Imagine yourself in a deep sleep. You’re having a relaxing, fun, pleasant dream. You’re warm in your blankets and just enjoying a good night’s rest. Then all of a sudden, “Woof! Woof! Woof! Woof!” Your cute cuddly dog turns out to be an evil little devil hound waking you up early in the morning. And not just that, but it’s 10 minutes before your alarm is supposed to go off. 

Your first thought (after a few explicit words run through your mind) is “well, someone has to go to the bathroom.” However, when you get outside, all he wants to do is bark at everything outside. The early morning runner, the other dogs out in the neighborhood, the alley cat, the tree. Yes! The tree! He’s trying to run free from his leash and choking himself in the process. The only thing running through your mind is, “Where are you going? Do you feel like you’ve made any progress yet?”

So after endless barking and not one sign of him going to the bathroom, you decide to go inside. At this point, your alarm is going off and it is time to get up to go to work. Did I mention it’s a Monday? 

This has been me for a couple months now. I’ve never had an indoor dog before. My family have always had outside dogs. So it’s been quite the experience. My girlfriend and I got a small Chorkie which is a mix between a Chihuahua and a Yorkie (I wanted a bulldog). His name is Max and I never realized how much work a small dog can be. There is no such thing as rest anymore. We’re constantly on alert doing rounds around the apartment making sure he didn’t have any accidents. We do our best to keep him in our sights by giving him a bone and letting him chew on that for hours. He’s mostly barking at the sliding door when he sees innocent pedestrians taking a nice stroll around the neighborhood or he’s taking naps on the couch. When we don’t see him or hear him for a few minutes, we know instantly that we messed up. We especially get flustered when he comes around the corner back into our sights with his guilty puppy eyes glistening and his ears down low, knowing he did something bad. We’re dreading going into the next room afraid to find a smelly surprise or a moist carpet or torn up Kleenexes or toilet paper that he fetched out of the garbage. It’s always different each time when he sneaks away unnoticed. 

Aside from the accidents he may have in the apartment, he always seems to want to snuggle and get in your face and give you a few kisses. Even when he knows he’s done wrong, he’ll quickly jump on the couch and try and give you kisses and snuggles distracting you from the mischievous act he committed. It’s always hard to stay mad at him. Even after yelling, “No! Bad boy!” we always catch ourselves petting him and giving him a small hug later (much, much later).

And can I just tell you that for a small dog, he has no fear. He will bark at anything that walks. He doesn’t care how big it is, he’ll give his loudest barks possible as if he’ll actually scare them off. It’s always funny watching him bark at Sid’s family’s neighbor’s dog, Bear, who happens to be a huge Rottweiler about 10 times the size of little Max. He’ll bark at him and try to scare him, and I look at Bear’s face and you can just tell he’s thinking, “why is that “squirrel” barking at me?” All of us are laughing at Max and saying that Bear will eat him in one bite or use him as a chew toy. But Max doesn’t care, he keeps barking away. He’s got the size of a Pomeranian dog but the heart of a German Shepherd. 

I suppose the purpose of this column this week is that for not being a huge dog family up until I met Sid, who has grown up with 4 dogs in her life, all in the same house one point in time, I’ve grown to like Max. Yes, even when he causes a little bit of trouble I still love him. He’s given me a bunch of laughs, lots of smiles, and tons of love. And those are some of the things I’ve needed in my life as of recently. So when he’s up at four or five in the morning barking away, I try not to get too mad because I know deep down inside he’s just excited to see someone who makes his day just about as much as he makes my day. 

As hard as it is to wake up, to let him out to do whatever he needs to do, bathroom break or yes, bark at some innocent bush or tree, I try to enjoy watching him be a happy dog. Because to him, life is good. It’s a fun life, and for me, it’s a “ruff” life. But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.