What I have learned from Hugo

Sunday, 7 June 2009


I have now had a puppy for 10 days.  I got Hugo when he was just 8 weeks old, still very much a baby – even in dog time.  I didn’t know anything about caring for or training a puppy, but it’s amazing how fast you catch on.  My colleagues and friends have shared their wealth of puppy experience, and Boris gave me the Perfect Puppy book.  So I have learned to look after my puppy, but – more to the point – I have learned a lot about myself.

  • I do not enjoy having something (or someone) 100% dependent on me.  As much as I adore Hugo, I can’t help resenting him.  I don’t mind getting out of bed at 5am to take him outside – the sun is already up and I love mornings.  I like going for walks and I like him sleeping at my feet whilst I work.  Hugo has even come to pubs with me.  What I resent is my loss of freedom in general because I always have to consider Hugo’s needs and, most of all, that I have only managed to go to the gym once in the last 10 days.  That is not okay.
  • I will never again wonder whether my decision to not have children was the right one.  My experience with Hugo has shown me that I am not maternal.  I don’t have the requisite patience and I am a bit too self-centred, amongst many other less than attractive qualities, I am sure.  I like children and I like puppies – but that doesn’t mean that I have to have one of my own.
  • Hugo has melted my icy heart.  I seem to have regained touch with my emotions over the past 10 days, and I have been willing to show weakness and need, and to ask for help.  And a puppy is not what I need.  Back to the search for a real boyfriend…
  • Watching a puppy learn and grow is wonderful, and the speed at which Hugo is doing both is astonishing.

However, when all is said and done, I want my life back.  I want to get up at 6am and go straight to the gym.  I want to be free to go wherever and whenever I want to go and not need to wait for someone to look after my puppy.  I am sure it would be deeply rewarding to raise Hugo to become a companionable adult dog, but it’s just not for me.

I had had Hugo exactly one week when I realised I would have to consider giving him up.  I took action the next day – posting on expats.cz and starting to tell people.  I am hoping to find people that will give him the love and attention that he deserves within the next day or two.

I am glad to have had my brief puppy-raising experience and I feel my life is a little richer for Hugo having been in it.  But I really am done.