Disability and Dog Mum Life.

G’day, friends, and welcome to another week and another blog post.

It has been two weeks to the day since Lexi was brought home. For those who didn’t read last week’s blog, Lexi is my 11-week-old Border Collie puppy!

Raising a puppy is no easy task. My mum often draws similarities to raising babies.

I have often wondered what it would be like to have a family and how I would go looking after babies and children.

Having children of your own (yes, even puppies) is meant to be one of life’s absolute joys! I have always wanted to experience that joy, and a puppy is the perfect way for me to do so.

I have had many laughs so far watching Lexi discover things for the first time: the garden, hose, water, squeaky toys, and car journeys.

Me and my parents (my brother has a two-year-old mini sausage dog) haven’t had to do the puppy thing for 12 and a half years, so trying to find our feet again with potty training, skills training, and sleep of an evening has certainly not been a walk in a park!

But for someone who is physically disabled, it has been a struggle of a different kind. Even though four of us (plus Levi makes 5) live at home, Lexi is technically my dog as she will be my assistance dog under my name, and I am covering all her expenses.

So, with that said, I am a proud dog mum to an 11-week-old puppy. She is an innocent little creature who depends on me to feed, train, and look after her.

Lexi sleeping with her head resting on my leg her tongue is hanging out by half a millimetre

But what happens when I physically can’t look after her?

These past two weeks have certainly been a little bit of a trigger for me, which is something I didn’t expect!

I honestly thought the days when I was upset and frustrated over things I couldn’t do or the things that made me frustrated at my disability were long gone. Turns out it isn’t just yet.

When I went on a cruise a few years back, some were upset because they felt I wasn’t having a good time. After all, I couldn’t participate in all the activities my brother and cousins were doing. But honestly, I wasn’t triggered by not being able to do things, nor did I feel frustrated at my condition. And I genuinely had a blast!

So why is raising a puppy suddenly so triggering?

Raising a puppy means Lexi has to depend on others to meet her needs, which is a lot of physical work.

So far in these two weeks, I have struggled with anger, not feeling good enough, and worrying if Lexi will recognise me as Mum.

It got to the point where jealousy started to creep in whenever my family could pick her up or run in the backyard with her. I was jealous if I thought they got a bigger greeting from her than me.

There have certainly been times when I have had to take a moment to myself because I feel completely and utterly useless as a dog mum.

For example, one day, Lexi decided to get her head stuck in our shutters around our patio, and I was sitting on the floor around the corner, unable to help her.

All I could do was sit there and listen to her screeches, yelps and cries as my brother and mother tried to free her. When she was free, she ran to me covered in pee, still whimpering. My heart was shattered; I couldn’t get to her to free myself. I felt pretty much like a bad mother that my child was hurting, and I couldn’t do a thing about it, and all I could do was comfort her after the fact.

These past two weeks have been a significant learning lesson and an opportunity for me to try and deal with some leftover mental cobwebs.

I am sitting on the floor with Lexi while she is next to me. I am training her to do 'drop' I have a bowl of her food in one hand and in other hand I am pointing to the ground as Lexi drops to get the food.

Over many conversations with my family, I was reiterated that Love is the most important thing I can give Lexi right now. Being able to do all the physical labour doesn’t mean I am showing her that I don’t love her. I am teaching her that love comes in many forms and that even though I can’t carry her and run in the backyard with her, I still love her.

So, how am I showing her that I love her? By spending time with her, playing with her, and training her.

My family and I decided right before I brought her home that there would be things that I only did for Lexi, like feeding her and training and doing all her assistance training when the time came.

I wake up every morning between 4:50 and 5:00 a.m., so when Lexi wakes up at around 5:15, I sit on the patio with her while she has her breakfast. We play, and then she falls asleep on my lap, arm, or near me.

Not only does this give mum, who is still sleeping on the couch as Lexi sleeps in a crate and can’t hold her bladder all night, time to go and catch up on some sleep, but it also allows me and Lexi complete one-on-one time. It’s time to bond and hang out.

At about 8 a.m., I shower and get my breakfast. By this time, Lexi is back asleep, and I can get some work done.

I sit with her at mealtimes, so I am ready immediately for playtime and training.

I usually sit with her in the evening and quiet her down to sleep.

In my way, I make sure I am spending time with her and always have treats on hand. Like her human mumma, food is the way to her heart.

Lexi sitting on my lap on the floor looking at the camera

Yes, there are times when I do feel like I don’t do enough, but I remind myself that my time with her to put in the work will come when she gets old enough to start assistance training.

Even just doing some form of training and playing with her every day is still something.

It is equally important for my family to spend time with and bond with her. After all, she is important to them, too, and I can’t allow myself to get envious even if there are days when Lexi seems more excited to see them.

Adding a new addition will always be a struggle. While change can be joyful, it can often present unexpected challenges you must work through.

And yes, while I continue to work through those things, seeing Lexi be so excited to see me in the morning is all the encouragement I need to know that, in my way, I am doing a good job of being a dog mumma.

Till next week,


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.