Things I have learned in a week and a half with our new dog, Buck:

1. Although Simon prefers dogs to cats, it doesn’t mean he will not hit, pinch or kick the dog. A week later, he probably kisses and pets the dog more than anything else, but Simona still has impulse-control problems, just like he does with the humans in our household.  Thankfully, Buck has only seemed to even notice the assault once. He howled for a second after being pinched and got on with life. I still think it is important for Simon to learn how to treat animals with love, and that’s one of the main reasons we decided to get a dog. As he bonds with Buck, who happens to be a total lover,  I have faith the problem will lessen.

2. A year-old dog is still a puppy in many ways. Buck has boundless energy, which is fine with me, but he doesn’t always channel it into the right places, such as any of the hundreds of dollars worth of chew toys we’ve bought for him. We have to watch him at all times to keep him from chewing electrical cords or swallowing plastic toys. The kids have done a pretty good job of keeping their stuff upstairs (the dog isn’t allowed up there) or off the floor, but every once in a while something gets dropped or forgotten.

3. Training a dog is harder than it looks. Buck is a hound and wants to be the alpha dog. We’re teaching him what his place is (bottom of the totem pole, Bucko), but in the meantime, the kids can’t walk him. Myles tried and got bit when he pulled on the leash to try and get the dog back inside.

4. Dogs are awesome. I have never had one and wasn’t really aware just how sweet, loyal and loving they can be. Buck is always on my heels looking for affection or even just a few kind words. When I sit on the couch, he’s there with me, head in my lap. He’s endlessly hilarious, always trying to do something beyond his physical capabilities. (His stout legs do not afford much clearance in the snow, and when he’s tired, jumping up on the couch takes several tries and sometimes a human helper.)

5. I doubt I’ll ever be without a dog again.