1. You think your dog is the best dog in the world. Period.
At my wedding, the Maid of Honor told a story about our dog. It was completely embarrassing and 100 percent true. Enter Alex:
"One thing is they have a delusion about their dog, Marshall. He is really cute, but at one point in time, they were convinced that just because he could sit and roll over on command 50 percent of the time, that he was the best and smartest dog ever. Even though he ripped up the carpet and peed all over the floor. They also love Marshall so much that over a two day trip to Hocking Hills, they Skyped Marshall while he was at the kennel. That was pretty funny. You can only say 'Hi Marshall' and 'Hey Buddy' so many times."
Yes we did that. Worse, we paid for it.
2. You smile
The minute you lay eyes on the little guy for the first time, you smile. It may not be an ear to ear smile. More likely it's one of those "aww look at that face" smiles. Kind of a lip-trembling happy frown smile. But as the pup grows into a fully grown dog or as your rescue buddy turn into part of your home, you smile more and more. When he does something cute, you smile. When she goes potty outside, you smile. When they get tired and walk over and curl up in your lap, you smile. Even after he destroys your favorite shoe, you learn to smile (after a few minutes of not smiling).
3. You turn to mush
Literally. You literally melt into a puddle of mush. Because that dog owns you. You may think you run the house. But you would be wrong. That little guy just chewed a hole through the bottom of your brand new couch. But it's okay because, "he's just a confused little puppy but he is just so cute we can just eat him up yes yes we can just eat him up because he's such a bad boy but he is such a cute little puppy with a fuzzy little puppy face." Is that even English? Dogs make us create our own language too. A language of long run-on sentences that make no sense and lack punctuation.
4. You let your dog sleep in the bed
I dare you to try avoiding this. I did. It will happen eventually. And you will love it. I feel lonely if I don't have a dog curled up above my head. Though I could do without getting kicked in the face five times every night.
5. You give your dog a voice
It's usually not a flattering voice. More than likely they have a slur or a bumbling stutter. People never make their dogs out to be an intellectual. Even though, as stated above, they pretty much play us like a puppet-master. You are reading this in your dog's voice right now, aren't you?
6. You feel compassion
Even after your little canine just destroyed your favorite book and your only honeymoon album, you are the one that feels sorry. You immediately take the blame. "It's my fault. The poor dog was alone all day and I didn't have time to walk him this morning. He's just ornery. Poor pup." How does this happen? We don't show humans that same compassion. Would you forgive a burglar because they were ornery from being alone all day and not getting enough exercise or love from their parents? I think not. See, dogs run the house.
7. You get angry
Don't get me wrong, I don't always forgive my puppy right away. Sometimes he really pisses me off. That's okay. I piss him off too. It's healthy, just like any relationship. I'm the parent and he is the kid. Sometimes he just wants to play when all I want to do is watch TV and he gets super pissed. A loud sigh, cry, or bark is his way of voicing his issues. Sometimes he just isn't ready to "go poopies" and just wants to go for a walk and he will shoot us an ice-cold glare that gets his point across. But again, that's okay. Because every once in a while I just want to hold him and not have to scrub piss and shit out of my carpet. And sometimes I just don't want to pick up 12,000 piece of magazine from under the bed. And I definitely don't want to chase him around the house to get back my last sock, since all of the other have been destroyed. All of my toes don't need to be in the sock anyway. Oh yeah, you spend more money when you get a dog.
8. You learn to get over things quickly
Like anything in life, you can't stay boiling and frustrated forever. It's not healthy. With a dog, you learn to forgive and forget. I don't have children but I assume it's the same. Get mad, clean-up, hug and forgive. After the puppy did something bad and we punish him, we always call him over and give him a big hug and a belly rub. We love him. And he deserves to be reminded of that all the time. Because let's be real, he loves us all the time. I feel happy and calm just writing this paragraph. My bond with my dog is that strong.
9. When you get a dog, you stay healthy
Per WebMD; "pets help lower blood pressure and lessen anxiety. They boost our immunity. They can even help you get dates." You feel loved. Studies have shown that when a dog sees its owner, its brain secretes the same substances as ours when we are in love. Gregory Berns, director of the Emory Center for Neuropolicy and his team are using an fMRI to take a look inside the brains of our furry friends. Their research is amazing and is fueled by their love of dogs. He wrote a must-read article in The New York Times called, "Dogs Are People, Too." It's true. Because science. They should be treated as such.
10. You stay in a little more
My wife and I went out more before we got Marshall. Dinner, movies, bars, etc. When you have a little puppy to take care of, you want to be there for them. Especially if you work all day. I can't imagine an existence where one is forced to sit in a crate all day and all night. That isn't what life is about. Having a dog is a responsibility. You need to step up to the plate for the little guy and be there. They will love you for it. We learned to love and look forward to coming home to Marshall. A dog's greeting alone makes it all worth it.
11. You move more
Take the pup for a walk. According to Shape Up America, there are about 3,000 steps in 1.5 miles. A 1.5 mile walk takes about 30 minutes. So in just a half hour, you can take your dog for a nice walk (that they will love) and you can achieve 30 percent of the 10,000 step goal that has been considered the minimum standard to a healthy lifestyle. Taking my dog for a walk is one of my favorite things to do. I love it and so does he. When we are on a walk he looks back at us with a little tongue-out grin. It's a smile. I just know it.
12. You laugh
Not a day goes by where I don't see some hilarious and adorable video of a silly dog on Facebook or YouTube (like this one), That, coupled with the hysterical behaviors of our furry friends, ensures a day full of hahaha. There's nothing like the antics of a clumsy puppy. As we all know, laughter is the best medicine.
13. You fall in love
From the moment I saw my little Marshall's eyes, I loved him. Our dog is the personification (Caninification?) of all that is good in this world, he is a part of our family and he helps make our house a home.
Dogs show the most unconditional love. Return the favor. To everyone.