A Puppy is Nothing Like a Baby, Except…

Coronavirus time has granted me my lifelong dream, a puppy. With four of us home at all times, my husband, at last, agreed that we would be around enough to keep a dog happy. And with four of us at home all the time, we desperately needed a puppy to keep us happy. So we got on a six-month waitlist and told everyone we knew that our new family member would soon arrive.

And they all looked at us and said, as if we didn’t raise two AMAZING kids, “You know, a puppy is a lot of work. It’s just like having a baby.” Two months in and fully seasoned, I can tell you that a puppy is NOTHING like a baby.

1. You can lock your puppy in a cage.

I mean CRATE! That wire thing that’s just big enough to fit the dog. You’re supposed to lock your puppy up in that thing for hours at a time, most of the day, in fact, as well as all night long. He’ll just happily sit there and chew on his toys or sleep the whole time! He likes it!

2. A puppy sleeps through the night. 

My younger daughter and I read so many books before our puppy came. We talked to friends. We searched online. We timed the puppy arrival in the summer because everyone knows you have to get up every two hours during the night to potty train your puppy. Well, our wonderful trainer tipped us off that we could put the puppy in the cage at 11:00 p.m., go upstairs, and come down in the morning, and he would be fine. And he was! He cried for two nights, and on the third night, he stopped.

3. You don’t have to wash your puppy every day.

As much as I’d like to wash that dog smell out of him, you’re only supposed to wash your puppy about once a month (something about oils in his coat). And when that once a month does come around, you can pay someone to drive up in a van and do the work, including a blowout, right there for you! 

4. You don’t have to do laundry every day!

No laundry, ever, period. My husband won’t even allow a silly puppy sweater, so zilch.

5. A puppy doesn’t require much in the way of stuff.

A crate, a leash, a few cheap toys, and a big bag of food. That’s it. There are no bottles, no pumps, no diapers, no wipes, no wipe warmer, no bottle dryer, no onesies, no lotions, no swings, no rockers, no mobiles, no socks, no bibs, no strollers, no car seats, no new furniture, no need for a new room.

6. A puppy won’t bite your nipples.

But they’ll bite everything else, your fingers, toes, hair, arms. They’ll bite up their own leashes. They’ll destroy their toys and your shoes. And it hurts!

But here’s where a puppy is exactly like a baby. A puppy will capture your heart and then eat something they are not supposed to, like a chocolate bar, or a deadly-for-dogs raisin, or a sharp shrapnel of bone, or a seashell, and your maternal instincts will kick in. You’ll have to rush your puppy to the vet and calm his nervous little shaking body, all the while feeling guilty that you looked away and allowed your puppy to get hurt.

He’ll sit quietly in your lap for the first time, looking up at you with his puppy dog eyes, saying mommy, tell me it’s going to be ok.

And you will drop everything else and sit there with him until he’s ok, you’ll bring him home and give him ice cream and sit by him at night until he falls asleep, and you’ll check on him at 2 a.m., and you’ll give him a special piece of chicken in the morning because he’s your little guy.

And you’ll do it all again the next week because those darn puppies live so close to the ground and pick things up in the blink of an eye. Dead rat carcasses and mushrooms and cigarette butts and worms. All things my puppy has sampled in just the past 8 weeks. How I wish I could scoop him up in a Bjorn for his walks. So he could be just like a baby.
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Ruth Berkowitz lives in Scarsdale with her husband and two girls (born in 2005 and 2009), a Havanese named Scout (a Corona puppy), and beta fish, Lilly. During the day, Ruth works in marketing at a health insurance start-up. By night, when she's not driving her kids around, she plays tennis and mah jongg, volunteers for various organizations, and updates the family calendar. She immensely enjoys sitting in front of the TV with chamomile tea, an ice cream sundae, and a chewy cookie in hand.


  1. Brilliant! Love the honesty. Everyone says they are like babies, so glad to know if I get one It won’t be quite the same.

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