Ham for a Year

I thought having a dog was the hardest thing ever. And then I got a second dog and realized that there’s always room for a bigger challenge. A year ago, yesterday, Hamilton became Teddy’s little brother. In full transparency, getting a second dog was a pretty big mistake. I had my doubts and lost sleep for a week leading up to getting him, but committed anyway. It was a very rough first year together with little Hamilton as he has a devilish streak, unlike anything I’ve ever seen with a pup.

He seeks out trouble!!

I’ll never forget one night where he was this tiny little thing and dragged his food bowl by the rubber rim out of his crate and flung it across the room. All the while making complete eye contact with me and there was legit a twinkle his eye. I knew I was in trouble right then and there.

Things are even harder now that I’m taking care of the two pups on my own, but it’s getting better every week. I’m praying Ham chills out a little more over this second year. He’s one of those dogs though that captures everyone’s hearts. I probably get two comments a day, no exaggeration, from people saying, “I’m not a dog person, but I’m obsessed with that dog.” Even the manager of our apartment building is obsessed with him, and she doesn’t like any dogs.

Even though he’s pretty naughty, he is also the snuggliest dog ever. Teddy likes to be nearby, but Hamilton prefers to be as close as possible. I wake up every night or so with him snuggled up near (or on) my face. He sleeps like a human, tucked into the sheets and everything.


One of my biggest personal struggles this year has been dealing with the residual resentment associated with Hamilton. I’m not proud of it, but that’s the truth. There were nights where both dogs were so sick and the proverbial and literal sh!t was hitting the fan that I thought I couldn’t do it. I was so overwhelmed and felt way in over my head. But I decided to take it one day at a time. There have still been stressful days with the dogs, and I often grapple with guilt when I travel and have to leave them behind. But they do bring so much joy throughout the day. (And they are freaking obsessed with the place where they stay while I’m gone… like I think they prefer it over being home with me to be honest.) Ham especially is a happy little dog who just wants to play hard and snuggle harder.

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I have one dog and when he has been sick I have felt ready to return either one of us to the rescue! I completely understand where you’re coming from. Then again- those dogs are so lucky to have you, and I hope they are bringing you comfort this year as you face new challenges!


I think it is brave of you to admit the regret over getting Ham and your struggle with that. It can be hard to admit that you feel like you made a mistake when another life (even if it is a sweet dog’s) is involved. I hope for you that he calms down a bit in the next year!


I feel you, Carly haha. I got a second dog, a rescue dog, after graduating college (while starting my first full time job) and man it was difficult! I thought getting an adult dog would be easy as pie but nope. Lots of sleepless nights and cleaning up poop. Sometimes I do struggle and think about how much easier it would be to just be alone but at the end of the day, the pups are absolutely worth every struggle. Love them to pieces.


I think it’s so great how honest this post is. You often see people posting cute pictures of puppies but no one ever talks about how hard it is to look after a dog, let alone two.


I absolutely love you dogs! The blog has always been amazing, but the dogs make it extra special.

Much love from Texas


Thank you for being real about this, Carly! I’ve had the same feelings about my dog. Love but also resentment over all the extra work and expense (that I hadn’t anticipated when adopting her.) I really understand where you’re coming from. Loved this honest post!

Bri A

I love your honesty here. I have often thought the same thing about my two dogs (or the mean “this would be easier with one!” thought) but they’re such pals now. It gets SO much easier as they get older (mine are 14 and 11 now) and keep in mind that you are doing the best you can!! Snuggle that sweet pup close.



Your honesty is so refreshing! My husband has been trying to talk me into getting a dog and I just don’t know if I’m ready, but then every time I see your posts of Teddy & Hamilton it makes me want to bring a puppy home. Thank you for being so open and sharing insight to what this past year has been like with your adorable pups!

Taylor |


My dog is my best friend and I never regret having her for the past six years. She does add so much stress to my life- things I have to say no to because of her or the stress of not giving her enough time. But that being said, the unconditional love they give you back makes it all worth it.


Aww! He really is so CUTE! We are getting our first puppy at the weekend and i’m a little nervous, but reading this has made me feel a little better 🙂

Rachael xx.


Two dogs are DEFINITELY harder than one–and one dog is hard! Especially on your own! I hear you so much with this post! My two girls have very opposite personalities and there are certainly days where I wish I only had one, but, they both teach me things (mostly how to be patient…) and I wouldn’t give them up for the world. You’re not alone!


Hi Carly!

Ham and Teddy are the cutest pups! I have a 2 year old French Bulldog, Winnie, and I have been getting the itch over the past couple of months to get a second one. I feel she needs some company and I, personally, really want another puppy.

Whenever you write about Ham, you always say getting a second puppy was a mistake. May I ask why? I know puppies are crazy hard to raise and super frustrating, but are there other reasons why it was a mistake?

I would love your feedback since you have lived a year with 2 pups!



Definitely wasn’t ready for a second dog! I really didn’t think it would be as hard as it is

Grace Atwood

aw carly he is so stinking cute! I don’t know how you do it though, two dogs is so much work!!! major props to you (i can barely handle one cat over here – ha!)

Diana Pearl

I love how transparent you are about this! Major props to you for handling it, I couldn’t imagine even dealing with one! He is such a cutie though 🙂


Dude, I’ve been reading your blog forever and I’m not usually a commenter, but this post made me laugh at out – IT IS MY LIFE. “In full transparency, getting a second dog was a pretty big mistake.” <– Preach! I got my second dog mostly because my ex wanted her, but he left the picture a few months later, leaving me as a single dog mom with an incredibly demanding job. That's been a few years ago now, and things do get easier. I wouldn't trade my second pup for anything, but the flashes of resentment on bad days still linger. Hang in there!


OMG! That dog is so cute..worth the trouble I say!!! He’s going to be a gem…


I just had my yellow lab for a year at the end of January. I live with my parents currently and my mom so graciously watches our doggie while I’m at work. Luckily we have invisible fence and he is able to be outside some of the time. He came from a teeny, tiny apartment where he was in a crate for 7-8 hours a day so he had a lot of separation anxiety issues. Up until June last year he either went everywhere with my mom or she was at home with him until someone could relieve her. But for probably the first 7 months in and times here and there, both of my parents said what a mistake he was. It had been three years since we put our last lab down and everybody was used to a no dog house. Long story short we got our doggie boy and 2016 was one of the hardest years for me personally. And I don’t know how I would have gotten through it without having him. Now over a year later, my parents gush over him and spoil him rotten. Just takes time.

Natalie Miller

I love your honesty here Carly. A year after moving to New York I felt really ready for a pet presence in the apartment so I rescued my sweet kitten. As much as I oogle over your cutie pups I know my lifestyle isn’t right for them so it’s good to hear you being real about how intense it is to care for them! I’m sure Ham will calm down with time, my parents took our dog at 3 years old to a behavioral coach and it really helped break the residual naughtiness (like flinging food!). If you are feeling really overwhelmed with his behaviors another year from now maybe look into one?

Ashley Rogers

When I read this, it literally was like you had read my mind.
I have a Goldendoodle that is now 1 year and 2 months old and he is SO naughty! Since day 1, he just loves to create chaos. It does not matter how much positive reinforcement, how much training we do, or how much exercise he gets, he’s is just a trouble maker!
I’m praying that this year of his life will be marked by some mellowing out. Because while he can be so much trouble, he is also the sweetest thing. He loves to cuddle, is always by my side, and just really does want to please *most* of the time.
I’m so grateful that you have been so transparent about your struggle with Ham because it allows others to support one another and share similar experiences, which knowing you’re not alone is HUGE!
Thanks Carly!


I loved this post and I love how honest you are! We have 2 dogs (my Border Collie and my boyfriend’s Lab) that we combined when we moved in together and it’s no walk in the park (no pun intended). Having dogs is a challenge but I totally agree, even when it’s hard and crazy and stressful, it’s worth it when you come home and they’re so excited/happy to see you! Just hang in there, you seem like you have a handle on training it just takes a while!



I feel so relieved to read this because I have been feeling the same with my dog. I almost couldn’t say it out loud because I didn’t want anyone to know how overwhelmed I get with her. I felt like I was reading my subconscious thoughts, haha! Thank you for your honesty and bravery. I feel like most people don’t want to talk about the stresses of having an animal and it makes me feel so much better knowing someone else out there feels the same way I do. Thank you!


Hi Carly! I totally understand were you are coming from!! I got a second dog after having my first for a year. I thought it would be easier because the puppy would learn from the older one….no so much! My first is an angle and the second sounds exactly like Ham. He has a crazy side but is so very loving. I will say that it gets easier the older they get. My dogs are now 10 and 11 and so chill. The key is being consistent and rewarding the good behavior. Best of luck with your two balls of fur 😉


Thanks for being honest! I have a 4 month old puppy and I HATED him when we got him and wanted to give him back with a fiery passion that knew no bounds. I like him for the most part now, but still wish more often than not that we hadn’t gotten a dog.


Love your honesty! Thanks for your post! I totally get it. My experience is with cats. We adopted 2 new kittens after our 2 elderly cats passed away after 20 years. The first 2 years with the kittens were pure hell. There were so many times I thought about returning them to the shelter. But I’m so glad we stuck it out. I love them so much. I can’t imagine life without them. It’s still not easy. We still have trouble when we travel so we can’t be gone long. But hopefully things will keep improving! We laugh and say maybe they will finally chill when they turn 20! 🙂 Hang in there!


Hi Carly,
I loved this post! I just got a Maltipoo puppy and oh boy did I under estimate how much work it would be. I really apreciate your honesty! It gave me some hope as I am experiencing sleepless night.



Props for being honest. Too many people get pets and never admit how much work it really is.

Danielle @ Bookish in Texas

Happy adoptiversary, Hamilton! Your dogs have totally made me want to get a poodle over the years. They are the cutest and the video on your Snapchat today of them running on the beach was just adorable 😍

Amanda S Condra

I love your honesty here! Pets are hard work but it’s such a wonderful bond to have in your life. They bring us so much joy, especially in difficult times. Teddy and Ham seem like the happiest of pups! I love watching their videos running around at the beach! So cute!



Carly, I have two Yorkies. One is 7 going on 8, the other one is 3. Milo (the 7 year old) is a saint. He is so chill that sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve him, but Minnie (the 3 year old)…she can be a little devil in disguise. I work full time and I take Grad school classes part time, online so between work, the dogs, classes, and my blog on the side sometimes I feel like I’m way over my head. I have support from my aunt who sometimes takes the dogs to help me when work is too much for me, but when I’m on my own and things are so hectic that I feel like I am going to have an anxiety attack I have to really take a second and re-assess my priorities. The dogs are my sanity as much as my headache and it gets tough, but they are what keep me straight and motivated. I feel your frustrations so feel free to reach out if you ever want to vent!


I find your honesty in this post incredibly refreshing. I, too, got a dog with a live-in boyfriend and gained sole custody after our split. I love my dog, but, like you, struggle with resentment from time-to-time that I’m the one stuck with the cost and time commitment. I don’t have the option of living with roommates in an expensive city, I have to plan my social life around my pup (letting him out if he’s home, picking him up before close if he’s at doggie daycare), and I’m always having to turn down travel with friends that I could easily afford if it weren’t for his $500/month in doggie daycare expenses (more if he’s boarded overnight when I travel). As much as I love my dog, there are certainly times I wish I would’ve waited.