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Getting My Own Dog for the First Time

todayOctober 9, 2021 12 3

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By Paige Greene
Web Content Manager

First thing’s first, I’ve had dogs before, but they were not solely mine. This time, they are my responsibility.

We have had two dogs in my family, Nico, a 13-year-old Maltese, and Maverick, a four-year-old Great Dane and Catahoula. They were drastically different puppies and still are. My sister also has Ranger, a five-year-old mix. To say the least, I’m used to dogs.

Ever since I moved out of the Texas State dorms after freshman year, I knew I wanted a dog. It was finding the right time, right dog, and the right amount of money to purchase one.

Unfortunately, I am allergic to cats and dogs, so I have always had a struggle cuddling with furry pets. Since Nico is a Maltese, he rarely sheds and is hypoallergenic, so I am not allergic to him. Maverick has such short hair that he rarely bothers me either. So, I had to find a dog that would suit my allergies.

This means I, unfortunately, don’t have the luxury of just going and adopting on spot, so I started researching.

Hypoallergenic breeds often don’t shed. These breeds include Poodles, Maltese’s, Shih Tzus, Schnauzers, Havanese’s, and many more. Due to this trait, many people have also started buying “doodles,” which are breeds mixed with a Poodle, often carrying the hypoallergenic coat of fur.

I finally decided on a Poodle. Although Poodles have a history of being show dogs and having very weird haircuts, they are one of the smartest breeds and known to be the easiest to train.  

One day, my family and I decided we would contact a breeder and finally buy my little boy, Zeppelin. I picked Zeppelin up on June 11. He weighed a whopping three pounds and could be held with one hand.

A small black and white poodle sitting on a colorful carpet
Baby Zeppelin posing for the camera.

One of the following days we took zeppelin to his first doctor’s appointment where we found out he had Coccidia. Coccidia is little parasites that are often spread through feces and are very popular in San Marcos. The parasites caused Zeppelin to keep me up the whole night for two weeks straight. Following the Coccidia, he got Tapeworm then Coccidia, again. Most puppies often catch many things when they are little, as they have not had their shots yet or built up any immunity.

These parasites were hard. I was enjoying the new puppy life, but also lacking sleep. There were many tears and a few days where I handed him off to my parents so I could get a full night’s rest. After a few trips to the veterinarian’s office, Zeppelin was happy and healthy.

A black and white poodle sitting up straight.
Zeppelin free of parasites.

Then, I had to get used to caring for an animal by myself. While he learned to sit quickly and learned to shake my hand in a day, potty training was a struggle. I started taking Zeppelin out every 45 minutes to one hour when I was home to ensure that he did not poop or pee on my roommate’s rug.

After about a month of going potty every hour, I was able to potty train Zeppelin. Although we still have accidents, he has learned to sit by the front door to warn me about his needs.

Next was socialization. Poodles are very friendly dogs if they are socialized early. If not, they can become very timid and afraid of other dogs. Since we have three someone friendly dogs in my family, we would often make visits to make sure he could socialize with dogs of all sizes.

By this point, Zeppelin was about 20 pounds. While easily bigger than Nico, he was still significantly smaller than Ranger and Maverick, whom he tried to play with anyways. As he got bigger to his now weight of 30 pounds, he loves running and playing with other dogs. He often comes across very excited and eager to meet new friends.

His last milestone was his first haircut. After getting all of the necessary shots, Zeppelin was able to get his first trim.

Since Poodles do not shed, they need to be cut every four to six weeks (very expensive). Since he had gone about five months without being cut, he was long overdue.

When I went to pick him up from the groomers, I did not recognize my boy. He received a typical Poodle cut, since I was unsure of how I wanted him to be groomed, and now rocks an afro.

@paigegreene07

Zeppelin the Poodle🐩

♬ Whole Lotta Love – Live – Letz Zep

Taking care of an animal can be difficult. I luckily had my family and friends to help me take care of Zeppelin and get us to where we are now.

Featured Image by Paige Greene

Written by: ktsw899

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