Lady Smarts: How to Plan for a Puppy

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As the temperature drops, the thought of spending all your time indoors with a warm, cuddly puppy might sound like an inspired idea. Sure, that sweet puppy breath will defrost your face when you come in from the cold. And how good will that fuzzy tummy feel sleeping atop your tired, frozen feet? What you don't realize is that most of your time will actually be spent outdoors willing said puppy to go to the bathroom. At times, begging. Eventually crying such that the tears freeze to your numb, desperate face. Your new furry friend and his adorably oversized paws will essentially bring the sidewalk into your apartment and ? let's be honest, you big softie ? your bed. If that doesn't get your immune system going, the blustery 3 a.m. walks will. The good news is, with a bit of preparation and some humbling expectations, you too can be ready for a dog in the city. How to plan for a puppy in the city:
Start preparing your immune system now. Drop a Skittle on the sidewalk. Eat it. Repeat. Now try using a gummy bear. Lick it first. Step on it. Peel it off the sole of your shoe and then eat it. Repeat until you can, without hesitation, eat a piece of gum from the gutter. Oh, come on! You think letting a puppy that sniffs every puddle and pile lick your face is any better? Just wait until you're prying a grimy chicken wing from that locked jaw full of tiny shark-puppy teeth. By the way, in every neighborhood there is someone eating chicken wings by the bucket and tossing the bones to the ground. Beware. Maybe it's the same person; a lot of ground to cover, but they've got a lotta chicken wings to walk off. Begin talking to yourself as you stroll down the sidewalk. Use a giddy, high-pitched voice and smile a lot. Toss your head back in delight. You will inevitably talk to your dog ? first clandestinely when you think the sidewalk is clear, then blatantly carrying on full conversations ? so at least if you start now, it will seem like a significant improvement once the dog comes. Start doing finger lifts, pumps, and presses. You will end up holding the leash by your pinky finger as you juggle bags, a cell phone, and coffee, so it will need to be strong and agile. Start doing squats. You want to be immovable when you bend over to poop-scoop. It only takes one skateboarder grinding by for your excitable and surprisingly strong puppy to send you flying face first into that pile of "shit!" Of course, always remove scarves, hats, and bags before bending over to scoop. If they can, they will find a way to fall directly into that steaming pile. Start distancing yourself from material possessions. Not only is this a good exercise in general, but the chances of your puppy destroying something is directly proportional to your attachment to that item. The sooner you have nothing to lose the better. Try plunging your bare hands into an ice bath, and then practice handling poop bags to pick up things. This will prepare you for those frosty late night walks, and it's not a bad way to clean your kitchen. Now it's time to start preparing financially. Practice burning money, one bill at a time. Don't go crazy here, you'll need most of that once the dog comes, but you should get used to the feeling. Set aside $500 in cash for an emergency fund. You know, in case the dog has an emergency medical bill, or chews up the neighbor's vintage Samsonite. Or cat. Or cat named Samsonite. Now, carefully light that wad of bills on fire and throw it into a pile of your most valuable possessions. You really thought $500 was going to cover emergency medical bills for this little germ sucker? Giardia is about to become such a big part of your life that you'll start seeing it everywhere ? watching Giardia de Laurentiis make her own fettuccine, catching a flight from La Giardia, you get the idea. What's giardia, you say? HA. Oh, just you wait. Now, wash your hands. That shit (pun intended) is contagious, you're out $500, and in case you've forgotten since your last pinkeye scare ? your own healthcare plan suuuucks. Lastly, prepare yourself for crippling amounts of LOVE. The kind that comes in spurts of unbridled, embarrassing "shmoopy doopy doo"s and lets you forgive them for ruining your life, running your life, and defrosting even your cold, cold heart.

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