A little over a year ago (July 8th to be exact) I drove out to Gap, PA to pick up my puppy Atticus. This past year has certainly been filled with its ups and downs for Atticus and myself. As Atticus lies wrapped around my desk chair and stares up at me with his soulful eyes I thought it would be nice to write him a letter…and share it with you because well, he can’t read and someone should hear what I have to say.
You were quite the dusty little moppet when you settled into my lap a little over a year ago. When you fell asleep you effectively ended any contemplations of not choosing you. I thought you loved me from the start. The reality was that you were a huge coward, something I quickly came to realize as you wailed the entire hour and half drive home, drooling incessantly all over me. We were both very gross by the end of that trip; but I loved you anyway (besides there was no going back.)
As to be expected you would not sleep in your crate the first night home…or any night to come. Now don’t go thinking I’m a huge softy – I’ve survived the raising of a number of puppies and never gave in to their evening cries. You just would have nothing to do with the crate, and could not be dissuaded from that sentiment. That first week home was so very long and I usually ended up sleeping on the floor with you so that I could get at least an hour or two of sleep. You are lucky I loved you that week.
Not to be deterred by the evening struggle of going in your cage the “Battle of the Crate” continued for many months to come. Over the course of the first 8 months of your life every effort was made to contain you. Please understand my side Atty, there was so much mischief you could get up to while I was gone (and you did) – crate training would have been ideal. After popping entire sides off of crates, outgrowing them, and bending the metal structure of one particularly sturdy crate you wore down the enamel on one of your adult teeth – all the way to the root. You ended up having to have the tooth pulled which was quite expensive; it is then that the idea of the crate was abandoned. This is the one and only time you will ever win a battle with me. I’m serious.
Really Atty, the crate would have been such a good thing. As you grew, and you certainly did a lot of this, more and more things became accessible to you. It comes with the territory that puppies destroy some things, but your size and strength meant that you had access to a great many things I never knew I had to be concerned about. When something is put in the sink it should STAY in the sink and remain in one piece. I mean the spatula Atty? Really? That was my favorite spatula and I miss it terribly. I don’t know if my family loves you for the items you have consumed and/or destroyed over the past year.
Another comment on your deviant ways, you have no conscience. I’ve never before considered that a dog could so thoroughly lack a sense of guilt when they know they have done something wrong. There was no remorse for the spatula eaten, the plate consumed, the Christmas ornaments obliterated, or the chicken eviscerated. I don’t get it, we’ve had talks about all these things but all you do is sit and stare at me. You remind me of a petulant child who is sent to their room but declares that they planned to go there anyway and will have fun staring at the wall. Sometimes I am at a loss with what to do with you.
Despite the many difficulties we have had you are honestly a pretty good dog. I know, I’ve painted a pretty ugly picture thus far, but you really are sweet most of the time. You are still a coward who loathes car rides and needs his pack (other dogs) to really enjoy going on a walk – but we haven’t let that stop us yet. Really, who am I to criticize your apprehension towards the backpack on the porch that you refused to walk by? Something really could have popped out; the same goes for the bag of leaves by the neighbor’s mailbox too, you never know.
Most of all, I love when you climb into bed with me at night. I know I fuss because it is summer and the amount of heat you generate isn’t exactly comfortable, but I still think it is adorable. Yes, it is a tight fit. A twin size mattress was certainly not designed for a grown being, an overgrown puppy, plus a cat – but we make it work. You do take up over 65% of the bed, but the cat and I are flexible and you’ve only fallen off the bed once.
I often wonder if you really care about me; you often bail on me for other family members when they are visiting, or neighbors who take you on runs. You recently have developed a habit though that has me thinking you do notice when I am gone. When I am off at work, or out running errands you have taken to hunting down my slippers, bring them downstairs, and displaying them for the rest of the family. I like to think that is your way of reminding them that something is missing, and that something is me. It warms my heart to see a pile of my shoes stacked on the hutch when I get home in the evening. Even better, there isn’t a mark on them. Despite your destructive inclinations you have yet to harm my slippers, which is nice because I would like to not have to continually replace my shoes.
All in all Atty I think we are a good team – and we are sure to have many wonderful adventures to come.