My dog is 1 today.
We made it. He made it. There have been more than a couple of times in the last few weeks that I have wondered whether he would make it -- as he took off after rabbits and squirrels in the deepening dusk with no certainty of his return.
He's a dog who is built for running, the second-fastest dog I've ever met, which is why we let him run. His wings have been clipped, so to speak, the last few days, because it really is no fun to chase him in and out of backyards of neighbours.
It is still more fun though than the first hellish three weeks he lived with us, when we tried valiantly to keep him in a crate at night. I almost wrote cage, because that's how he saw it -- cage, prison, exile. Three weeks of sleepless nights, not listening to his instincts or ours, wondering what we had done, remembering our cat with great, great fondness. And then we decided to let him out, let him sleep on our bedroom closet floor at night -- and he slept all night long every night, and we started to like him.
If dogs are like their owners, here's what you need to know about us: we're filled with mischief, we love people and fully expect them to be delighted with us too. We love to dig and to explore. We're smart and attractive. We know lots of words. We're motivated by food and novelty. We are good friends. We prefer cool weather -- and wilt when it's hot. We alternate between indolence and energy. We hate water -- believing we're made of sugar.
It's been good to have a dog this winter, a sentient alarm clock that forces me out of my chair, off my computer and out into the big world for walks several times a day. There are days when it takes actual whining and scratching to actually dislodge me from my desk, so a dog is a perfect exercise accessory.
We've met terrific people of all ages through dog ownership. We've met weirdos too.
I think I've mentioned before my tendency to give my pets an actual voice. (Our first cat stuttered like crazy. This dog's use of grammar is atrocious.) It's like putting captions on photographs. In that light, let me tell you what our dog thinks about turning one. He thinks he's a big boy now, that he will no longer submit to baths, that he's now the boss of himself. He also promises he won't run away or get into mischief anymore, although we suspect he has claws crossed behind his back on that one.
For weeks late last spring, I regretted our decision to get a dog: a dog is not a cat. A dog is very different from a cat. A dog has much higher needs than a cat. This gave way to grudgingly acceptance that he was, nonetheless, a great dog (most of the time). Then, around Christmas, he got to a great age. He was about nine months old, but it reminded me of when babies are five months old and the craving to have another is irresistable. In the dog's case, he was still sweetly puppyish in temperament, energy and looks, but he had learned to listen and his energy could be very much predicted and channeled and eased. He became a complete pleasure to have as a member of our household.
So now, I still wouldn't exactly say I'm a dog person, but I'm very happy -- lucky even -- to be this dog's person.
Happy Birthday, Lucky!