We have only one child, but now we have a new baby. Yup, we got a dog. If you follow me from way back, you’ll remember that I wrote about something missing. Well, there was. And now the hole has been filled. But what I didn’t remember was how hard dog ownership is. So I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s like having another baby.

This dog is a young dog and wow does she have energy. Our old dogs never needed to be walked; they were very content with hanging around our big yard. This girl needs to RUN. And so, there I go every morning at 5:15 for a mile run/walk, ok mostly walk, but we’re going fast. I am enjoying our quiet time together more than I thought I would. Ask me again when the temp hits below zero!

Another way Declan (aka The Destroyer) is like a baby is because everything goes in her mouth: Socks, the pizza you packed for lunch, stuffed animals. Having a dog means paying attention and keeping stuff locked up and out of reach.

I also have not paid attention to someone’s bowel movements like this in a long time. I’m constantly keeping track of the last time Little D did her business.   And praying that next time isn’t in the house. (Side note: if anyone has suggestions for breaking THAT awesome habit, let me know.  M&Ms won’t work like it did for the toddler!)

Like a baby, this dog worships us and depends on us. It’s like she was born into our family, not rescued from a shelter in Bridgeport. She follows our lead: when we’re calm, she’s calm and when we’re ready to play, she says bring it on! I’ve never seen anyone get as excited to see me in my life as my dog after I’ve been away. If it’s been an hour or a day, I get the same wiggly, jumpy, ecstatic reaction from her. She freaks out, as if she’s saying “OMG YOU CAME BACK! YOU LOVE ME! I LOVE YOU!”

Saturday night excitement with "kids" Photo: K. Stevenson

Saturday night excitement with “kids”
Photo: K. Stevenson

As much as my former toddler loved to snuggle with us, so does this dog. She is warm and loving and always down for a curled-up couch sesh. Sometimes she knows you need it before you do and will simply sit on your lap and force you to snuggle. Everyone needs a buddy like that.

I am a firm believer in rescuing dogs. You can always tell when a dog has been rescued. The look in their eyes is grateful. I know it sounds crazy. You’re probably picturing me gazing deep into my pooch’s eyes. But I know what I see. She’s happy to be in our family. The past month has not been without its challenges and changes, but I know we did the right thing.

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