Raising babies is a tricky endeavor. No matter what species of baby you are raising, babies have the ability to humble and charm their caretakers in the most unexpected ways. I have personally been charmed by babies of many different species: sea lion pups, flamingo chicks, dolphin calves, kittens, kangaroo joeys, human babies, and of course, puppies.

At this moment in time, I have yet to raise a human child. I have, however, successfully raised a puppy! That furry little piranha-monster brought me to my knees—I can’t even tell you how many times I burst into tears of frustration. To say that my animal trainer ego was bruised would be an understatement.

Dinner time - come get itBringing home a puppy and raising it by yourself, with a partner, with a friend, or with your family, can be an incredible experience that will encourage vast and varied growth. My best advice that I can give to those who already have a puppy or to those who are looking to add one to their household is to prepare to make this new baby a major priority and surrender to its needs. Will you be able to do everything you did before this new baby came into your lives? Nope, not in the exact same way you won’t—and that’s good! To have another living being completely rely upon you for it’s survival is an important life experience.

Devoting time and energy to getting to know your new puppy is key: learning what they need, figuring out their personalities and fun little quirks, understanding the adult you want to help them grow into, and adequately preparing them for the world. Building a healthy relationship with your new family member in that first year is important to ensuring that you have a healthy relationship with this animal for the rest of your lives together.

Welcoming a new puppy into your family can be life-changing in the best way—as long as you are ready to accept it. Surrender to change and growth and you won’t believe the things you’ll learn.

By Mary Tully, www.tullystraining.com

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