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Aleksander, asleep on our museum bench. Just like babies, puppies are irresistable when they're sleeping. Nov. 13, 2010.

Aleksander, asleep on our museum bench. Just like babies, puppies are irresistable when they're sleeping. Nov. 13, 2010.

I haven’t been hanging around these here internet parts lately. Blame it on the dog. When you take on the responsibility of caring for a being dependent upon you for its survival, you make sacrifices. The sacrifices I’m making for Aleksander are similar to those I made when my children were born, although not quite as extreme.

My time is not my own. (Exercise and potty breaks are a must, aside from figuring out how to keep him from getting bored.)

My attention is always on alert. (Where’s the dog? What’s he getting into? Is that normal behavior?)

My consciousness is pervaded by questions concerning the proper way to raise and train a dog. (What’s the best way to teach him a new skill? Our latest is getting buckled into the car.)

Lots of worry goes into having a puppy, but lots of joy and learning come with it as well.

I’m catching on to the language of canines. (Our canine pup gets incredibly squirrelly during barometric pressure changes.)

I’ve learned that a dog will listen to me and obey my commands. (I never thought any dog would ever listen to me in that way. Now maybe I can take over the Universe. Muwhahahahaha!)

The dog gives me an easy topic of conversation. I didn’t realize how many people own dogs and how natural dog talk among humans is (almost everyone has a dog story). A number of people have gladly and generously helped me with dog-training questions.

I’ve become incredibly cognizant of how many dogs are in our neighborhood, where they’re located, and whether they are behind a fence or on a tie-out. Aleksander gets skittish when he can hear a dog barking, but can’t see it. He’ll pull on the leash in a desperate attempt to get away. Keeping tabs on neighborhood dogs allows me to help him feel safe.

The dog is giving me a mental and physical workout. Mental because I have to be thinking ahead, anticipating what he’s going to do and how to solve any problems that crop up. (Is this chew toy going to be safer than that one?) Physical because I have to make sure he gets out and about regularly. (A minimum of two times a day for walking, playing, running, plus several potty breaks.)

As much as I’m devoted to him (ask Erik how many dog treats & toys I’ve bought him), I can tell that he’s devoted to me, too. He’s beside himself with wiggles and excitement when he greets me after a night spent in his crate and when I return from work. When he’s off-leash at the enclosed outdoor rink, he tracks where I am and won’t spend too long away from me. Who wouldn’t melt with that kind of attention? And he’s darned cute, too.

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If you’re a dog owner, how do you show your devotion to your dog?

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