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We have just adopted a nine month old labradoodle. She is a real sweetheart, very gentle, placid and polite. But I just can't shake the feeling I've made a terrible mistake!

I've read on here that this is a common feeling and that has made me feel so much better. I have strong feelings of anxiety, heart palpitations, waking up early, crying, can't eat...the lot! I feel so pathetic.

I've always been a dog lover, had a dog growing up and wanted a dog for ages. We have 6 and half year old twin daughters who love the dog but I'm just feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of it all. Plus I keep worrying about having kids and a dog - my rational head says that it's perfectly normal for kids and dogs to grow up together and I know I'm being precious! In fact, one of the reasons we got her was so we could get out and about more, and spend more time together as a family. But now I just see dog poo in the garden, dog slobber round the house, kids toys chewed up. I can't seem to think straight sometimes!

And it doesn't help that my in laws aren't doggy people and I can just imagine what they think of our decision to get a dog.

I'd really love to hear from anyone who has been in a similar situation and has come out the otherside loving their new pet and no longer regretting their decision. Or if anyone is in the same situation I'd love to hear from you too so we can support each other through this madness.

If you're reading this and can help in any way I'd really appreciate a reply.
 

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We have just adopted a nine month old labradoodle. She is a real sweetheart, very gentle, placid and polite. But I just can't shake the feeling I've made a terrible mistake!

I've read on here that this is a common feeling and that has made me feel so much better. I have strong feelings of anxiety, heart palpitations, waking up early, crying, can't eat...the lot! I feel so pathetic.

I've always been a dog lover, had a dog growing up and wanted a dog for ages. We have 6 and half year old twin daughters who love the dog but I'm just feeling overwhelmed by the responsibility of it all. Plus I keep worrying about having kids and a dog - my rational head says that it's perfectly normal for kids and dogs to grow up together and I know I'm being precious! In fact, one of the reasons we got her was so we could get out and about more, and spend more time together as a family. But now I just see dog poo in the garden, dog slobber round the house, kids toys chewed up. I can't seem to think straight sometimes!

And it doesn't help that my in laws aren't doggy people and I can just imagine what they think of our decision to get a dog.

I'd really love to hear from anyone who has been in a similar situation and has come out the otherside loving their new pet and no longer regretting their decision. Or if anyone is in the same situation I'd love to hear from you too so we can support each other through this madness.

If you're reading this and can help in any way I'd really appreciate a reply.

Hi there! I don't have any kids but there was a period of time after getting my beagle puppy that I was similarly frustrated and second guessing things. He was in a huge biter stage and those puppy teeth hurt like nothing else. Could not get him to stop biting at my hands and I didn't even want to deal with it anymore. Also, crate training wasn't going well, I caved in and let him sleep on our bed - to wake up in the early hours to a warm sensation on my foot...yes he peed right in bed with us. I'd say it's just a phase and it will go away. He learned not to bite so hard, lost his puppy teeth, and became potty trained rather quickly. I am so glad we didn't give up.

Mild story compared to yours, but I just wanted to say that your daughters will love you even more for the bond that will grow between them and your new dog. It is also a good opportunity to teach your kids responsibility--have them help clean up after the dog around the house to ease up on your frustration!

About your in laws, well, you shouldn't care about what others think - in laws or not! I know that's hard sometimes, but think of all the memories you will have with your kids and your new dog together. :)

a clean house is a boring house! just like a house without a dog isn't a house at all :p I think everyone on this forum will agree about that.

Good luck and don't give up!
 
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Two years ago, I adopted an 8 week old puppy with major behavioral challenges. You can real allllll my threads if you'd like.

I suffer from anxiety and depression and it was really hard. Not only did I have the puppy blues, but I had a puppy with major anxiety who couldn't leave my side.

We've had our ups and downs and are still working on his path to get as close to "normal" as possible but you know what - I can't imagine life without him and wouldn't trade him for the world.

Take it one day at a time and take plenty of time for you to just relax on your own. You'll find your new normal and all will be well. :)
 

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Let me just say- I've never met a kid that grew up with a dog that wished they hadn't. I have a twin brother- our parents got our first puppy when we were nine. She wasn't a very difficult dog but my brother was slightly afraid of dogs and has terrible instincts as to how to interact with them- it was a weekly occurrence that she would chase him through the house biting his feet and ankles and no amount of yelling "stop running and she'll stop chasing" would make him stop. If we hadn't had that dog I think he would be afraid of dogs now- instead he's comfortable around them. I have a few friends who never had dogs growing up and none are actually afraid of dogs but they're all a little off with them. They don't understand how to pet them, they always seem to think the dog is going to bite them without warning (like cats do), etc.

In terms of difficult dog stories- my parents considered giving our second dog back to the shelter for some time after we got her. She was an impulsive adoption- we had to get a puppy because our first dog was super dog aggressive to adult dogs, and we first got a 12 week old Beagle/Retriever mix who died of parvo a week after getting him. Parvo can stick around for awhile, so we had to get a dog that was already fully vaccinated/ over 4 months. The shelter only had one that was the age we needed, and we couldn't find any other puppies that age in other shelters in the area. She had been at the rescue for something like 6 months and all that time spent like 90% of the day locked in a small crate. She was a plain black mutt, super overexcited, very little focus, and wasn't that friendly or interested in new adopters, so she wasn't exactly the kind of dog people got super attached to right away. None of the family bonded with her that much when we visited, but we all felt like she needed a home and we wanted a dog. She was probably the worst fit for our house we ever could have gotten.

We had a small, low energy dog at home, were not a very active family, and live in an apartment with a very small yard. The new pup had no social skills with people or dogs, 0 bite inhibition, was wildly destructive (dug a hole through our couch and we had to get a new one), had a wild amount of energy and did not calm down inside any, was a very vocal, barky dog with a LOUD bark, was crazy overstimulated by living in a busy NYC neighborhood (both in terms of lunging around excitedly on walks and standing at the window barking all day). She started fights with our older dog because she wouldn't listen if the older dog growled or barked to go away. She even knocked the small dog out once by running full speed into her while they were chasing a ball. Worst off all, she had a tendency to grab arms and hands with her mouth and pull us down to the ground when she was playing with us- my arms and legs were covered by bruises and scratches for weeks.

I made sure to work with her every day, we sent her to a great doggy daycare we knew of in the hope that she'd burn off some energy and learn some dog social skills, I started walking her twice a day, and I enrolled her in both beginner and intermediate obedience classes and made sure the entire family went to at least one.

She is now the most treasured member of the family. She got us out more and we started going on long nature hikes as a family near our house on long island, which we never would have without her. She's my father's favorite dog he's ever had, over like half a dozen dogs he had as a kid. She definitely brought our family together more and got us out and moving. Living through the nightmare of her youth was a great bonding experience, and we ended up with a dream dog at the end of it- she has a human-like intelligence (I'm betting she has some Border Collie in her mix), she's intuitive and loving and has a spectacular protective side- she has a big scary bark and being all black makes people wary of her, and she does this herding-like thing where on walks she'll run ahead and then loop back and circle us before running off again. I recently got a dog while I'm living at home for a year and she's taken the new puppy under her wing. When we bring them to off-leash hours at the city park, she'll patrol around the little dog and sort of circle the pup, making sure she doesn't wander, and then will actually put herself between the puppy and larger dogs that play too rough or don't look to have the best intentions (for example, there's a pair of greyhounds that keyed in on her in a prey drive kind of way that the big dog chased off).

My biggest advice on making it work with the kids, from my own experience of growing up with a dog is to 1) enroll in obedience classes (a good way to burn off mental energy, good socialization and an all around good learning experience/set of skills to have and develop) and 2) get the girls involved in those classes. With both the dogs we had growing up (the first we got at 9, the second at 15) my brother and I went to training classes every week. It helped tremendously. If the girls are mature for their age, you could try bringing them to group classes together or one at a time, or you might think about a handful of private lessons with a trainer. I've noticed a big difference in the bonds between children who attended training class with their dogs and those who didn't, and it helps to instill a sense of the dog being a shared responsibility as well as helping them learn about dogs a little bit.
 

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I can 1000% empathize/sympathize, as I am totally in the muck of major puppy blues/anxiety :( We brought our cockapoo puppy home almost three weeks ago (he is now almost 11 weeks old) and I am so overwhelmed by everything. I have 2 kids, ages 8 1/2 and 10 1/2 and though they were excited at the idea of a puppy, they weren't begging us for one. I thought it would be a great addition to our family, did all the research, waited on a waiting list with a breeder for 6 months, etc. We were definitely prepared...until the reality of how exhausted I would be set in. I have been a weepy mess, not eating, not sleeping, etc. I was literally just sobbing to my husband just now about how I miss my life, miss "me", miss not being short-tempered with my kids. I am doing almost all of the work b/c the kids are not as into the puppy as I expected and my husband works FT. I am setting up training to help but I honestly can comiserate and feel like if the puppy fairies arrived and kidnapped him and took him away tonight I wouln't be upset. I know how you feel and I am waiting for the day to come out of this funk b/c it is terrible. I am happy to chat anytime!
 

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Probably, give it some more time. Your choice of a labradoodle is a good one, they are people lovers, but they are energetic. My guess is in a little time you will all become more comfortable with each other.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply. Your comments are really helping and just to know that someone cares or has been through the same feelings and went back to normal, is very, very reassuring.

I love Moonstream's comment about no kid every grew up with a dog and wished they hadn't!

I know I need to take time to adjust to my new way of life and I'm sure this feeling will get better. In fact, the anxiety seems less in the evenings but then comes back in full force every morning!

One thing I worry about is leaving my dog by herself. That seems to be really stressing me out. She's very happy when she's curled up next to me but the thought of leaving her in her crate is distressing. We crate her at night and she cries for a few minutes then settles down for the rest of the night. But it's the thought that - what if she always cries, what if at 9 months of age she's too old to learn to be left, what if it gets worse and she cries whenever she's left and I'll never be able to leave the house without her that sends me into a panic. At the moment I feel bad just going upstairs to get dressed and leaving her by herself as she cries without me.

I really hope this anxiety lifts soon. I can't bear being under this cloud.

MHDDOG2016 I'd love to chat - it sounds like we are going through a similar experience. How are you feeling to day? I'm not sure how forums work, as I've never posted anything before but please message me if you'd like to.
 

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I can definitely empathize with you! I just adopted a 5 month old lab/border collie mix about 3 weeks ago and I'm dealing with the same anxiety. I've had dogs in the past but now I'm a single mom (of a 5 to boy) and it's been so overwhelming. Although we have had some minor issues with resource guardian--which of course makes the anxiety even worse!--he's really been a very easy puppy, and is super sweet. But it's definitely been a huge adjustment and I've had plenty of second thoughts. Particularly when it comes to my son, I feel like I have to be watching the two of them constantly! The pup does great with kids, really seems to be drawn to them but I am so, so worried about my son getting bit. Not only that but it just feels like such a huge added responsibility making sure the dog gets enough attention, training, exercise, etc...
 

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Hi jbferrell. Thank you for your post - I'm sorry you're going through a similar thing, but it is good to know I'm not alone!

I've done so much thinking and research, and what I believe is that it takes while to bond with a dog and also to learn to trust them (especially with our children!). I was wrong to expect to feel this bond and trust straight away and I am now trying to build on these feelings each day. It's not like when you have a baby and you love the little crying puking poohing bundle straight away. I figure this will take time, but once the bond is there they'll be a dog for life. The whole reason I wanted a dog was for the loyal companionship and this is what I hope to develop between us.

I completely understand your fear about the dog hurting your son, but what I've read (and I know I already know this deep down) is that dogs are not like cats who can scratch and bite without warning. Dogs warn people when they are feeling angry, so its highly unlikely anything dangerous would happen without due warning. My husband always tells me not to worry about things that haven't happened yet. Maybe I'll start trying that!

I also try to take comfort in Moonstream's comment - no kid regretted growing up with their family dog. I am looking forward to getting myself and my kids up off the sofa, away from the tv, ipads and the like, and spending some time together walking our family dog. We've already been out on several family walks and the time we've spent talking to each other, noticing things around us has been very meaningful. We even spotted a bat the other day - how great is that!

I hope this helps you in some way. I have good times and bad times, but am feeling better than I did a few days ago. I am here if you need me. Feel free to message me.
 

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I can 1000% empathize/sympathize, as I am totally in the muck of major puppy blues/anxiety :( We brought our cockapoo puppy home almost three weeks ago (he is now almost 11 weeks old) and I am so overwhelmed by everything. I have 2 kids, ages 8 1/2 and 10 1/2 and though they were excited at the idea of a puppy, they weren't begging us for one. I thought it would be a great addition to our family, did all the research, waited on a waiting list with a breeder for 6 months, etc. We were definitely prepared...until the reality of how exhausted I would be set in. I have been a weepy mess, not eating, not sleeping, etc. I was literally just sobbing to my husband just now about how I miss my life, miss "me", miss not being short-tempered with my kids. I am doing almost all of the work b/c the kids are not as into the puppy as I expected and my husband works FT. I am setting up training to help but I honestly can comiserate and feel like if the puppy fairies arrived and kidnapped him and took him away tonight I wouln't be upset. I know how you feel and I am waiting for the day to come out of this funk b/c it is terrible. I am happy to chat anytime!
We just brought our 11 week old yorki poo home last week and he is testing my resilience. I was mopping up yet another pee puddle while the puppy whined so loud and high pitched and I just looked at my husband and asked, "have you ever done something big that you couldn't take back, and you were sure it was a mistake?". Without hesitation he said, "this is it".

I don't want to give him up, and really it's not an option. But the idea of a puppy fairy that would whisk him away and take him to a happier place is a wonderful fantasy. I just keep telling myself that it will get better and that really, it's been such a short time and my expectations are too high. But if I'm being honest, this is much, MUCH harder than a newborn baby. We have 4 kids and even in the early days I didn't feel THIS clueless or overwhelmed! But just seeing all these posts about Puppy Blues makes me feel like less of a crappy dog owner, and like maybe we can figure this out and everything will be copacetic eventually.

If either of you want to vent, I'm always game for a ranting message or 6. Good luck!
 

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It is WAY harder than having a baby for sure. I had a colicky newborn and a two year-old at the same time and that was a piece of cake compared to his!! I think the fact that technically you CAN go back on your decision makes the constant second-guessing and questioning even more prevalent. It is also really hard to have the harmony of your home disrupted, even if it was an active home, puppies are a whole other level of energy and destruction. That has been very hard for me because we had a very quiet, calm, clean house with just kitties until 3 weeks ago. A week after bringing Jasper home, we had to put our 16 year-old kitty to sleep (cancer) and the two remaining cats have really had their worlds turned upside-down with this puppy. I feel guilty about it, miss the peace and quiet, am grieving the loss of my cat, etc. Anyway, it's really nice to have the support of other new puppy owners to bounce off ideas, de-stress, etc. I know these "blues" will be cyclical but am hoping that slowly, with each passing week things will improve. The sun came out today for the first time in 9 days and that alone has made a HUGE difference!
 

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I totally agree that puppies are harder than babies. I have two young children and another dog, and it gets tricky having to divide my time between all of them - there are days it feels like someone is always crying (or whining)! Lack of sleep just makes everything that much harder, although tbh I've been pretty sleep-deprived since my first kid was born. :p

I'm a perfectionist. I read a lot about dogs and training and behavior, and watched a million videos (still do). I wanted to do things "right" from the get-go. I had certain expectations for the puppy, and for myself. Then he actually came home. :D The first few days were the worst and filled with so much anxiety. How was I supposed to get anything done? Play with my kids? Leave the house? Not to mention getting him trained and socialized. Every time he tried to jump on the couch or chew the rug, I would see it as failure on my part and the pressure to constantly follow him around redirecting him was overwhelming. Then I cut us both a ton of slack. Rome wasn't built in a day. That doesn't mean I gave up (which is sometimes hard for me when things aren't going "perfectly") but I tried to keep it simple and fun and not worry so much about progress.

Some days are still bad (busy week, horribly hot weather) but I feel like Ringo and I know each other a little better now. He's not just a furry little stranger anymore and I'm no longer disappointed that it wasn't love at first sight. His personality is showing and even though he's still crazy and energetic and I have to run around with a toy in my pocket in case he decides to chew, or stuff kibble into folded-up toilet paper rolls (because the Kong Wobbler is already too easy for him) to buy myself 20 mins to get some housework done, or wear a bait bag and clicker on my hip all day, I am truly starting to enjoy him. He still drives me nuts. I still miss the freedom that comes with not having a puppy but it is getting better. We start puppy class on Thursday and plan to take the kids and dogs camping next week. I'm actually more excited than anxious.

I hope the puppy blues are just a phase, and that it gets better for each of us. It definitely helps to have a group of people who understand!
 

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This is SO SO SO normal. First pup we adopted she was 8 months old. She wasn't even a tough dog and yet every new thing I introduced (leaving her alone for incrementally longer periods; introducing her to new dogs; introducing her to cats; having to drive her somewhere) left me a nervous anxious wreck -- and I'm NOT an anxious/easily stressed person. I'm known for having a super high stress threshold. I just did my best to bottle up that anxiety and treat everything really matter of factly and like it was nothing special -- it's a lot of work but she's now a solid citizen.

The best advice I can give you is to prioritize what is necessary behavior and what is 'desired' behavior and focus on necessary. e.g. necessary for me is that dog can be left alone without worrying about barking/destroying. So I worked on that a lot in the first weeks we had her, leaving the room quietly and returning quietly for longer stretches of time. Then leaving the apartment and returning. Desired behavior is that she eats when her meal is presented, it's not the end of the world though that she's a grazer, so I chose not to fight that battle and focused on the more important behaviors. making this list helped me alot in creating a training schedule as when we first got her it felt overwhelming that she knew NOTHING, so she didn't seem to fit into my desired "dog daily life" image at all, and I didn't know where to start in molding her to fit more seamlessly into our lives.

I found that after about a month things settled so much. I began to get to know her as a dog, her quirks, personality, signs of stress/happiness, etc which made everything so much easier as I could read her a lot better. It meant that not everything felt like a huge unknown and I was no longer stressing in every situation about how she was going to react.

Persevere! It does get better and it is so so worth it once you get through the initial "getting to know you" phase :)

Plus MHDDOG2016 is so right, no kid EVER things "I wish I hadn't grown up with that dog". My childhood dog is still one of my happiest memories of growing up and I loved that dog with everything I had. The only time I've cried in the last 5 years was when I got the call from my parents that she was put down. A childhood dog is something truly special.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks again everyone for your comments, they are very reassuring.

Can i ask how long it takes for you to feel properly bonded with your dog? I really want to feel like my dog is part of the family. I know I've only had her for a week but I'd like to know when she'll feel firmly part of the pack.

I think I have high expectations as I'm comparing her to how I felt about our family dog growing up. I loved her a great deal. Then I start to worry that I won't love this one as much, as I wasnt responsible for our family dog and didn't care a jot when she chewed the kitchen floor. Now I care! But if I can love her I know I can forgive her.

I also worry that now I've had children I'm not capable of loving a pet, as it won't compare to the love I have for my kids.

Please someone tell me I'm not crazy?

I'd also love to be reminded of the good reasons for getting a dog? What benefits do they bring to a family with kids? Other than chewing their toys...?!
 

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Definitely NOT crazy.

Long before we ever decided to get a puppy, we adopted a senior dog from a shelter. He was an absolute blessing from the very start (thanks in HUGE part to the fact that he was already housebroken and "seasoned"). He blended into our family immediately and we had three kids at the time. Whenever we had game night, he would pull his bed next to the table to lay by us. When we watched movies, he'd plop down right in the middle of the living room. He would sleep on the floor next to to our toddler's crib during her naps and took turns sleeping with each of our big kids every night. If I was sitting at my desk working, he would come and lay his head in my lap, and he always stood patiently at the door for my husband to come in the door after work. He just always wanted to be near us. It was as if we had never been without him.

We lost him two years ago, and the kids still talk about how much we love him and miss him. We have pictures of him on our walls and we wish him sweet dreams in Heaven every night when we say our prayers. I can't describe all the ways he was good for us, other than to say that we loved him and he loved us.

The memory of Otis and how good he was for us is getting me through the puppy stage - though sometimes barely. I know that every dog is different, but if we can get through this stage to the good stuff, I know that Charlie will be just as good for us as Otis was. BUT, it can be so hard to remember than when I'm cleaning up ANOTHER puddle of pee. :bashself:
 

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Thanks Oxley. It's soooo good to hear the good things about having a dog. Right now I feel pretty trapped and alone. I had no idea I'd feel like this. I've wanted a dog for years!

If anyone else has some fun dog stories I'd love to hear them!
 

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It's taken us a long while to really feel bonded with Echo but it's getting there.

I think it's mostly developing a system of communication though because about a month after bringing her home I was have a freaken terrible day, I ended up dosing on the couch in pain. Next thing I know Echo was half up on the couch with the toy she finds most comforting to chew and calmly stayed there for about 2 minutes. Being calm for that long was unheard of for her at that stage! So I think the bond develops before we really become aware of it.
 

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Got Sonic in January. Love at first sight, lovely well mannered dog except for a few hiccups (okay, really really leash reactive, but otherwise nice) and I was a whiny mess for months.
It's just been getting fun in the last month, and he's needed time to settle too.
So, yep, it took more than 3 months to feel like he's truly a member of the family, not just a visitor.
I had no idea how common this was; I don't feel quite so sucky after reading all these stories.
 

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I met a woman at the park yesterday with her 18 month-old rescue she adopted 6 months ago, and her new 12 week-old rescue she adopted a week ago. I asked how it was going and she hesitated for a minute and then launched into "I had NO idea puppies were so overwhelming and stressful I didn't shower the first 3 days she was home last week. This really is so much more than I expected". I of course quickly jumped in to comiserate, laugh with her about how naive we both are/were, etc. Felt so good to meet someone in real life with a puppy almost the same age dealing with it too. Jasper has his fist puppy class this Sunday and I am hoping the other new puppy owners in the class can relate a little as well. I often see these moms around the neighborhood with their infant, toddler, young child and new puppy looking so happy and calm and I feel like asking "how are you so together and happy about all this"? LOL
 

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It took me a while to feel bonded to our older dog because she was very much my husband's dog. I didn't come into her life until she was 9 months old. Then I started spending more time with her and taking part in her training. Now we have a great relationship. Ringo is still a WIP. I do 99% of the work with him as he's "my" dog so that helps. I'm sure someday (hopefully soon lol) I will forget what life was like before we brought him home.

Re: not being capable of loving your dog because you have kids...I really don't think you'll have to worry about that. I have two kids and two dogs, and there is definitely room in my heart for everyone! My kids will always be my kids, but I couldn't imagine our family being complete without the companionship of our pets. The best part is watching the puppy tag along after our preschooler or lay down next to her while she watches a movie. Those kinds of things make all of the frustration worth it to me.
 
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