We have lost our minds, and his name is Bingley.

We have lost our minds, and his name is Bingley.

You may have seen this little guy over on Instagram. His name is Bingley, and he’s our new pup.

A little over two weeks ago, a family member rescued this adorable abandoned lab/terrier mix that looks exactly like the poky little puppy. She immediately thought of our family, because our nearly twelve-year-old lab had recently died, and we knew we wanted to get a puppy again someday. Someday.

My first reaction was NOOOOOO. It had barely been two weeks since Harriet died—way too soon. We’d been thinking we might start looking in the fall.

But after some soul searching, Will and I tentatively agreed that even though it was too soon to look for a new puppy, it wasn’t too soon to open our hearts to a puppy that found us.

I happened to have a counseling appointment in place the day we were going to meet him for the first time, and we overthrew the session agenda for some heavy talk about grief and puppies and shame. My counselor agreed: it was too soon to seek but it wasn’t too soon to find.

Bingley sleeping

We brought him home two weeks ago. He’s about 9 weeks old, we think. The first few days he spent most of his time sleeping in our laps. And then he seemed to wake up out of the perpetual puppy slumber, and got rowdy.

Bringing this little guy home has been quite a ride, emotionally, and that’s just the first two weeks.

When we started to consider adding a puppy to our family now, I was a whole lot afraid and a tiny bit excited, both emotions I expected. But I was stunned by all the shame triggers involved in getting a dog.

First I was ashamed that we were even considering getting a puppy so soon. Then I was beating myself over some decisions I made in the first few days.

Then, when our vet told us that Bingley was definitely on the rambunctious end of the spectrum, and that he just possibly wouldn’t be a good fit for our family with small children, I was deeply ashamed that I’d possibly made a huge mistake, and opened my kids up to even more grief about another dog.

Bingley on the steps

I was explaining all this to a friend, and told her that maybe I’d just been reading too much Brené Brown lately. My friend hasn’t read any of her books, but she knows about puppies, and she knows about shame: as a special needs parent, she was well-versed in what triggers it, and why, and how to combat it.

She reminded me that we’re making the best decisions we can with the information we have, and that our vet has been pleasantly surprised at how well he’s responding to informal training so far. He can be rowdy, but his behavior is typical for a rescue pup, and he’s already mellowing a bit.

A note about the name: it’s from Pride and Prejudice, and the kids know it, and I still can’t believe they agreed to give our puppy a name from Jane Austen. But it was the only name that everyone liked (and we had quite a long list), and it didn’t hurt that they knew Bingley is the charming guy that everyone loves. (Sarah, age 10: We could never name him Darcy.”)

Thanks for listening to this real-life update. I wanted to give you the lowdown because Bing will probably be sneaking into these posts, and it’s tough to not over-gram his cute little self.

And seriously. Wish us luck. (Got any tips? Hit me.)

P.S. Crazy talk, and it happens when you’re not looking.

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123 comments

  1. Sara K. says:

    He is so adorable! I can understand your feeling that it is too soon to start looking, but to take in an animal that finds YOU just might be what you need. Harriet will never be forgotten, but giving Bingley a chance at a wonderful family is good for your family and for him!

    For years I have said that never again would I adopt an animal younger than a year old (no patience for puppy/kitten stage). A couple of summers ago, I was informed by a friend that a tiny 6-week-old kitten needed a home. It was 10pm, but I knew there was a chance the kitten wouldn’t live to see the morning if I didn’t act. So I took him in on the spot. Though the kitten stage has been difficult (he is named Chewy for a good reason!) I haven’t regretted giving him a much-needed home. He is my daughter’s baby and has provided companionship to my other cat. He is lovey and playful, and I affectionately call him “monster cat” due to his size and amazing appetite.

    I’m glad your puppy has found himself a good home with a family who will love him always!

  2. Tanya says:

    I don’t have any specific advice for you, but I can definitely relate. We have had two very laid back dogs (a lab mix and a shepherd mix). They were a little bit shy and pretty submissive. We got a new puppy (lab/hound mix) this spring, and he is a handful. His personality is so much more “amplified” than our two previous dogs. But I am happy to say that he is starting to settle down at the age of 6 months old. So if you all love little Bingley, just give it some time and he might settle into your family. Good luck!

  3. Julia says:

    No tips, but we can relate! Our (black) Daisy is 5 months old and has all the puppy energetic behaviors…plus biting! It’s hard with our little ones but we are working through it. We’re completely smitten with her.

  4. Jillian says:

    I’ve always thought of Bingley as a gregarious pup. Our hearts and minds are capable of so much dissonant thought, you’re doing a good thing, letting the pup find you and leaning into the unexpected!

    As far as rambunctious pups go, make sure you give him plenty of opportunities to succeed and praise him to high heaven when he does. Also, structure and exercise! Keep the instagrams coming!

  5. Nicole Earle says:

    I was in a similar position a year ago. We had lost our much beloved older girl in August and ended up adopting a puppy at a rescue event. He was also rowdy. There were many, many nights that I went to bed thinking I would be dropping him off at the pound the next morning. Only the devastation it would have on my oldest son kept us from doing it. Now a year later, he’s a great dog. We love him and he is my oldest son’s best friend. The best thing we did was put him through formal obedience training. One, it helped to have an outsider tell us that he was not the monster we were starting to feel he was. Two, it helped us figure out how to work with him giving that he was so different from our previous dog. It was a very long year for us to get to this point but it was well worth the time put in. Please know that even if you had taken longer to get a new puppy, it would still have been a huge adjustment. It’s will be two years in August and I still miss my girl.

    • This is pretty much our story. Lost our dog a year ago March, adopted a puppy in July. I agree with Nicole: a year makes a big difference. Your kids are smart, and they will grow even wiser from the “puppy experience”. Ours is a black lab/shepherd mix that looks a lot like Bingley! Best piece of advice I got: A daily routine that includes regular exercise. A well-exercised dog is a trainable dog. Enjoy the adventure! The love makes it worth it!

  6. Ashley says:

    My family went through the same thing that you’re going through. We lost a dog at an early age due to a freak accident, and then we got two new puppies not long after she had passed away. I still remember bringing the new puppies home and loving on them and the next minute bursting into tears because I missed our other dog and felt guilty about loving another. All I can tell you is that guilt will pass, and just know that every one of your dogs will have it’s own special place in your heart. No dog can replace another.

  7. Kelly says:

    He is soooo cute! I think you will be fine even with small kids. He’s a puppy and he will adapt to your family easier than an adult dog. Just make sure you do lots of training the first year and have all of the family members (that are old enough) go to the classes as well so everyone is on the same page. Our rescue dog was wild and now she is the sweetest thing but we all had to be doing the same things otherwise she would figure out the weak link and take advantage. Good luck!!

  8. Jess says:

    We got a Great Dane puppy with 5 kids, three under the age of 3 at the time. Our vet was more than a little apprehensive. But it was awesome, and our little pup never knew that his life didn’t involve a gaggle of kids climbing all over him and literally sticking their body parts into his mouth. He grew up into a giant 160 pound dog, and what does he do? Let the kids climb all over him and stick their arms and legs in his mouth!

  9. Jamie says:

    Congratulations on your sweet new addition! 🙂

    I empathize with the crazy energy stage – we have two border collies, and they are all about energy! Have you experimented to see if Bingley likes to chase laser pointers? If so, it can be a God-send when you’re exhausted and he’s not. You stand still, he runs around like a lunatic chasing the “Evil Red Dot” until you let him “kill it” and he flops over, worn out and victorious. 🙂

    I don’t know that I can speak to the shame end of things, except to say that I firmly believe that dogs were put on this earth to show us God’s love constantly and tangibly, and that they only ever want us to be happy. People have egos and want to be grieved for; dogs just want their people to be happy and loved on. I am of the opinion that the beloved furry companions we’ve lost sit in heaven and smile down with wagging tails every time we find a new fur baby to guard and love on us until we’re all together again.

    • Anne says:

      Anne Lamott has a great quote along those lines. I had to look it up: “Dogs are the closest we come to knowing the divine love of God on this side of eternity.” Thanks for the reminder.

  10. Awww, he is SO precious!
    I hope he calms down a bit for you. I have total respect for people who get puppies when they already have a bunch of kids…I feel like I have ZERO energy left to devote to a dog. My kids are using all of it up! 😉

  11. Kym says:

    he is adorable!

    I trained and showed dogs in a 4-H youth program when I was 9 until I was 18, and my family also raised puppies for Leader Dogs For The Blind. I have had A LOT of dog experience! But when we got our puppy last fall I panicked because it had been 20+ years since that time (I couldn’t believe the actual number of years when I figured it out…..). On the recommendation of a friend I bought the book “Good Dogs, Great Owners”. I can’t recommend it highly enough! It’s specific and manageable and so so helpful!! Also, consistency is your friend: whatever you decide to do to train for one thing, the WHOLE FAMILY has to do it the same way!
    And relax, you will all be fine, they grow up and mature so much faster than babies!! :).
    Oh! And start brushing now, every day. It will be a circus, but will pay off later….a and play with his feet and ears A LOT, for the same reasons: makes grooming and care easier later. 🙂

    • liz n. says:

      I second this. It’s a very good book!

      Don’t feel bad about getting a puppy so soon. It’s one thing to push yourself or your family into getting another dog before you’re ready and another thing entirely when you all fall in love with the pup! (And who WOULDN’T fall in love with this little guy!?)

  12. Erin in CA says:

    Two summers ago we adopted a lab puppy (my kids were 7 and 9 at the time). There were a few weeks that were pretty grim for me, and I really thought we had made a BIG mistake. Archie didn’t sleep through the night, he demanded attention constantly, he jumped and nipped — it was exhausting. Archie wore a leash in the house for the first six months! BUT, we are two years on, and I don’t regret it a bit. He brings so much to our family (particularly to my oldest, who isn’t the most emotionally intelligent/empathetic kid).

    As for tips, I highly recommend NILF. Nothing in life is free! This is great and easy for the kids to help with. Before every meal, Bingley must sit and wait while the meal is prepared. Have one of your kids hold him on a leash to enforce. Then he must do simple commands before you say the release word (we use “okay,”) and he can eat. Basically, every single thing he has to work for (before he gets the leash on, before he goes outside, to earn treats, or the right to come up on the couch or your lap, etc.). As a terrier/lab mix, he has working genes on both sides. He’ll need a job, or he’ll give himself one. We’ve also had a blast bringing Archie to agility lessons since he was a pup. He’ll never win a competition, but we all have fun!

    Best of luck, and I hope it continues to get better from here on out!

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for this. NILF is spot-on with puppy training, from everything I’ve heard, but it’s never been phrased that way to me. That does help.

  13. Anne says:

    That’s what I want to name a dog! (But I haven’t said yes to a dog yet, lol.) Does he have a little doggie place or bed in the house? You could put up a sign saying Netherfield Hall above it with a dog paw print for the A in hall. Or Netherdog Hall? He is so cute, it’s unreal. I have a family member who is a vet tech and would probably recommend an obedience class. Your friend sounds wise about what we do with the information we have. Thanks for sharing Bingley’s cute little pictures!

  14. Marie says:

    I’m a cat person and don’t really understand the dog-person world, so I have no advice to offer.

    But I just had to say that is one of the cutest animals I’ve ever seen. He really does look like the Poky Little Puppy (also quite mischievous). I hope for all of you that it works out!

  15. Kelty says:

    What a great post! I was expecting the puppy cuteness and backstory when I clicked on the article but I was not expecting the rather deep article about puppy shame triggers. That was very well done and I identify completely. We lost our First Dog over a year ago but someday we plan to wade back into the puppy/dog waters, although it’s hard to imagine right now.

    “It’s too soon to seek but it’s not too soon to find.” Perfect. Congrats on your cute little guy! I hope he melds into your family just wonderfully!

  16. Blaire says:

    I loved this post! I have a cat named Darcy and I have thought if I get a dog I would want to name it Bingley or Bennett.
    I know my mom suffered the same loss when our family dog passed away and it took her a year to start looking for a dog. I always felt she was so lonely and should have looked right away, but I think reading this post gave me good insight into how she was feeling. I think when you find a dog to love the time is right and I am glad your family was found by Bingley.

  17. Sarah says:

    I’ve got two great books to recommend. We got a Basset hound puppy from a breeder 2 years ago, and these were the books my dog handler uncle recommended. They were life-savers (though we probably dealt with very different behaviors with our lazy hound than you are with your rambunctious lab!). The Art of Raising a Puppy by the Monks of New Skete (they breed German Shepherds and also train dogs). Be the Pack Leader by Cesar Millan (any book by Millan will be helpful and also his Dog Whisperer National Geographic TV series is excellent). Hope that’s helpful!

  18. Allison says:

    First of all, how in the world were you going to say “no” to those sweet puppy eyes?
    Secondly, you can’t plan love. It comes upon you. You can’t worry or wonder about timing or whether the kids can handle it etc. Love, thy name is Bingley, happens. Deal with it.
    Third, puppy-hood lasts a LONG TIME. Like, YEARS. But that’s what your kids are for. All will be well.

  19. Trude says:

    What a cutie! It’s definitely worth recognizing that we easily forget how crazy puppies are, after having an adult dog for years. But stick it out for a while and it will most likely be worth it. 🙂 I also highly recommend signing up for a puppy training class as a family, so that everyone knows how discipline and training works and his behavior will constantly be checked, corrected and rewarded.

  20. Amy M says:

    He is BEAUTIFUL. Love that sweet little puppy face! We have been through similar situations with cats. Having lost a beloved family kitty, we weren’t planning to seek out a new cat, but one quite literally found its way to my door. It can be quite an adjustment, but such a sweet one in the end.

  21. Karlyne says:

    Was your Harriet named after the character in Emma? I just finished reading it (again), and she really did have great puppy traits! I think it’s a very good idea to name pets after those who have the qualities you’re looking for in a pet. Happy days ahead for Bingley!

    • Anne says:

      Ha! Not exactly, but maybe it was a subconscious thing. I’m chuckling as I realize that both our family dogs have Jane Austen names. So glad you pointed this out. 🙂

  22. Nuri says:

    Besides mourning your late dog (which is tough, I’m so sorry) the puppy stage is the WORST. My husband and I had dogs all our lives. We planned for our Newfoundland puppy Finbar, and it felt like I had amensia and forgot about the puppy stage until after we brought him home. We thought we were ready, we so were not. The first two weeks we had him I cried every night. But I can tell you, it does get better. The first month wasn’t great, but at 6 months(and 99 pounds later) our house wouldn’t be a home without that big old goofball.

    If I can give any advice its that firstly, while a grown dog may or may not fit in a household. Its way too soon to tell if your pup will not be able to adjust to life with your family. If you work with him from a young age he should be fine. Its all new to him too. His response to early training is a good sign. If he is bouncing off the wall send him in the yard with the kids to play and tire him out until he is leashed trained and can go on walks.

    Secondly,the dog picks up on your energy. If you are stressed, or worried or feel guilty he will pick up on that, but he doesn’t have the ability to understand the reasons why you feel that way. I would get worried walking Finbar because he is so big. I worried he would jump on someone and knock them over. All Fin understood was there is a person walking towards us and it is making my master upset. I was making him behave worse on his walk. So get calm, centered, and confident when with him.

    Thirdly, I don’t think a dog is ever too young to start training. Have rules in the house and make sure everyone is on the same page. Praise good behavour with lots of energy and give treats when he does stuff you like. Some people like to click train with this. Never use negative reinforcment like hitting or rubbing his nose in his mess. He doesn’t understand why you are doing it and tt just makes the dog afraid of you. When his shots are complete sign up for a puppy training class. It will also be great to teach animal handeling skills for your kids.

    Finaly, I would recoment these books.
    1. Dog Sense: How the New Science of Dog Behavior Can Make You A Better Friend to Your Pet by John Bradshaw
    2. The Art of Raising a Puppy by Monks of New Skete
    3. How to Behave So Your Dog Behaves, by Dr. Sophia Yin
    4. The Secret History of Kindness: Learning from How Dogs learn by Melissa Holbrook Pierson
    5. Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell and Know by Alexandra Horowitz

    It will get better 🙂 big hugs

  23. Hannah says:

    This is almost exactly what happened to us. We are on week three with a new (rescue) puppy. He’s a handful and has already had several accidents in the house in spite of my diligent crate training. But, oh my goodness, he’s ours to keep. Just give Bingley time. He’ll mellow out and behave in the end if you don’t give up.

  24. Agility lessons are the greatest! They run out lots of energy and are SO much fun! Obedience classes are also your friend. I foster golden retrievers but avoid puppies because of how hard potty training is…has that been a problem? I’ve been told that those bells you put on the door can be really helpful though I haven’t actually tried one.

    • Anne says:

      Potty training hasn’t been awesome (we’re still not accident free, but it’s only been two weeks) but we’re down to one or two a day. I hope that’s not terrible. And I have a friend who takes her dog to agility classes but I had no idea what was involved. That sounds like FUN!

  25. EmilyR says:

    Oh, what a sweetie! Congratulations on welcoming Bingley into your family. We too adopted a rescue puppy at 8-9 weeks. I thought I’d lost my mind for a few months, but then she became just a bit older and everything smoothed out.

    What worked wonderfully for us: recruiting our older kids (7 and 8 years old) to be her official “trainers.” They attended puppy school with her, took charge of her walks, taught her socially acceptable behavior, and relished all the responsibilities that go with having a pet: feeding her, brushing her, walking, playing, and loving her!

  26. Dana says:

    So cute! We got a rescue 2 years ago. She was not a puppy in age ( she was 4), but she was in temperament. She is an mini Aussie and they are apparently perpetual puppies. She came from a puppy mill and was not house broken or trained at all.
    I recommend a book called The Loved Dog Method. It is a gentle, positive method of training an worked well for our Callie. She was so leash aggressive and hyper at first we could not take her anywhere. She is now the perfect traveling company and behaves like a lady everywhere we go. She walks loose leash and rarely even barks at other dogs now, usually only if they bark first.

    Lots of patience and consistency and love works.

    • Dana says:

      Another thing that worked for us was taking Callie to a Doggy Daycare facility for a few hours to play a couple of times a week. At first she stayed for an hour or so and later half- days. It really aided with her socialization and she came home really tired from playing which helped her sleep at night and get into a routine. Ours is really good. They give “report cards” and feedback about what she likes to play and how she gets along. Basically she goes non-stop while she is there and loves to play in water! : )

  27. Dawn says:

    Hi is adorable!! Looks a bit like my Jaxxy who is 20 months old and weighs 85 lbs. If he is the same breed mix as Jax is (we think Jax is a lab/staffordshire terrier mix), he will be a bit of a handful, but they are soooo sweet that you can’t be mad for long. Enjoy!!!!

  28. Tracy G says:

    We lost our 13 year old Miniature Schnauzer two months ago so I know exactly how your family is feeling over the loss of a pet. We only have to say the dog’s name, and our seven year old becomes a puddle of tears.

    Bingley will be a wonderful addition and will help heal you, even though it may not seem like it after you’ve cleaned up yet another puddle on the floor. 🙂 When we trained our dog we used “Mother Knows Best” by Carol Lea Benjamin. Can’t recommend this book highly enough and we used these skills throughout her entire life.

    Congrats on your adorable new puppy.

  29. Our love is not a limited resource… so loving a new puppy doesn’t decrease the love you have for your dog that recently passed away. She would be happy to see you enjoying your new family member! (Especially because he is so cute!) Good luck with the puppy training. I’m sure that it will go well!

    • Anne says:

      That’s what we’ve been telling the kids: Bingley isn’t taking Harriet’s place; he has his own place in our family. Thanks for the encouragement.

  30. Beth says:

    Such a cutie! Check out the book Control Unleashed: The Puppy Program by Leslie McDevitt. I started using her training methods after adopting a border collie mix and she became much more relaxed within a few months–rambunctious dogs will probably always be a work in progress, but there are a lot of great resources and blogs about training that let you know you’re not alone! Mat work and focus games are great tools and things the whole family–even the kids–can work on with Bingley.

  31. Nancy B. says:

    Rowdy puppies can upset the whole household night and day for sure – think colicky baby with sharp teeth! But outside of aggression (and yours doesn’t look aggressive!), those feisty guys often make the very best dogs. Confident, smart, energetic, friendly. A good trainer at this point can make all the difference in the world. Books are good, but a calm trainer is much better. Maybe a private lesson to start with. You may have to go through a few of them before you find one that really GETS your pup. But when you do, such rewards!! I hope you can make it through the initial sharp teeth, wound-up, peeful (we always used to say, “pee all that you can pee”) early days. Such a cutie – thanks for sharing.

    • Anne says:

      A colicky baby with sharp teeth! How funny and horribly true! I’m also hoping these feisty little guys make the best dogs. We started professional training last night and it went pretty well, I think.

  32. Nancy B. says:

    I’ll bet Harriet knew better than anyone how much you guys need a dog. Might it help to post a photo of her over Bingley’s bed? She can watch over him and maybe send him a nip or two in his dreams to keep him in line. And also remind all of you that Bingley isn’t replacing her, Bingley is there too.

    • Anne says:

      The idea of Harriet watching over Bingley is so sweet. The kids are especially sad that they didn’t get to meet each other. Of course that’s sad, but I think it’s also really sweet.

  33. mary says:

    We lost our first family dog some time ago, and we waited the appropriate time plus some, because we had a baby in the midst, and we researched the best dog for our family and then we got the perfect dog. Well he wasn’t. he chewed, he scratched, he wasn’t very obedient, but we persevered and he’s six and very much a part of our family, George. He’s not perfect, but we love him anyway. My point is really the same as your friend, we do the best we can and hope for the best. Lots of exercise and remind your children not to feed him their food. Best wishes.

  34. Kayris says:

    I’m a vet tech and I’m a little irritated that your vet told you the puppy might not be a good fit. Shelters and rescues are filled with perfectly wonderful animals because of a mismatch between the animal and the owner’s life and/or expectations. Telling a family right off the bat that it might not be a good fit feels like setting you up for failure. What he should have said was something along the lines of “puppies have a lot of energy and that can be a challenge in a household with small children. Here are some resources to help direct that energy.”

    Vets get little to no instruction in school on training, and almost all the CE they attend afterwards is focused on new drugs or new surgical techniques. I would highly recommend hiring a professional dog trainer to help train your pup. It’s worth the money, and the sooner you start, you can head off any potential problems, rather than needing a trainer later to fix problems.

    As for energy, pups just need play time. Once they know the basics (no play biting, no jumping) just have the kids play with him. And visit the local pet store for toys that can keep him occupied by himself for those times when the kids need to do schoolwork, etc. I’m a big fan of the Kong puzzle toys.

    • Bonnie says:

      Thank you for this comment! I’m a dog LOVER but a total amateur, and I had the very same reaction to the vet’s comment: “why on earth would he have said that?” He’s a puppy, he will take his cues from you, most puppies want to please, and he’s going to grow up with your children (oh, the fun!). The terrier in him may make more active than a straight Lab, but that is manageable.

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for that. Of course it makes sense that vets, like doctors/pediatricians, don’t know about training but I know so little about how all that works. Our pup started professional obedience training last night. He’s not hopeless. (Far from it.) 🙂

  35. Terri says:

    Your pup is an adorable one. I heartily agree with everyone who recommended training right away. There are also puppy socialization classes available. You could probably find one by asking at the shelter or a farm and feed store. My Western Farm Center has been a life saver, because there are knowledgeable dog people there who can help you.

    My last little sweet dog took forever to potty train, until I discovered the book on crate training. It was a life-saver. With the dog I have now, I followed the directions of having a leash on the dog when you’re indoors, except for playtime. You get a length of rope, or a leash, that is the length of your leg, plus 10 or more inches long. You’ll probably have to experiment. Everywhere you go the puppy goes. In this way, the pup doesn’t run off and do messes in corners. When the kids or you want to play, just release him so he can have lots of fun! Also release when he’s outside.

    It was a very successful way to potty train as an alternative to crate training, which I loved. The bonus is that my dog follows me everywhere now. I love that fact! Of course there are only two adults in the house so that might not happen. You might want to share leash duty with your children too.

    Best of luck. This will surely be a blessing in your life, in your children’s life and in Bingley’s life!

  36. My now “best dog ever” would’ve won an award for being one of the hardest puppies ever. What a difference time makes.

    I LOVE the pics you post–gives me puppy-fever, except for, you know, that whole puppy thing.

  37. What a cutie!! Of course, we have a Labrador and a Lab/terrier mix, and I’ll freely admit to being drawn to big old hunting dogs, despite the fact that the only hunting I’ve ever done involves a sale rack at Target or Nordstrom Rack… My biggest piece of advice is one that you likely don’t want to hear: get him a buddy. Our big Lab took forever to calm down and was still in the destructive puppy stage as he neared the 3 year mark. Soon after, we adopted Sophie, and they both focused a lot of their energies and interests on playing with each other. I’ll never again have a solo dog; I think that, somewhat paradoxically, a pair makes life easier.

    Then again, puppy fever is high at my house these days, so you should probably take my advice with a grain of salt. I want a pug puppy something fierce, and my beau has basically told me that we’ll have to move to some dreadful suburb with acreage to make three dogs happen.

  38. Nichole says:

    My Mr. Bingley ( a yellow lab) passed away in 2012. He was one month away from 13. I hope yours ends up being as sweet and funny as mine.

    • Anne says:

      I remembered your Bingley when we were thinking of naming ours! I’m so sorry he’s not longer with you, but remembered him as being a much beloved dog. My Bing should be proud to carry on the name.

  39. Liz says:

    Is there ever a right time for anything? The perfect circumstances? The perfect moment? The perfect feelings? I don’t know that this exists. I know its the perfect time for Bingley to find you. A puppy brings so many challenges but such a lot of love, and creates some amazing memories for your family. Enjoy him. Just have a plan to mould him into the dog your family needs.

  40. kristen says:

    BINGLEY!! what an awesome name. seriously, brilliant. I tried to get my husband on board with Darcy for our third cat.. he was basically the same as Sarah lol. no.

  41. Bonnie says:

    I can so relate to the guilt, but I promise you, giving this abandoned puppy a home is the best tribute you could make to Harriet’s life. And she would be so thrilled that you have opened your hearts. I can also relate to the “puppy finding you” part. I always say, “we don’t pick our dogs; they pick us.” (We had a series of strays as pets.)

    PetsMart and Petco have beginning puppy classes that might be a first step. I have potty trained my last two pups by keeping them leashed to me. And def crate train him. It’s not punishment, I promise. I don’t know why I waited until I was middle-aged to discover it. And start him now.

    Congrats to your family!

  42. Barbara says:

    He’s adorable and so fortunate you opened your hearts to him. My 4-legged BFF just turned 3 yo so I remember puppyhood quite well as we aren’t quite out of the woods yet. My suggestions? As soon as he is old enough, enroll in a puppy class (preferably AKC based) and then an obedience class or two. Excellent for raising a well mannered, socialized dog under the supervision of a professional. If possible, bring the whole family to observe and listen so you are all “on the same page” and consistent. Next make sure he gets regular walks and playtime. The only time my pup got into trouble was when he wanted to play and no one would… with four family members everyone gets some quality time with Bing! Last, but not least, do not hesitate to crate-train him. It is not mean but gives him a safe, quiet place to sleep and take occasional breaks (but not all day/all night!) I look forward to hearing and seeing more about Bing in the coming weeks! Good luck-

  43. TXDidi says:

    He will darling and will no doubt, calm down after that first year or so. However, if you do reach a point where you think he isn’t the right match for your family, there should be no shame in finding a good family for him. I got a puppy shortly after our beloved dog of 15 years died of heart failure. Cue instant post-partum depression. We were now a family of empty-nesters and suddenly had a VERY hyperactive puppy that also seemed to have an incredibly active bladder no matter which approach I took. I’ve owned a dog all my life but never had a dog this active or seemingly clueless about potty training. Finally, with me in tears, my friend who had added his sister to her family, took him and we found a wonderful home with a dog trainer. I really beat myself up with guilt but we eventually adopted a mature rescue Pug-mix and it was love at first sight. Five years later, Toto and I are still inseparable. She’s the perfect fit for this couch potato. And my puppy? I talked with his new owner a year later and the little rascal STILL wasn’t reliably potty-trained AND he was as hyper as ever. I’m so glad that I didn’t force myself to “endure” the little guy when the perfect match was out there waiting for me and he’s much happier out in the country with someone with much more patience than I ever had.

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for sharing this story. I’m so glad that all these dogs wound up with the family that was right for them, and so happy that you and Toto found each other.

  44. Noel says:

    Found myself in the same situation a few years ago when my husband brought home a bulldog puppy. With him gone at work and the kids still young, I knew it was up to me to make it work. So…I watched and read everything I could get my hands on from the “Dog Whisperer”. In the end I learned it’s all about body language and like humans, the dogs need times of “no talk, to touch, no eye contact” which causes them to settle down and relax. 7 years and two Bulldogs later, life is good. Good luck! (Love the name “Bingly” 🙂

    • Anne says:

      Thanks for the tips, and I’m so glad to hear about your happy experience. I just requested Be the Pack Leader from the library and I’m glad to hear so many votes for the Dog Whisperer. I know nothing about his methods but I’m about to learn. 🙂

  45. Julie says:

    I just wanted to say that I LOVE that you mentioned you went to a counseling appointment! I’ve been going for about a year, but I wish I’d started going sooner. Maybe if the people around me had been more open about mental health, I would have been encouraged to seek help earlier. Anywho, you are doing more good than you realize by causally mentioning your counseling/counselor (I hope this is coming off as a compliment- that’s my intent!).

    • Anne says:

      Julie, I’m glad to hear you went, and I understand what you mean about wishing you’d gone sooner. It just never occurred to me to go, not for years! That’s exactly why I mentioned it.

  46. Karen Palmer says:

    Just wanted to congratulate you on the new family member! Several years ago, we lost our lab to cancer. She was an amazing dog. I think our friends looked forward to seeing her more than us! We ended up getting a puppy just a couple of months later. Our biggest mistake was thinking the new puppy would be like our last one. Totally different personalities! Our Razzy taught us a lot during our 15 years with her. I’m sure you have many adventures awaiting you. You have received some excellent advice and suggestions from your readers. You will all do well! Hugs!

  47. Tim says:

    Bingley is the perfect JA character name for a dog. Unless the dog is a pain, and then the perfect JA character name would be Thorpe.

  48. Vanessa says:

    Just get a crate. I had never done it before our present dog but it was a lifesaver in both directions. She goes there while we eat dinner all by herself and if she wants some fuzzy blanket time.

    • Anne says:

      We have a crate! We never used one with our last dog and it was an adjustment at first. I’m glad to hear we’re on the right track with that.

  49. Meg says:

    Congrats on the puppy! Our black Lab died 2 weeks ago, so I definetly know where you’re coming from. I’m surprised any vet would make judgement on such a young dog without even knowing its breed for sure! It is way too early to tell if he will or will not be a fit for your family, in my opinion. I work with a Labrador Rescue and have fostered 40-some dogs over the last few years….rescue dogs are special! I feel that somehow they know they were saved and have a grateful heart. You can do one of those doggy DNA tests if you’re really curious to find out his breed mix. Good luck…stop beating yourself up about if it is too soon or not, ok? ? it is what it is and dogs come to us for a reason!!

  50. Marlizette De Kock says:

    What a beautiful pup! I get the feeling that fate intervened here and he definitely landed in your laps (and hearts) for a reason. I am also a big supporter of animal welfare and absolutely love the fact that you rescued him! My advice would be to give him as much physical and mental stimulation as possible to channel all the excess energy, coupled with a consistent routine that would make him feel safe and secure (Cesar Millan a.k.a. The Dog Whisperer is a very good resource to consult). May he bring your family all the joy and love that only a dog can provide xxx

  51. Jacque says:

    We have a Darcy (cat) and a Bennett (dog – I know it’s not spelled properly but I couldn’t stand looking at it spelled with one ‘T’) and we are trying to talk the husband into an orange cat who will be called Bingley! We had a cat named Collins (best cat ever) but he disappeared.

    Your Bingley is absolutely adorable. Hmmmm . . . maybe we could talk him into another dog.

  52. Stacey says:

    He is so cute! And I can totally relate to how you are feeling. We actually searched out a puppy only a few months after we lost our dog. It felt weird but also right. You know when your house needs a dog 🙂 And believe me, we thought we had lost our minds after we brought her home. The puppy craziness was a problem but totally worth it! Good luck and hug that cute boy for me!

  53. Cherie says:

    The dog we brought home last Thurs. looks just like Bingley (well, the white markings are slightly different). She went through the same subdued phase and is morphing into hyper mode. But, compared to our last dog a red heeler/lab mix who died 2 years ago, she’s still fairly calm.
    We’re using crate training to help with housebreaking and thank goodness she is catching on fairly fast.
    Good luck with your new little one. 🙂

  54. Jill says:

    I have an 18 month old border collie/samoyed mix. You want rambunctious? I got it to spare. However, my son saved us by recommending Zak George youtube videos. He has an amazing FREE resource of training videos for every.single.aspect of dog training – and your kids would probably enjoy watching too so that everyone is on the same page. He has tricks and skills and good advice and there are some videos with him working with children and their pets. Each video is 3-7 minutes long, give or take. Enjoy! I still watch them (tomorrow’s chore is to watch his newest one about the dog going crazy when you run the vacuum….)

    Enjoy!

  55. I think life has a good sense of when to bring certain animals into our lives. My husband’s family had just lost their old lab when after a week, a relative brought me a tiny stray kitten…at my bridal shower no less. I was staying with my in-laws at the time and they immediately felt revived with a new sweetheart. She didn’t take the place of Max, but she brought a new happiness to the family.

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