Eureka, I’ve got it! I have discovered the key to mending our nation’s current economic woes. One word: Puppies.
Hear me out. Puppies contribute more to the gross domestic product than pretty much anything or anyone. If everyone across the land owned at least one puppy, the spending they would generate for food, furniture replacement, training classes and owner therapy bills would help lift our legs on our country’s debt.
Think about it: From the time you decide, “Yes! Let’s get a puppy!,” the taximeter starts rolling. First, you will need to buy all the supplies. Then you’ll need to “puppy-proof” your home. This means gating off carpeted areas, removing all plants from puppy’s reach and wrapping all furniture in Kevlar, much as one would if housetraining a chupacabra.
Of course, none of these precautions will actually help. These plucky pudgeballs will still gnaw on your wooden dining room set, corners of kitchen cupboards, flooring, electrical cords and couches. They will do this even though you just spent $72 on chew toys, as well as $11 on the bitter apple spray that is supposed to detract them from chewing. (I suspect bitter apple spray was invented by furniture manufacturers, as puppies lap it up like gravy.)
Speaking of biting, puppies like to bite. A lot. It’s pretty much the only thing they know besides eating, romping, sleeping and peeing on the living room floor. We are told that puppies are simply exploring their worlds, much as babies do when they start putting anything they find in their mouths. Puppies are like delightful furry babies, except they can run like the wind and their teeth are like hundreds of tiny stilettos, which they use to “explore” your hands and ankles.
There are a variety of puppy-training modules out there (some for as little as $65.99!), which are supposed to discourage biting. They will tell you to do everything from gently holding the pup’s mouth shut while firmly saying “No bite,” to yelping like another puppy would and refusing to play.
In my experience, none of these things work. I have resorted to slathering my legs and hands in butter so my pup Winston will only lick my skin. It’s worked so far, although I fear I am actually training him to view me like a delicious, giant basted turkey.
Puppies also need their own “den” to sleep. A kennel can cost anywhere from $30 to $200, depending on the size and whether it has a theater room and Wi-Fi. A cushy kennel pad is also sold separately, for at least $20. (You couldn’t have puppy lying on a folded towel like some kind of sad street urchin!)
Do not forget the $40 for the stuffed heartbeat puppy, which is supposed to replicate the warmth and rhythm of puppy’s littermates. It works really well, until the pup decides to thank his new friend for his cozy companionship by ripping open his chest, removing his heart and chomping on it until it can never beat again.
When working out a budget for pet expenses, it’s advisable to set aside some funds for housetraining supplies. This can range from $20 for a special enzymatic cleaner for dog urine to $2,000 for re-carpeting your entire house. You will also need a variety of confinement options — gates, puppy pens, expandable fencing — or puppy may view your household as his very own indoor lawn.
Fortunately, pet product manufacturers have figured out that the one thing that makes new pet owners desperate for solutions is lack of housetraining. So now they’ve rolled out dozens of products that range from sprays to “repel” your pet from using the carpet to sprays that attract pups to go where he’s supposed to — like a potty pad.
I once made the mistake of mixing up these two products. Later that day, I walked into the kitchen to find Winston had peed on the kitchen carpet sprayed with repellent and was now rolling in his attractant-soaked potty pad while occasionally stopping to lick bitter apple off a nearby cupboard door.
See? Forget bull market. We need a bulldog market.
Readers can reach columnist Tammy Swift at firstname.lastname@example.org.