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First time dog Mom

Danie Hahn

08/02/2022

I have been on the edge of getting a dog for the last two years. I have said getting a dog is like getting a tattoo. I talk about it for years and then on a random Tuesday I decide “today is the day.” Seeing my soon-to-be puppy on Facebook, with her big puppy eyes, adorable floppy ears, and giant paws she would eventually grow into, I knew this was the one. I grabbed a friend for support and arranged a time to meet this little pup. It was pouring rain, and we met her in a barn the next day. She was the sweetest, softest little girl. Those puppy eyes looked at me and I melted and knew this would work. On the car ride home, she vomited twice on my friend's lap. I tossed around so many names and finally settled on Ember. Our first stop before home was the pet supply store. I soon became overwhelmed by all the choices for puppy food and all the things she would need.

The cute, little, sweet, puppy became more confident as she discovered her bark and what life is like with me, a single, ALMOST 30, dog mom. Ember is a German Sheppard Black Lab, my dog trainer said to imagine her like a 2 year old. Those big puppy eyes are still there, but her sharp puppy teeth and puppy claws are less appealing to attempt to cuddle with. Plus... the zoomies are endless!

She has a giant backyard filled with her favorite toys; woodchips, charcoaled wood from the fire pit, and rocks. She loves “helping” me water the garden where she gets jealous of the hose when it is spraying the plants. I know every (dog) mom says their’s is the smartest, but mine really is. It is a challenge to keep one step ahead of Ember. The first couple of days were filled with tears, little sleep, and pure exhaustion as I tried to figure out how to shift my life around Ember. And redefine what balance means to me. Honestly, the amount of joy Ember brings into my life helps me focus on trivial things like chasing a butterfly. Potty training was quite funny, looking back at the countless times I just took a bite of my hot dinner to watch Ember squatting in the corner to pee. I would bolt up, sprint to her, pick her up mid-pee, and sprint outside to the yard (attempting to be calm) with a “go potty.” Or the number of times I would be in the yard in my Pj’s at 2 am saying “Ember go potty” and cheering when she would go potty outside.

The early days were in the month of June when the giant, nasty June bugs were out. She LOVED them. She would pounce at them like a fox and bat them with her paw. I was usually in the garden fifteen feet away when I would hear the crunch of the June bug signally the victory of another backyard battle for Ember.

These early first few months have been about exposing Ember to the type of lifestyle she will have as a dog. Crate training, hiking, kayaking, camping, meeting new people, being a “successful and confident” dog in her environment etc. It is a lot of work now in the front end with training, but the habits I build now early in her life and the work I put in now will be worth it overall.

Here at Metropolis Resort, my focus is staff development. In other words, training our staff, building systems, and equipping our staff with the proper tools they need to do their job well. Some of the tools I have learned from work have helped me train Ember at home. More of my dog training has seeped into my work. The only difference is our staff is nowhere near as excited as Ember is when she gets a slimy hot dog for doing something I want to build into a habit.