In September of 2017 Ty began reaching out to breeders in Colorado, asking about litters, down payments and overall transaction expectations. The day we got Frasier started off like any other. I got up, had my coffee, breakfast, brainstorming what to do with the day, then all the sudden Tyler said “I think we are getting a dog today”. I only half believed him. He had not said much to me about this particular breeder except that we might just get a call one day and head out. I figured it would be a more involved process than that and did not think much of it.
I was mistaken.
About a hour later we were running around Lakewood, trying to get ready for a puppy. We needed everything! Leash, collar, food, toys, bowls to eat and drink from. We were going from dog less to dog mom and dad in a matter of hours!
You should have seen the look on Tyler’s face as he held the two month old puppy on the drive home. He was enamored. It was as if I was witnessing a five year old bring home their first ever puppy, and for Ty, this was not too far from the truth. He may have just turned twenty-seven but he was a first time dog dad, and really, a first time dog owner. As a child, Tyler’s family once owned a greyhound for a few months, but gave her back shortly after bringing her home.
Five months later (I cannot believe it has only been five months!) and Frasier has taught us both about parenting and informed us to some of the ways co-parenting affects your relationship. So far… this is what I have learned:
We are a couple that needs to over communicate I might tell Tyler that I have an event coming up, but it is not until I have told him three times, written it on our white board and text him the day before that he gets it. That amount of communication and then some has been required of us since getting Frasier. All of the sudden we are needing to communicate about who he is going to stay with when we go out of town, getting that scheduled, talking to each other about what days he goes with Tyler to work and when he is being left at home. We have even gotten into the habit of discussing his poo so we can monitor his health; if he is constipated, or needs to be taken out an extra time during the day. We have learned to discuss everything so as not to miss anything.
Tyler is biologically ready to be a father You should see the way Tyler carries Fraiser around. Despite being 7 months old and over thirty pounds, Tyler still cradles Frasier as if he were a baby. Not all the time, but more often than it should be happening. He won’t admit it personally, but his constant displays of affection tell me that Tyler’s biological clock is ready for babes. If for some reason we ended up pregnant tomorrow, I would feel comfortable knowing that Ty is going to be a willing, loving, highly nervous yet excited father. You know those people in your life that you think “yeah, you were made to be a mom/dad” because their parental/caring instinct comes naturally? Frasier has brought out all of that in Tyler.
I am not as affectionate as I thought. Tyler is more loving than I anticipated. This one expands upon number 2. While Tyler has these fantastic, innate, very loving characteristics, I am not quite that way. It may be my military upbringing, the fact that I work with kids full time or I might just take after my dad, but I am not nearly as “lovey dovey” as Tyler is. I want to play, but only for so long. Meanwhile, Tyler could play and give attention to Frasier for hours. Me? Not so much. (I am working on it)
We have different parenting strengths. While I may not be as affectionate, I am knowledgeable. Having owned two dogs previous to Frasier, I know how to bathe, walk, clean vomit and diarrhea without flinching. These things for Tyler however have been a learning curve. I am also more calm than Tyler is, so in situations that are foreign or tense I am able to carefully figure it out without panicking or feeling anxious. Working with children for so long I have also developed my own “spidey senses” - I know when Frasier is up to no good. Tyler’s strengths are his infinite energy for play and his resilience to the cold. At 2 am when Frasier needs to go to the bathroom, Tyler gets up, puts on his coat and takes him out. Tyler also has a masculine energy and presence that I will never have. It is evident that Frasier has a respect for the alpha male (Tyler) that I just do not command. At the end of that day, regardless of our personal strengths and weaknesses, Tyler and I seem to balance each other out, which makes me all the more confident for when we have two-legged munchkins.
Frasier has commanded far more attention than we had anticipated. Thank goodness we decided to get a dog before having kids. Owning Frasier and playing mom to him has been a far more involved process than owning a dog has ever been before. We are his caregivers, thus making us responsible for feeding, walking, bathing, playing, caring for when he is sick. We cannot go out for more than a few hours at a time before needing to come home and are responsible for finding him a sitter when we are out of town; making sure whoever is watching him is well informed and has everything that they need. When I am at home watching him, I have to ensure he is in my sight, not eating trash or going to the bathroom. Being dog parents requires your love, care and attention; far more attention than I could have know.
We are both so thankful to have made the choice to own a pup before venturing into child rearing. While we both know that parenting will give us handfuls of new responsibilities (like having to bring your child everywhere - no crates for babies!). I do feel better having some co-parenting skills under our belts. It has been both fun and taxing bringing a puppy into our lives, but you already know we would not have it any other way.