First comes love, then comes dog, and then comes baby! Former ‘Bachelorette’ Desiree Hartsock is just weeks away from welcoming her new bundle of joy into her life. But in the meantime, she’s been busy practicing her parenting skills with her dog, Frankie. The miniature Dachshund pup was even included in the official gender reveal. “He’s a big part of our family now,” the mom-to-be tells PawCulture. “It’s kind of fun to be able to involve him in everything that we’re doing.”
The former star of The Bachelorette, who wed Chris Siegfried after meeting him during her stint on Season 9 of the show, brought her tiny dog home this past April. The couple had been looking to add a pet to their home and eventually stumbled upon a family in Connecticut whose Dachshund had birthed a recent liter of puppies. “We just fell in love with him,” she explains. “My mother in law has a Dachshund. We loved the temperament and the size. We live in the city, so it’s kind of hard to have a large dog in a small space. Frankie was just perfect for us!”
After a few rounds of poking fun at her husband’s attempts at naming their puppy—“He wanted to call him Carl because he thought it would be funny to yell that across the dog park,” she jokes—Hartsock settled on ‘Frankie’ for her new companion. “His name has now turned into Franklin, Frankenstein, Frank and Beans,” she reveals. “It’s funny because he has so many names and he answers to them all!”
Hartsock admits that it wasn’t the best idea to get a puppy when she was pregnant—“everyone told me I was crazy!”—but in the long run, she is grateful for the lessons in parenting that Frankie has bestowed upon her. “It’s definitely been prep work—the puppy training, sleep training, and all of that. It is definitely preparing us,” she admits. “In the beginning, we were waking up two to three times in the night for him to pee and getting him used to his crate.” But the couple has since conquered the puppy stage and has Frankie’s routine dialed down. Now they are shifting their energy to prepping for the arrival of their son—and dealing with Frankie’s toddler antics.
“I hate comparing him to babies because sometimes parents are like, ‘no it’s nothing like that,’” she notes. The Seattle resident jokes, however, that so much of Frankie’s behavior resembles that of a child navigating the phases of his terrible two’s. “He’s in a stage where he wants to be picked up all the time,” Hartsock explains. “He’ll jump on you to be picked up and then drop his bottom weight so that you lift him up!”
Hartsock hired her friend to design her future son’s room and as soon as it was done, Frankie was ready to investigate. “He’s confused by the nursery, by the growing bump,” she reveals. “He’s been going in the nursery and sleeping on the rug under the crib.” And little by little, Hartsock and her husband are getting her dog used to the idea of having to share his life with a new brother. “I’ve tried to set things up so that he understands where the baby will be. I don’t let him on my nursing chair so that he understands that he won’t be allowed up there when I have a baby,” the designer and bridal enthusiast explains. “He’s a gentle dog so I think he will be really good. He’s just going to have to adjust to it,” she jokes, of Frankie’s spoiled lifestyle.
In addition to frequent dog park outings, Frankie has a bevy of canine companions that come over for play dates. “He is obsessed with other dogs and with playing!” Hartsock explains. “He will not stop playing with a dog until the dog is out of breath. He will hunker down and use all of his might to stay put and he’ll start crying if they are leaving because he wants to play. We joke that he has really bad FOMO; he really doesn’t want to miss out on anything!”
When she’s not working on her wedding blog, promoting her book My Fairytale Wedding: Planning Your Dream Wedding Without Breaking the Bank,or designing custom dresses, Hartsock is posting photos of her pup on his own Instagram account. She doesn’t have time to get too fancy with posing Frankie for photos but tries her best to just capture his spunky little personality though a variety of candid snapshots. “His everyday life is just so adorable. He’s the cutest!” she exclaims.
Hartsock jokes that Frankie is extremely pampered and thus she is slightly concerned about how he’ll adjust to not being the center of her and Siegfried’s worlds. So for now, they are giving him an extra does of love, whether that means sneaking in a few more dog park runs with the little guy or letting him snuggle up on the couch with his owners “He loves to watch TV. He’ll literally sit with us and stare at the TV and watch,” Hartsock reveals. And while preparing to be a new mom didn’t allow her much time to watch this past season of The Bachelorette, the former reality TV star says she usually makes a point of keeping up with the Bachelor Nation programs. And Frankie is no different. “He’s definitely a little Bachelor dog,” Hartsock reveals.
Main image: Jenna Kutcher, from Desiree and Chris’s official gender reveal announcement with Us Weekly.
Other images courtesy Desiree Hartsock via Instagram