I worried about naming our puppy Hope (I had heard two-syllable names were harder to confuse with one-syllable commands, like "come!" "sit!" "stay!" or "down!"). Bill had the name picked out before we picked out our puppy, though...and once you hear Nathan say "Hope" you can't deny the charm. I have found, though, that I love yelling "HOPE! HOPE!" out into the air as I call her to come inside. Obviously, it is her name, but it feels like I am putting a nice sentiment out into the world, too. Writing it is fun, too..."Life with Hope."
Truthfully, there is probably not a good time to get a puppy, but there is probably not a bad time, either. It's up to the family to weigh the risks and benefits of adding a new family member, and know there WILL be both risks and benefits. For us, could we have waited until after my surgery? Yes. Do we already have a lot of pets and other things going on? Yes. BUT...Do we have a lot of pets and other things going on? Yes, and those pets and other things going on makes it almost easy to have a puppy, too. We are in a period of relative chaos, and what is one more piece of chaos added to chaos? Just chaos.
We knew that Hope was not going to be the puppy that changed our world, as we've already supplied ourselves with those pets - our first pet, adding a second pet, our first dog, the pet who defined me as a deranged person (the rabbit whose cage was in our dining room - yikes, but it was our first house, a definite fixer-upper), the mistake (guinea pigs for kids...they are great, though, just not as fun once you get up there in numbers. They turned me into a mini-zookeeper). Our family likes our puppy quite a bit, but it would be a little much to say we are all over the moon with her very presence.
Emma summed it up pretty well this morning, when I asked her if we now have too many pets. She looked at me with a strange look, and said, "No, Mom! They are my friends who keep me company and sleep on my bed at night!" She feels the same way about the pets that I do - they keep watch over her, snuggle next to her when she's sleeping, or come to her when she is upset. It will take a while for Hope to be able to provide us with the companionship and care that we get from our elderly pets, but that is why we got her. Hope is an investment in our future...and isn't that true of all hope?
Anyway, we are happy with our puppy. I still have a drain from my surgery but it is not setting me back at all, and it's only Monday (surgery was Friday). Hope has learned to come when she's called, she sits on command, Nathan knows how to put her in a head-lock when she is biting him (the problem with a 11 week old puppy is all the teething). She's crate-trained, Dagny helps by taking her outside to relieve herself (Hope will always follow Dagny outside, and Dagny obliges me by going outside way more than is necessary for her). Since we have a puppy pen and a crate, my elderly pets get plenty of quiet time...and the extra trips to the pet store have supplied them with more new treats and toys than they have had in a long time. Dagny is getting more walks, baths, and all of the old pets are getting more affection (if that is possible) because THEY aren't crazy or biting us. It took only 6 days before all the pets seemed to be happy again and were sleeping with me at night.
Hope, for her part, has a household with plenty of companionship, room to run, and people to train her. She's got a few years before the spotlight will be all on her...when we are going to need her to be the pet we hug and snuggle with when we have to go through the inevitable loss of our more elderly family members. In the meantime, she's just a cute, cute puppy - complete with puppy kisses and wiggles, and all the joy and excitement that new life brings. She's a pretty constant reminder of how we chose, in the middle of a fair amount of chaos, to add HOPE to our lives! (Isn't it a great name?)