German Shepherd dog

i just love him so much!

I

have it.

There. I’ve said it now and there’s no taking it back.

I know what you’re thinking now. Something along the lines of, ‘Wendy, don’t you already have a dog?’ And to that I say, ‘What’s it to you? Can’t a person have more than one dog? Can’t a person, a person really committed to the responsible care and feeding of their one dog extend themselves to take on another one?’

Which, now that I type it sounds distinctly defensive and I want to apologize for that.

It’s just that my dog—the one that I have, not the imagined, potential puppy usurper that we’re tossing around here—is so great. He’s four now and I’m going to be honest with you right here and now and say that it’s really taken the better part of those four years to become great. We’ve had our ups and downs. He’s never going to be a candidate for an afternoon of butt-sniffing socialization at the dog park because he hates every other dog on the planet. I’m pretty sure a neighbor keeps a draft of a civil suit on hand in case he ever looks cross-eyed at her stupid dog again. But things have been pretty quiet for awhile on that front and I’m hopeful that, with his fourth birthday, he’s settling into a larger mellow period.

No, the things that are great about my dog (that’s him in the picture there,

August) is the way he is with me—and, I guess all of us, but mostly with me. It’s been almost 18 months since our other dog up and died on us and since then, he’s really stepped up in the dog-as-friend department. He follows me around after we come back from our walks and curls up on the floor under the desk next to the computer where I write. Recently, he’s begun to snarfle my ear when he decides it’s past my bedtime and I should stop watching that mediocre Guy Pearce movie and go to bed already.

And then there’s the way that he picks up the leash in his mouth and pulls me across the street at an intersection—or drags me down the block, away from a home where a dog may be barking at us from behind a fence or lunging at us over a gate.

He’s a prince among dogs, this animal, but now I look at him sometimes, narrow my eyes and I think, ‘You’d better not die on me, dog.’

And that’s not good. It’s weird—not to mention too much psychic pressure on my dog friend and our companionable relationship. He gets to die whenever he needs to and, clearly, I have some unresolved issues surrounding the noble death of our other dog last year.

So, seriously, don’t read this as a plea for an intervention and don’t—really, no kidding, do not—try to get between me and this hypothetical puppy. We’re getting another dog if only to more evenly distribute my neuroses across the animal kingdom.

I will be accepting your suggestions for dog names now. Go ahead. Start sending them.