365 Dog Day Afternoons

Mister PresidentYesterday was my birthday, and we’re going to have a little bash at the office tonight to celebrate it, along with a few other December milestones: the two year anniversary of founding Behavior which happens today (I can hardly believe it), my business partner Jeff’s birthday on 08 Dec, and, somewhat more trivially, the one-year anniversary of adopting my dog, Mister President, which happened this past Monday.

My Life as a Dog Owner

We included that last occasion because Mister President spends at least two or three days a week with us here at the office, usually snoozing away on a dog bed my sister sent to me last holiday season. And though his inclusion in the festivities is meant to be a bit tongue-in-cheek — like any animal, he lives outside of history, and is genuinely indifferent to anything celebratory — it’s as good an indication as any that, a year after my fateful visit to the Newark Humane Society, I’m dog crazy.

This, despite all my best efforts not to go overboard in my enthusiasm, all the restraint I’ve mustered in talking to the dog in a calm, moderate voice rather than with ‘baby speak,’ and my complete refusal to buy the pooch even a single dog sweater even in the depths of February. I wanted to be viewed as a reasonable pet owner, and yet now I am hopelessly, adoringly dedicated to this 65-pound mutt.

Dogs Asleep

This is a far cry from the very first week I brought him home, when his incredibly disruptive bathroom habits and seemingly insatiable appetite for play ran roughshod over my lifestyle. I felt hardly up to the challenge and responsibility of caring for a dog then, and even a month later, I still hadn’t completely discounted the possibility that I might, eventually, resign myself to giving him up, returning him to the shelter in a shamed but relieved admission of defeat.

Above: Beware of dogs! My faithful guard dog, hard at work with his best doggie pal Harley.

Man’s Best Friend

Now it’s the complete opposite. Mister President goes everywhere with me — everywhere they’ll allow dogs and some places where they won’t — and I’m just as happy to spend a quiet evening at home with him and my girlfriend as I would be carousing around lower Manhattan. And any fascination I might have had with him that first week — considerable, though tempered with a kind of shocked panic — has only gotten more intense; some of my friends might say “out of hand.” He’s really a source of endless wonder to me, and I count myself lucky every day for having him just hanging around, sprawled out on the floor next to my chair, his eyes rolled back in a sleepy haze and his mouth held open just slightly as he snores his way through the day.


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