I’ve said this before: I am not what you would call a Dog Person. I never fawned over other people’s dogs. Puppies are cute, but whenever I saw pictures of them I inevitably thought…
Puppies are SO MUCH WORK.
My neighbor used to make fun of me all the time for it. She’d look at me, all horrified, and ask, what kind of person DOESN’T LOVE PUPPIES?
Now, don’t get me wrong – I don’t HATE dogs either. I grew up with lots of animals, and I was that college kid who, when waiting for the tow lot guy to bring my car around from the back, asked the front desk guy, Is your dog nice? while reaching down to scratch the ears of the junkyard Doberman.
(Who, by the way, laid there lazily and allowed me to pet him.)
I liked dogs, I just didn’t LOVE them.
So I’ll admit that I had a fair amount of buyer’s remorse last summer after getting our dog.
I didn’t see cute, lovable puppy. Ours stole shoes and ate, well, EVERYTHING. He peed in the house and cried when we put him in the crate and we had to take him outside to pee and poop on a leash all the time. He pulled on the leash ALL THE TIME. When we used treats. When we didn’t use treats – it didn’t matter. He jumped up on people when they first came in and would NOT. LEAVE. THEM. ALONE when they came to our house.
I was at my lowest point in April, when he was a little over a year old, and I asked the vet when he was going to calm down. And she told me that dogs need three things: exercise, obedience work, and love.
We were giving him the love, but not the exercise and obedience work.
So we redoubled our obedience training and made sure he got enough daily exercise. And thankfully, he’s gotten SO much better.
He still LOVES people. Really, really, really, really, REALLY loves them.
It’s pretty pitiful, honestly. He has gotten to the point where he’ll stay in the down-stay command, wagging his tail, whining to be set free to he can run over and lie down on his back, legs spread, hoping they’ll rub his belly.
I’m embarrassed for him most of the time. Dude! Don’t throw it all out there right away… at least play hard to get just a LITTLE.
That said, I have to admit I’m a lot in love with him now. It’s taken me nearly a year and a half, and some calming down on both of our parts, but it struck me when we were at the lake this year: I missed my dog.
I love how excited he gets to play fetch in the yard.
I love how he’s always happy to see me, how he never seems bothered when I wake him up.
I love how he follows us into whatever room we happen to be in, no matter if he’s in the middle of a nap.
I love how he sleeps on his back, his paws up in the air.
I love how Owen can pretty much do ANYTHING to him, and he just wags his tail (and sometimes looks at me like, Save me, mom.).
I love how he fetches the mail from the foyer when the mailman comes, the quintessential stereotype of a golden retriever.
I love how he flops down clumsily on the floor at night, heaving a big happy sigh.
I love how he waits patiently for Owen and I to come back into the yard at bus pickup, wagging his tail and looking at Owen with those soft happy eyes of his.
I love when he sleeps at my feet when I work from home, all curled up, his face on his paws.
How can you resist a pooch like this?
I certainly can’t.