Marley & Me. Turner & Hooch. Hachi.
What do these films have in common?
The undying bond between a human and a dog.
Since 74% of people who are avid dog lovers, it’s safe to agree that the majority of the population would agree that life isn’t complete without a canine companion.
But before we reach the forever after, dog-bonding, always-by-your-side-stage, there is a pivotal phase every owner has gone through and will admit has altered their lives.
The puppy years.
Understand that when you first bring home a puppy, everything—EVERYTHING—is a game.
Your feet when you try to walk around the house from one room to another; the paper towels when you’re wiping up the inevitable doggy mess; your hair just after you’ve spent thirty minutes styling it; these are all a game through the eyes of an eight-week old pup.
Because they’ve only been around in the world a little over two months, they’ve most likely experienced very little danger. Thus, everything around them seems fun.
As your impatience is spreading thinner with each second, their enthusiasm is exploding.
As you’re running away from the land shark with needle sharp teeth, trying to save your last pair of socks from ruin, they’re seeing it as a game of chase.
If it’s on the ground, it’s edible.
This includes (but is not limited to): toothpaste, bark, dirt, leaves, acorns, and pinecones, not to mention the deposits left by previous animals (which, by the way, is very dangerous if a puppy tries to eat).
Therefore, keeping him on a leash while taking him out isn’t an option; it’s a requirement.
Relaxing breakfasts are no longer a possibility.
Regardless of the breed, puppies have an undying energy that doesn’t slow down until hours after sunrise. Forget about the paper that is due for your government class or trying to organize your workspace—puppies need to be watched at all times. Unless you want them to turn your house into a giant, convenient bathroom, owners need to be constantly aware of where their puppy is.
Obviously, your daily workout is nearly accomplished by nine o’ clock in the morning. By chasing them around the house, cleaning up the inevitable messes, and wrestling with them as you try to put on their leash, there is no longer reason to worry about when you’re going to work off the dessert from the night before.
Your house will be demolished.
Perhaps not literally (although his chewing may wreck your favorite pair of boots).
But puppy proofing your house or apartment is a must. Putting away all harmful things (and things you don’t want chewed) becomes definite, thus wrecking your perfectly organized living space into a catastrophe.
The dolls your grandmother gave you when you were six will end up with frayed hair on his doggy bed.
Your laundry will end up in shreds on the floor.
Important papers and documents will fuse into one huge pile on your desk because that’s the only place out of his reach.
In the end, the only things that are allowed on the floor are his stuffed bones and dog hair.
Everything will be worth it.
Endless hours of training, chasing and cleaning; paychecks spent on vet bills, food, and toys; sleepless nights spent waking and getting up to take him outside even though you have to be at work in three hours will all become worth it.
Because, in the end, he will know someone who endures the frustrating is someone who truly loves him.
And in return, he will bound for the door when he hears your car pull up.
He will attack you with love when you step inside the door after an exhausting day that left you exasperated and considering early retirement.
He will use every inch of his frame to stay awake staring outside your back door, making sure no harm is coming your way.
While he may just be a part of your life, he gives you everything, because you are his life.
This article was written by McKenna Vietti, a writer for dusk magazine.