The Puppy Diaries

Rokan was borrowed for this episode of “I on Books,” featuring Alibi Arts and Lit Editor Erin Adair-Hodges, who he proceeded to maul. He’s only about three months old here.

I took Rokan home when he was eight weeks old—a fuzzy little dollop of a dog with a curly tail and multiple cases of stomach ailment. He was a bit of a mystery; the shelter folk said his mother was a white German shepherd mix, his father an unknown, wayward tramp. Other than a black mask and a pathetic look in his eyes that could turn a stone to slush, everything about him was yet to be discovered. Would he turn into a hulking, mastiff-sized creature? Would he destroy what little possessions I have in an indiscouragable, frenetic storm? In the first few weeks, I wondered if I had made a mistake. He needed to be watched almost constantly. I hardly slept. A bottle of disinfectant was practically glued to my palm.

Rokan is seven months old now. No mastiff, but a giant in comparison to the little imp we brought home. He’s a handsome devil; people stop me daily on the street to ask what kind of dog he is. He accompanies me nearly everywhere, including the office (to both the enjoyment and annoyance of differing co-workers, I’m sure). I’ve taken him to 16 weeks of training and have watched countless episodes of “The Dog Whisperer.” And it’s working. He’s gradually settling into himself.

The product of raising a puppy, of taking him with you everywhere, of reading the books and watching the videos and taking the classes, of being a little OCD to begin with, is that the idea of life apart from the exuberant mess of fur you call a pet becomes unfathomable. I probably tell too many dog stories and I should really get out more.

As a result of said dog stories, this morning my father sent me a link to a new series the New York Times is publishing on its website, The Puppy Diaries. Written by Jill Abramson, it’s an ongoing narrative on the trials of growing a dog. Such pet-centric features usually cheese me out, but the writing is engaging and I’m almost a little embarrassed by how much I identify with it. So instead of keeping my newly bookmarked page in the closet, I was pushed to opine on my own fuzzy beast and share the discovery. For the other obsessed dog owners out there, this one’s for you.