going back. Despite the freezing 4am walks, and the messy house, and the apologising to strangers… it’s all worth it.

    But we all do the same thing! I want to find joy and share it so mostly that’s what I tweet, but yeah, a lot of days are hard and boring and tiring, and it’s good to be reminded that we all have those days.

    Henry is wonderful. But I wouldn’t like to be attempting house-training right now. Good luck and God speed – you’re doing great.


    • Thanks. It is all worth it. But I did want to show that it’s not always easy. I remember a young friend of mine who asked me if she was a bad mother because she doesn’t always want to play dolls with her five-year-old. I said, “OMG, NO! Who would want that ALL the time? That’s why there are naps!”


  12. Alex

    Henry is adorable! What breed is he? The best thing is Theo has a buddy. Enjoy.😊


    • He is a Catalan Herding Dog – a Spanish Sheepdog. Very rare in the US. My husband likes the crazy breeds.


  13. Nancy, did you get in my mind and steal my thoughts? I am a dreamer, slightly ADD and totally get lost in the internet. My husband sometimes has to post a note on the computer that says ” Watch the puppy!” …….and I still forget! Ugh, but oh, when they do something good, the rewards are great! I have 4 dogs, ages 16,13,6, and 1 year and my husband and I are 65! Are we crazy! Yes, crazy in love with these dogs!


    • For sure! I always mean to watch him. But I just sort of get busy, and then ….uh-oh!


  14. Susan Claire

    Perhaps it would be better to re-home Henry while he is still a pup. You obviously don’t really want him, and it’s not fair to him. You classified him with the “bad things” in life-poor dog!


    • I don’t think that’s really fair! We all have bad days when we’re exhausted and see the bad side. I’m sure all parents of young children have days when they reach the end of their stamina and think ‘I wish I hadn’t started this’, but they, and pet owners, work through it and get to the better days. Nancy is just being honest about the hard days. Puppies are NOT all about cuddles and cute photos, and it’s good to share that.


      • sclaire53

        When you get a puppy you know what you’re in for-deal with it. Develop some patience. Try to remember that the puppy isn’t deliberately trying to drive you mad.My Boxer pup is now 8 months old, and he has outgrown most of his brat-pack propensities, and so will Henry. Do try to show him some love until then.


        • cj

          I’ve no doubt that Nancy shows Henry all the love he needs. You’ve missed the whole point of this blog post.


    • Oh, I’m so sad that I gave you that impression. Henry is not one of the bad things in my life. It’s just that the pooping is not one of the good things in my life. I adore this crazy dog. But I think it’s important sometimes to show some honesty that even wonderful things and a wonderful life doesn’t mean a perfect life.


  15. Puppies and babies fall into the same category, IMO. Once they’re (at least partially) grown, you forget how much trouble they were in the beginning and so you go ahead and get/have another one – and it all comes rushing back pretty quickly. But remember – he WILL outgrow his puppy stage, he WILL stop peeing and pooping in inappropriate places, he WILL learn to “heel” and be a good boy; you just have to have the patience to see it through. Good luck – the trials and tribulations will be worth it (if for nothing more than looking at that face every single day!)


    • Exactly right! I remember a friend saying that if you didn’t forget the difficult things, but remembered everything honestly, everyone would only have ONE KID!


  16. I love Henry! Is he a Briard?


    • Henry is a Catalan Herding Dog – A Spanish Sheepdog. Very rare in the US. He’s actually very mellow and loving (most of the time).

      Liked by 1 person

  17. House training can be a bitch. I took Maggie out every half an hour whether she wanted to go or not. Treats and fuss when she did, fuss most times when she didn’t. She squatted her bot indoors in defiance once and a newspaper thumped on the ground beside her as I picked her up mid pee. She performed outside after that.
    It will come Nancy. Look at Theo as a role model! And you are so right….. that face…. awww.


  18. John Richards

    My wife and I rescued a 10 month old St. Bernard at the end of October. Sammy was approximately 80 pounds and was 20 pounds under weight. My wife has had a love hate relationship with him as he grew. He’s now around 140 pounds and she’s just now where he’s no longer a pain in her butt.


  19. John Richards

    I’m trying to post a photo of Sammy but can’t figure it out. He is just so adorable.


  20. Dawn Allison

    Dear Not Quite Old, I love Henry too. Adorbs, as they say. Two points come to mind when reading this particular post. I had a crappy little day a few weeks ago. When I explained all the details to a very dear friend he quietly said it’s all about perspective. These are first world problems. The second point is you would not trade your problems for anyone else’s. You do love your life. Never apologize for that. I enjoy your talent with words and your art with watercolors is a gift. You are such a beautiful woman but no I would not trade my problems for yours either. I would love to be a friend though.


  21. By the way, how is Theo getting on with him? Does he love having a new playmate or is he having a bit of jealous sibling syndrome? If that’s the case I’m sure he’ll get over it.


  22. Such an honest post! Dogs can be the brightest spots in your life, and, sometimes, the most trying–like any worth-while relationship! And I love that you acknowledge the good but also discuss the struggle. That can be so encouraging for others who may feel guilty for the times they aren’t the best dog parent or the times when they wonder why they brought the puppy home in the first place. This is so normal! Thank you for shedding light on that.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. My human daughter took until she was FIVE to be completely potty trained!! It’s A LOT of work and A LOT of laundry, but she has it down now…AT THIRTY!! 💜


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