You were a wee little sprite of a thing, but also a headstrong one. It’s all I can do to post a photo of you NOT biting me, since that was far and away your favorite activity until you were about one. Instead, I choose to remember those times when you were sweet, serene, and (somewhat) sedate. Like this.
Moments like those were few and far between as a puppy…in fact, moments like those are few and far between even now. You’re currently standing sentry at the door growling at my landlord’s nine hundred thousand dogs that he has rescued (this man has a straight shot to the pearly gates when he goes, his heart is THAT BIG.) in case one of them would have the audacity to step a paw on our doormat. You’ve always been a pretty good watchdog, even when the "aggressor" in question is a butterfly.
You were (read: are) a mischevious dog, needing to get into whatever you find on the floor (or, too often, in my clothing hamper.) One day, you decided that the Easy-Off Oven Cleaner top was your new favorite toy. Hell, it’s cheaper than a Kong, so GO FOR IT.
As much as I had hoped (and wished and prayed) for it, you didn’t stay little for very long. Somehow – perhaps it was your predilection for the cat’s food – you got bigger and bigger and alas, turned into a very, VERY fuzzy puppy. (Currently, a very strong 32-pound dog, a whole 12 pounds more than any of your littermates as well as your parents. I say it’s b/c you’re tall, but who knows, maybe you shit out rocks. Actually, sometimes you do…)
I miss having a "proper" back yard for you – the transition to San Francisco was less than desirable, esp. when you refused to pee on concrete for the first month. (Hell, I don’t blame you. Who wants to pee on the sidewalk!?) You’ve adjusted, though, and have become a city dog after nearly 2 1/2 years here. Thank God San Francisco is such a dog-friendly city, at least when it
comes to events. You’ve had your share of outings…Bay to Breakers,
Though as you’ve gotten older, you’ve started to grasp the concept of sleeping in. This has been a struggle I fight with EVERY SINGLE DAY SINCE I GOT YOU, especially since the first year of your life entailed a consistent 5am wakeup call. Didn’t matter if I kept you up until midnight, you still were bright-eyed and teensy-wagging bushy tailed when the rest of the (sane, dogless) world was still aslumber. The past few months, with me not working, have tested your limits in this whole "sleeping in" concept, and I’m proud to say that there was even a time that you didn’t budge from the bed until after 9. That’s NINE AM. IN THE MORNING. As in a whole FOUR HOURS after your previous wake-up time. I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of you.
You’re the first dog I’ve ever owned for myself, and despite the cat menagerie, there have been times that I’ve contemplated getting you a puppy playmate since your energy is endless. I hated leaving you when I trekked down to Google each day, and while your dog walker has been a lifesaver, I still wish you had a playmate who would chase you back when you decided to exert that puppy craziness on them. You know, besides me. But the more I thought about it, I didn’t think it would be fair – what if you didn’t get along? What if they were smaller than you (and, ok, better behaved when I took them on a walk) and I started taking THEM out more than you? Or what if they were bigger than you and bullied you around? I couldn’t handle it. So alas, probably similar to my parents acquiescing to one child, I’ve decided that at least for now, you’re going to be "An Only Dog" in this crazy, cat-laden menagerie-inducing household. Which, I think, is just the way it should be.
Happy Third Birthday, Lila Belle. I can’t imagine my life without you, my early-rising, underwear-eating, cat food-dev0uring light of my life puppy…you’re the best.