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Pat Webdale:

How old is too old to have a puppy? The “books” do not answer that question, but it is one I am asking myself.

The experts do give you answers to what you might consider problems, such as whining at night and biting everything in sight to play or teethe. What they do not address is the human condition – the utter exhaustion that accompanies puppy training.

That might go back to my first question. Maybe 70 is too old to have a puppy. But maybe it is not just me. I went online to My exact feelings were expressed by puppy parents a lot younger than I am.

Bridget is our third golden; we also had one yellow lab. For sure she is our last puppy, because this is a lot of work. If I ever need another dog, it will be one trained by somebody else.

As I write this in March, my husband, Ralph, and I have had Bridget for only 10 days. She is 8 weeks old. We expected the bedtime crying. It did not last too long before it turned to a whimper, a sigh and a snore. My son-in-law suggested that we cover the crate with a blanket at night, and that did the trick.

It’s the potty dance that is keeping me up at night. A far cry from nursing an infant and changing a diaper on the bed is the walk in the snow, wind and sleet every two hours. Of course, I expect that Bridget will be potty trained a lot sooner than any of my six kids were.

I have been sleeping on the couch because of this, so when the yelps begin I head for jacket, scarf, mittens, hat and leash. Clomping all over the yard, I encourage action with the potty words.

Although this is not our first puppy, it is our first puppy in many years. I honestly cannot believe how tired I am. It really is like having a human infant in the house.

It is a life expansion with a new family member, one who has tons more energy than people. When the weather is really bad and I take her into the basement to chase a ball or toy, she sniffs off into the corners to pick up an old Lego or a piece of wire from the plumber. Note to self: sweep the basement.

You are probably wondering if I wrote this to discourage you from ever getting a puppy. That is not the case.

I am telling you that you will be very tired for a while; hopefully it will pass quickly. I am telling you that a puppy biting your pant leg probably means she wants to play. And I am telling you to buy a lot of toys and rawhide.

Ralph and I take turns getting away. I recently got to go shopping; he got to go for his root canal. We took Bridget for a long walk at the college together, where she met another dog to befriend and drew many admiring visitors.

She is funny when she rolls a bit of snow into a bigger snowball with her nose. She is not funny when she amuses herself with the deer and turkey droppings across the yard.

She is sweet when she sleeps on our feet and sweetest of all, like a toddler, when she is asleep. Just know that raising a puppy takes a lot of time, energy and patience. You will be tired and your house will get messy and you will have less free time.

Resolve to take the time to do it right. Your reward will be a loving and loyal companion. You won’t know how you ever lived without your puppy.