One year ago today, Brenda & I brought Hooper home from the Boulder Humane Society. What a year it's been.

Hooper's last day of captivity

Freshly grieving over the loss of our cat Emma, we both fell in love with this little, black Labradorish-looking puppy, and brought him home with us. He was afraid of his own shadow, afraid to get into the car, hopping on all the furniture. A couple days later, he (we) learned his first command, "sit". I went on a streak of dog book purchasing, which continues to this day. We purchased dog toys and treats like they were crack, and the high of watching our dog take to these things with varying degrees of interest was equally addictive. We discovered the baseball fields behind our house serve as an excellent local gathering place for the neighborhood dogs and their owners; we've made new friends, as has Hooper. I've learned to bake, to bake dog treats. I have considered becoming a veterinarian. I read about dogs all the time. I think about Hooper whenever we are apart. I bring him to work with me. I started a Facebook group so fellow Boulder dog lovers could share hike ideas and dog treat recipes. We've had Hooper's DNA tested so we could know exactly what he was made up of--not that it mattered, but we were curious. I'd say Hooper has had quite an effect on my life.

This past weekend, Brenda & I celebrated our eighteen year anniversary as a couple, and we brought Hooper with us. He's an inseparable member of our family, our pack.

I can't imagine life without a dog now. He's my buddy. I had some dogs as a kid, but they were always transients, except, unfortunately, for the stupid, barky, nippy, West Highland White Terrier that I hated (hated!) when I was little. I always wanted a big black dog that would fetch and roll over and be goofy, and now, at forty, I finally have one, and some mornings, when Hooper is running around with his tongue hanging out, a tennis ball jauntily carried in the side of his mouth, I feel like I'm ten years old again.

Hooper has a ways to go. He pulls on his lead, he still jumps up on people, he barks when he shouldn't. But that's just standards. That's me being picky. Really, he's just perfect, and I'm looking forward to many more years of friendship with this strange little creature who seems to trust me, to like me, to love me. When you have a bond like this with no words, just actions, it's hard to, well, put into words. I'm just happy, and I think Hooper is too.

Hooper in the yard