A Love Letter To A Dog

It was just over a year ago that our family visited the local shelter for their Mingle with the Mutts event. It’s a chance to see the dogs that the shelter has for adoption, and local rescue groups are given space to bring their dogs as well.

Until that point we were strictly a cat family. Our Siamese cats acted like dogs, anyway. But the thought of adding a dog to the family had been growing, helped by professionals telling us that a dog could be good therapy for Cordy, and a good way to teach responsibility for both kids. I spent some evenings staring at Petfinder, and this one sad-eyed puppy face kept popping up on my screen with every search.

The wrinkled brow and those floppy ears got me.

It was at Mingle with the Mutts that we first met Cosmo. He was late to the party, and all four of us had already found (separate) dogs we were in love with. When we met the little pup who connected with my heart online, I thought…maybe this dog is a little too crazy for us.

Unlike some of the other puppies at the event, he was all over the place, pulling hard at the leash and trying to lick every face he could get to. His energy was tremendous. And Cordy loved him at first sight.

Places to go, people to sniff…

Even though I was concerned about his energy, and Aaron really liked another dog we saw, we arranged for Cosmo to come over for a home visit. He was still bursting with puppy energy and at that visit we learned the finer points of puppy-proofing as he sniffed out and ate three crayons while he was here. (He still has a supernatural ability to find – and eat – lost crayons.) We were convinced we wouldn’t be approved to adopt based on that incident, and there were also other families who had put in applications to adopt him.

Somehow, they thought it was a good fit and we received an email saying we were approved. Just before Christmas, our first dog joined the family and we began adjusting to life with a dog.

It hasn’t been easy. Cosmo had mastered many of his puppy manners, thank goodness – he was housebroken and crate trained and knew a few commands. But he was still a five month old puppy, and a puppy who had been found on the streets nearly starved to death. The puppy we met at 25 pounds was 40 pounds when he came to live with us and 60 pounds a month later. He’s now over 90 pounds and still considers himself a lap dog.

He’s chewed up pillows and blankets. The kids have learned that all stuffed animals and small toys must be kept off the floor or he will chew them. Despite my original plan that he wouldn’t be allowed on the furniture, he has claimed the couches and can often be found stretched out asleep on them. And he still tries to lick our faces.

But after a year, I can’t imagine life without him. He’s so patient with the kids, even if they handle him too rough occasionally. He’s helped provide a new source of love for Cordy – she can turn to him for comfort when the human world is too overwhelming, and he’s right there to accept her love.

He’s given Mira a purpose, and she happily accepts the responsibility of feeding him and letting him in and out. He even listens to Mira when she issues commands, which is impressive when you consider he’s twice her weight.

Future dog whisperer?

While I work during the day, Cosmo often sits next to me and rests his head on my arm. If anyone is down or sick, he’s right there beside them. He’s always ready for a game of fetch or a walk, and when we’re happy he absorbs that feeling and acts like that puppy we first met.

I should add that the cats have not been forgotten. They all get along relatively well. Dante, our older Siamese, is particularly fond of him.

I’ve also never had cleaner kitchen floors in my life. That dog lets no crumb remain on the floor.

Cosmo has also earned his keep as a fantastic guard dog. He barks at any outside threat (real or imagined…seriously, Cosmo, the squirrels are NOT a threat to us) and is the absolute best solution for getting door-to-door salesmen to accept “no thanks” the first time I say it.

He’s never been aggressive to any visitor to our house – he follows our cue that if we’re friendly with someone, he should be, too – but the occasional growl I hear from him when I’m nervous about a situation reassures me that if there ever was a real danger, he would try to protect us. 

Standing, er, resting guard on the couch.

He’s an absolute goof who usually wants nothing more than to please us and maybe get a few belly rubs. He can get in the way or be a bit of a punk at times, but overall his needs are so small. He asks very little from us and provides so much love in return.

After a year of having Cosmo in our lives, I can say with certainty now that I’m so happy we got a dog, and that we got this dog. I am a dog person now, and our family is better for having him with us.

I utterly love this silly mutt.

His current state as I write this.
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  1. I cannot imagine my life without our dog Bessie. My husband rescued her as a half starved to death 1 year old dog and she is incredible. We now have a cat in our furry family and he’s been a great addition as well. Its great to have one of each because dogs can often be high maintenance but their love is totally different than the love you get from a cat.

    He looks like a sweetie and a great addition to your family!

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  3. Hello! I had a question for you about possibly collaborating on something and was hoping you could email me back to discuss? Thanks so much!

    – Carolyn

  4. I really enjoyed this post, and oh my goodness your pictures of Cosmo were just awesome, I wanted to reach out and hug him! Instead I grabbed my two dogs and gave them a hug… my dog “dammit Max” (a bichon with an attitude) thinks that I just went nuts, and wants to know why I would attempt to hug him without first offering him a treat…Seriously, I think he’s really a cat in dog fur…