lifestyle

Puppy Pressure

Thank you so much to everyone who left meaningful comments, sent emails, or tweeted suggestions and tips about caring for Teddy!
I am kind of just… floating by right now. I’m exhausted from being up every hour or so at night with him and really quite overwhelmed with a lot of other things going on in my life at the moment. I have a “Omg what was I thinking?” moment every now and then… where I feel like the wind has been 100% knocked out of me. And then Teddy will do something funny or snuggle deeper into my arms. And suddenly a) I know why I have him and b) everything else kind of doesn’t matter.
A lot of my fear with handling and raising Teddy rides on making wrong decisions. I don’t want to make a mistake or choose the wrong thing! Everyone keeps reminding me that Teddy is tougher than I think, but I can’t help worry that every little thing is going to hurt him. Every day gets a little easier, but oh my word it’s still hard. 
I don’t want people to be distracted by the cuddliness or the adorableness or the downright too-cute-for-his-own-goodness. Puppies are not easy. To be honest, I don’t think I got Teddy at the right time at all. Of course, now I’m in love with him and the challenges are just going to have to be overcome. Anyway, I’ve been getting emails and comments about wanting a puppy now and I just want to give a fair warning… the cuteness is cute, but it’s super hard. I’m SO GLAD that I can work from home. Keeping an eye on him is so much easier. Every day I leave for a little bit longer so he can get used to being alone. (Definitely harder for me than it is for him!!!) Yes, so… this is my PSA for the day. Make sure you are ready for the cuteness AND the responsibility. I’m pretty sure anyone would fall in love with puppy snuggles, but maybe not ready to do all the hard stuff!
I also feel like everyone talks about the fun stuff and glosses over the challenges.

Phew! Teddy and I are both learning about each other and I’m taking it a day at a time while still trying to maintain a semblance of business as usual.
Did anyone else struggle with adjusting to a new puppy?

xoxo
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52 Comments

Hannah Frances

OH MY- so cute it is unbearable!
There is never a right time to get a puppy so do not fret.
You will be fine, it will be easier than you think.
Its so worth it, especially for that cute face, awhhhh.
xxx

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Charlotte

He is just so adorable though! It is a lot of responsibility, I remember how long it took me to convince my mum to let me have a guinea pig when I was younger, but I can be trusted with a horse now so clearly I did something right!
It's obviously stressful, but make sure you enjoy it 🙂 He'll grow up too soon otherwise!!
Charlotte x
La Vie en Gâteaux

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RACHEL

I totally know what you are saying! My fiancé and I wanted a puppy for so long, but we waited and waited. When we finally got our Yorkie, we realized that we still weren't truly ready! Having a puppy feels like having a baby – up every hour to take him out, cleaning up after him, and the paper towel bill has sky rocketed. Chip is a lot of work and there are days I get so angry at him for peeing on something, but then he looks at me and snuggles on the couch and I just die! Good luck with Teddy and keep updating us with those adorable pictures!!

xx,
Rachel
http://cupcakesandmimosas.blogspot.com

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smalldog

He is downright precious. And you're right, it's hard – HARD – work to care for another being. Lots of people gloss over it, but I like that you're talking about it. When we got our dog as a puppy, one of the family had to let her out to do her business several times a night and it took it's toll, we were all grouchy for a while! I second the above, there is not right time to get a puppy because puppies aren't convenient. Cute, but not convenient. But don't worry too much about making mistakes, his own doggy instincts will do a lot of the work for you as he gets bigger.

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Fairy Princess Jord

A puppy is SO much work. I got my dog at the complete wrong time, and while I don't regret it because I love her so much I would tell any college student to wait. It seems like you're all grown up and away from home but…puppies are expensive and such hard work !

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Paige @ Sticky Note Addict

I got a new puppy at the beginning of the summer, and even though he was surprisingly well behaved, it was still so hard! I couldn't spend an entire day away from my house, I couldn't take spur of the moment trips anywhere, and when I had him with me, I was limited to the places I could go and visit. And even at 8 months old, he's so, so, so exhausting! He's the cutest puppy in the world, but I definitely wasn't ready for all of it!

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carly

Of course I knew that 🙂 I'm writing this (as I mentioned in the post) because I've gotten a slew of emails saying they want puppies too. Just a little PSA post to say make a decision based on the cuteness 🙂

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Alexa

When my family first got our dog, she was flat out hard. And often annoying. Adorable, but I probably didn't think it was worth it. But once you get past the puppy stage, they become SO much easier to deal with. All of the hard stuff goes away and you just are left with the amazing things. Buying our puppy was the best decision my family made 🙂

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Eileen

Puppies are hard work. If you got him from a breeder and you decide you aren't ready for him, then contact the breeder about taking him back. Puppies do need training. Best thing you can do is get a little crate for him Make it nice and cozy and add some toys. Use it when you are gone for the day and at night when you sleep. At night, take away his water bowl at 7. Take the pup out right before bed and first thing when you wake up. You will see that he isn't as hard to train as you think.

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7c137432-37ee-11e3-b395-000bcdcb8a73

The answer to your last question is YES! I got my dog from a shelter eighteen years ago. She was never easy, the first ten years especially. She chewed through more things than I can remember to count- she even chewed half the door off once when we left her locked in the living room. Anyone else would've given her right back, but I don't believe in that. I could never do that to a dog, give it a home, and the take it back. It was challenging, there were days I came back from school and a pot of plant would be turned over, chewed up, and she would pee on top of it. All of this on the carpet. That you can't remove and throw out. Oh boy. We worked through it. She got yelled at a few times, and eventually she got better. She was put down this summer, she got sick and stopped walking as her back legs gave out. As difficult as she was, I miss her everyday. Hang in there, and believe when others say Teddy is tough, you can't break him unless you deliberately try.

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Danielle Keller

He is adorable, but I totally agree they can be such a challenge! My family got one right before I left for college and my parents have their hands FULL! We love her though and once they grow out of that chew-everything, incredibly reckless stage, you will have no doubt about getting one 🙂 I'm assuming since he is a toy poodle you got him from a breeder (I hope it wasn't a pet shop…) but I'd like to encourage everyone to consider adoption– there are way too many pups out there who need us! Ok, that's my PSA for the day…enjoy your little man 🙂

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Jo

Don't worry, Carly! I have a young Jack Russel Terrier (read: super active and adorable). The first couple of the weeks are definitely the roughest. I was up between 3-4 times a night with her for about a week and half. One thing that helped, and its totally a personal preference thing, is I let her sleep in the bed with me. She cried so much during the night when she wasn't in the bed. It also made it a lot easier to know when she needed to go out. Lots of people don't like having pets in the bed so don't feel bad if that is not for you.
Just from the short time I've been reading your blog, it is obvious that you are incredibly responsible and diligent. You can totally take care of a puppy. Find out works for you and stay consistent. I'm loving all the puppy pics on instagram. 🙂

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Queen City Proper

Dear Carly,
I saw your previous post and you got a SLEW of advice. It's overwhelming at times, I know. I got my puppy a month ago (mini Aussie). She was a little older (14 weeks) but I will say, that first week was HARD. My schedule had to entirely change that week, I woke up an hour and a half earlier to play with her, walk her, feed her, before work. Someone comes mid day (myself or my husband or a friend) and I do not want to go anywhere ANYWHERE after work without her.

It's a huge change, however, it's so incredibly amazingly worth it. After you adjust completely (two weeks or so) it suddenly begins to feel natural.

I also do a crazy amount of research and that helps me feel I'm doing my absolute best. Hang in there, Teddy is SO cute. He's actually the first poodle I've found extremely adorable!

Also, and this is a controversial one. I see a few comments about rescueing a dog… I've had people ask me where I got Piper a few times and they make comments when I say a breeder. I have rescue countless pets and most of them died shortly there after. It hurt my feelings for a while when I got weird comments about choosing a breeder but, I think we all have our reasons. Sometimes it works best to choose a purebred dog with a healthy history…

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Alex

That is definitely good advice, puppies are so much work. Eventually Teddy will settle down and sleep through the night but it will take a little bit of time. But you are so right about falling in love, once you have them you can't picture your life without them. I definitely suggest doing your research, contact breeders and read books on your breed. A lot of times different breeders have the inside scoop on what dog food works best and grooming tips. Good luck!
-Alex
http://www.monstermisa.blogspot.com/

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Katie Miller

I think that this is a great post for anyone looking to get a dog needs to read. Especially from someone who has as much influence as you. If you make it look like having a puppy is all fun and games people could get a puppy without realizing the challenges that come along with it. Best of luck to you and Teddy, I know once you get used to each other things will go much more smoothly.

Katie
http://casually-obsessed.blogspot.com

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Oh, Julia Ann

My boyfriend was in the USMC for the first few years of us dating, and he desperately wanted a dog (but obviously couldn't have one.) Once he finished his duty and we moved in together, we ended up with not one but two American bulldogs– and I was completely unprepared. To be honest, all I knew was that Chance in Homeward Bound was the same breed, so by theory, these boys should get along alright with cats and sound just like Michael J. Fox. 😉

But the point of the story is this: after significant time spent training, and budgeting in their expenses, everything fell into place. These days, I can't imagine life without them!

As apartment dwellers, a focus on crate training and not barking really worked out for the best. Now that they're grown, they still go into their crate because they like it, but they aren't restricted to it while we're not home like they were when they were pups. We buy squeak-less toys and turned into total 'dog park people.' They may be warm and cute as puppies, but they're the best as dogs. (Besides, puppy breath is simply the worst!) Good luck during training! It will be so worth it.

Best,
Julia Ann | ohjuliaann.com

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loveashley.net

Having a pup can be really tough. You need to have the time to dedicate towards training because this stage of the dog's life is very delicate and essential towards shaping the dog's behavior as an adult.

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Signe

I JUST got a puppy as well!! I've never had a dog before, so it's challenging and I'm learning a lot but the cuteness makes it worth it haha 🙂

aclassystateofgrace.blogspot.com

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Zelle Brown

I have a 3 pound maltipoo (Sophie) and let me tell you, when I first got her, I was a junior in college and definitely had those "what was I thinking?!" moments! I had to take her out so often and she always wanted to play or be held. She still loves both of those, but I've realized that she can do things on her own. She goes with me to work everyday — and is the best decision I've made. Love sweet Teddy!

xo, Zelle
A Southern Style

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Ashlynne Sisk

I've had my puppy for about two months now, and there are still difficult days. The best advice I can give is to be diligent with the whole potty training thing, and crate training as well. Make it seem like his home, even so he'll go take naps in there. 1 month of age = 1 hour of holding it (so my dog is 5 months, he can hold it for a max of 5 hours), but I recommend every hour if he's out of his crate for about two weeks. Once he gets sleeping through the night comfortably, he won't wake up as often. My dog will now wake up around 7 to go out and immediately wants to go back to sleep in his crate.

Also, some may not agree with me, but you need to make sure he knows that you're his mom and his boss. I know my dog tried to avoid going to the bathroom in the house because he knows I will yell at him. I'm not saying scream at the little guy, but be stern, and make sure not to give him ANY attention if he does something bad.

Good luck! It will get easier I promise. My puppy is currently asleep on my lap in my bed with me while I do homework 🙂

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Struse

I got a puppy at the beginning of the summer and I can completely relate to your puppy struggles! Everyone says puppies are a lot of work, but you don't fully realize it until you are in the thick of two or three potty breaks per night. Even though it doesn't seem like it sometimes, it WILL get easier. And it is so cool to watch them grow and learn. Best of luck and enjoy how small and cute Teddy is because they really do grow up so quickly!

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Heather

I have a 10.5 month old Great Dane now. She is the second dog I've had as an adult. I also had two dogs as a kid, and all came to us as puppies. Still the puppy transition with this one was rough. It gets easier, though.

I highly recommend signing up for a puppy class. It's really a class to teach you how to teach your dog. It really helped my confidence when I got my first dog.

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Jaclyn

It will get easier. The puppy stage is super cute but for sure difficult. Don't worry too much about getting it wrong its pretty hard to do.

Good luck with everything!

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Katy Z

Things will get easier! It's usually easier just after 2 weeks. A schedule will get formed and soon taking out your dog will just become a part of your day like eating and brushing your teeth. When we got our puppy I definitely had tons of "what was I thinking" moments but it's worked out.

I am glad you have made a warning post! We got our dog when we really shouldn't have and we definitely freaked for awhile. However, we aren't the kind of people to turn in an animal to a shelter so we faced our responsibility and got a place with a good yard (he's a big dog) and everything has worked out. But they really do take a lot of work and a lot of love. But luckily, they are SO easy to love. I couldn't imagine my life without my dog, he's amazing!

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hazelnutlatte

Oh man, I feel you. I adopted a 5-year-old, abused Yorkie two years ago, who had NOT BEEN POTTY TRAINED YET (idiot owners before me). 6 months later, I was finally sleeping through the night and not cleaning up puddles before I went to work every morning. But Carly, it will be one of the best decisions you have ever made when he finally settles in! Keep pushing through the struggle of the accidents and barking and misbehaving, because Teddy will come around and that cuteness will continue to make it worth it. Good luck!

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Preppy Pink Crocodile

Oh it's absolutely a hard job. A puppy is a lot like a new baby. A lot of work! God makes them cute for a reason…no one would ever stick it out otherwise!

For a realistic view, I'd tell you that the first two years are the most challenging. They really are puppies for the first few years actually. And when one phase ends, a new one begins. My advice to make your world easier is to take the pup out to potty at every possible opportunity. Use your words and make sure that puppy starts to associate the word potty or whatever you choose to call it. Something I will do with my next dog is what a friend did. She hung a bell on the front door at nose level (for the dog- not her own nose). She trained her dog to ring the bell when she has to go potty. That's probably my best advice to make your life easier down the road. That way when your dog cries, you will eventually know if he needs to go potty or if it's something unrelated.

That said, it's not particularly awesome to have to walk the dog three times a day mid winter or mid rainy season or mid I feel like crap and have a cold but have to walk the dog anyway. But the love is never-ending. So it's totally worth it.

And this is more for folks with older dogs but I wish learned it a decade ago. My dog has forever had tummy issues. I've spent tens of thousands at the vet on her tummy issues alone. (dogs are wicked expensive…don't let anyone tell you differently) (I totally advise getting dog insurance. I didn't and regret it so much and will absolutely buy it next time.) Last year my vet told me to give my Sadie half of a Pepsid AC daily. Let me tell you Bob…if I had done this the ten years prior I could have a down payment on a house. Literally! So now I think of it as my weird mission to tell people that story and encourage a very inexpensive solution to a fairly common problem.

Please feel free to email with any questions. I've seen it all. And am very happy to give advice or just listen.

KK @ http://www.preppypinkcrocodile.com

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Gill

Yes! I've absolutely struggled with new puppies. But it gets better, fast, and you've got those puppy snuggles in the meantime.
The biggest thing to remember with dogs is they like leaders (since they're technically pack animals in the wild), and they like consistency in discipline. That being said, research (actual scientific research- I can send you the article if you'd like!) shows that positive reinforcement works WAY better than any type of punishment. Even if your puppy is chewing on your shoes, it's better to redirect him to a new activity (like giving him a toy to chew on) rather than to yell at him. Continually reinforce good behavior when you see it through play, praise, and treats, and he'll learn what you want him to do pretty quickly. Best of luck!

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Portuguese Prepster

He is adorable! dogs are a ton of responsibility but I'm sure you are doing a great job. I remember with my family's pup, the first two years were the hardest in terms of training and keeping an eye on her. However, it all paid off and now she is super well-behaved and we never have to worry about her. It's so fun to see their personalities develop with age too.

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Lauren

He is beyond adorable! Puppies are such an amazing gift. They are rewarding and can wear on your last nerve. We got our golden retriever at the same time 4 years ago. I took off the first week we had her and tried my best to train her. Consistency and lots of positive praise. Bully sticks stink but they really helped with the teething. We kept her confined or crated for 6 months and then she never did a thing, not even eat a shoe. I am sure you will do great with Teddy!

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Nicole Coppins

Wow, Teddy is so cute!! I think one of the hardest things about having a puppy is training it, and I can imagine it is only harder living in a city apartment. I would definitely buy/ order a bottle of Nature's Miracle spray, it cleans up doggie accidents on carpet, wood floors, fabric etc. with no problem and the stains are completely gone most of the time! Also, watch where you walk with tennis balls lying around the house… I'd be lying if I said I never tripped on my dog's toys/ balls! Best of luck with Teddy!

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Kim Topolewski

I've had dogs & cats my entire life, so taking care of a new pet isn't much of a challenge for me. That being said, I've never had a puppy exactly – the dogs we've adopted were from a shelter and were around 2 and potty trained already. But still totally full of energy. The feeling that you'll do something wrong will go away fast and you'll fall into a groove. I wish I could adopt a dog, but 1) I'm already at the pet limit on my apartment (2 kitties!) and 2) I travel way too frequently to be able to take care of one. With cats it's SO much easier. You can leave toys, clean litter, water and food out for a couple days and they'll be fine.
Post as many Teddy pictures as you want, I can't get tired of looking at that face. 🙂

<3
carelessly graceful

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Mana Smith

I got lucky with my puppy, he's pad trained so as long as he has access to a clean pad he doesn't make a mess, and he's always slept through the night, so long as he was sleeping with me. He didn't take to crate training, and cried for 6 weeks every time he was in the crate, including all night a few nights before we stopped that. But he's still a lot of work and a pretty big expense.
I adore Howl, and think he's the greatest thing since buttered bread, but even with him having been an easy puppy, he's still a lot of work.

Mana

Fashion and Happy Things

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Makaela Luallen

We are celebrating my pups 1 year birthday today! Puppies are the best thing that will ever happen to your life. Don't worry too much and just enjoy it 🙂

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Sydney Young

My roommate and I were crazy enough to each get a puppy ( a puggle and a maltipoo) at the same time while I was starting my first year of law school and she was finishing her last year of nursing school. Its demanding and hard, and we ask each other what we were thinking all the time, but its the best. Spend as much time as you can with him now, and he will be the most loyal and loving dog you've ever seen later. And no matter how mad he makes you (you know when he chews up the antique room screen your parents gave you for your first apartment), he will get the sweetest look on his face and you remember why you got him in the first place, horrible timing and all.

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cb

I'm sure you have heard this before, but the crate will be your best friend. and his. Good luck – it definitely gets easier.

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RaeLynn

Be careful which human foods you give him! You might be tempted to drop a little scrap of food down to that cute little face every now and then, but that could be detrimental! One food that not a lot of people know are extremely poisonous to dogs is grapes! I work in a vet clinic and I've seen two dogs come in with kidney failure because they got into some grapes. They're super toxic, so just be careful! Here's a link to a list of foods to make sure Teddy stays away from: http://www.caninejournal.com/foods-not-to-feed-dog

He's so cute, and based on the way you write about him, he has a great mommy!

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Lindsay

Whoa, you took the words right out of my mouth! I just got a puppy and realized that I totally forgot how much work it is. It's a good thing he's cute because some times I just want to cry (until he looks up at me with those big brown eyes)…I'm glad that I'm on the edge of being able to leave him for a few hours and not worry about coming home to a crate disaster. Trust me, it will get better…but you may still have some late nights and moments where you think "am I totally crazy for getting a puppy" or "will this stage ever be over?" Good luck!

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Amy

We are STILL struggling with our new puppy and we got her back in late August! We can do this!!! Wishing you best of luck! Thankfully, they're cute!

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Morgan Butts

I was the same way with Lyla! I was so scared that I was going to do the wrong thing, that I was going to give her too much food (or not enough food), that she was going to crawl under the fence when we let her out, that she was going to fall off the bed and break her back in the middle of the night, and all kinds of other horrible things. But I will say, it DOES get better. You both learn so much about each other, and will have to make adjustments accordingly.

My biggest piece of advice I can give you is to not be afraid to discipline! Don't reward behaviors or let bad behaviors slide because of how "cute" it was. We did that with my Lyla in terms of her barking when someone walked into the house, but now anytime ANYONE walks through the door she barks (even if it's us!!) and we never got onto her for barking so that is more on us than it is on her.

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Julia D.

Most good things never have a "right" time, but there are wrong times and that is always when the decision comes without research, preparation, and a reluctance to entertain alternate views or options. Thanks for the honesty. I'm sure a lot of people needed to hear that. I'd personally love to read about the story of how you got Teddy and what kind of work went into making sure you were ready for him. Definitely important things to know about for anyone considering getting a puppy because, as someone has already pointed out, many dogs are abandoned by those who are unprepared for them and that is not only sad, but also unfair to the animal.

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Jane

I can completely relate. I LOVE my dogs and wouldn't trade them for anything in the world but I got them right after getting married, moving across an ocean and while my husband was deploying. Talk about hectic and it definitely wasn't easy. It was worth it though, as I'm sure you feel the same. <3

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Rob LaPorta

Can you send me a private message where you purchased the pup from. I also have a soft coated wheaten terrier, however I purchased mine from a breeder in Ireland, where the breed originates. He is now 12 years old, and we are thinking about getting another; would prefer to obtain from a quality breed in US. Your looks almost identical as a pup as ours. Thank you. Rob LaPorta (robrlaporta@gmail.com)

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