A few months ago, my family was blessed with a fluffy little Shih Tzu. Charlie immediately became a member of the family, and in the short time we've had him, he's taught me a lot more than I expected. Although being a dog owner guarantees you a loyal, cuddly companion, there are definitely trying times... times when you may even consider giving your pup away; you never do but you consider it.

That being said, here are just a few lessons my puppy has taught me:

Patience & Sacrifice

Training a dog is hard enough without the rebellion, but when you have a revengeful puppy like mine, it gets a whole lot tougher. Charlie's first month at home was pretty breezy, he adapted to his environment quickly, learning to do his business outside. He didn't even need to be on a leash because he'd run straight to the door.

Now, the outdoors are for exploring and eating leaves. To get him back inside I have to bark so he thinks another dog is coming after him... it's such a mission. But I love my dog, so I've learned to deal with his new tendencies. I patiently stand outside, watching him eat grass and do literally everything but go to the bathroom. I clean up his messes with a smile on my face, and when he doesn't let me do anything but give him attention... I sacrifice my duties to give him attention.

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Responsibility

Before Charlie, I just had myself to worry about, but now I have a whole other fluffy creature to take care of. Your dog may only be a small part of your world, but to them, you're their world. Being a responsible pet owner means feeding them before you feed yourself, making sure they've received ample play time, and finding someone you trust to watch your puppy when you're out of town. Eventually, you and your puppy will develop a daily routine and they'll adapt to your schedule.

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Love

Although having a puppy is a lot of work, I wouldn't trade my Charlie for the world. Since he's been part of our family, my puppy has taught me unconditional love. Puppies are like babies, so they require all of your time and energy, yet they steal your heart none the less.

To anyone considering buying a furry baby of their own, I say go for it. As long as you're patient, responsible, and attentive, the love will follow.

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