More than once, he's mortified me. Like the time he wouldn't stop humping my boss's dog when we introduced them for a playdate. He's also treated me in passive aggressive ways, like the time I worked late for two nights in a row (that shampoo ain't cheap), staying at the office for 11-hour shifts, knowing he was totally taken care of by his dog-walker (whose $400 a month charge has zapped my recreational shopping habit). I got home exhausted, more than ready to take off my heels, flop on the couch, and pet his head while watching a rerun of America's Next Top Model. When I walked in the door, I spotted my dog, my supposed best friend, shredding a pair of my favorite underpants. I screamed. I stormed over and snatched them - in two pieces - out of his enormous paws. And then, he looked up at me with those maple-syrup eyes, and I took all the blame, swooning over him and apologizing. I felt guilty for leaving him so long, making him bored and anxious enough to destroy something. That is, until I took him for his bedtime walk, and he squatted down and pooped out two more pairs of my favorite underwear, leaving a trail of red lace and leopard print down 8th avenue for all to see.
Sure, my dog taught me what love really is, to get more happiness from the giving than the getting. With the tumbleweeds of fur breezing across my hardwood floors and the puddles of drool next to his matching stainless steel bowls, he helped me get over my obsession with keeping everything perfectly tidy.
When I first moved to intimidating New York City totally friendless, he helped me meet new people at the dog park, simply by walking up and licking their hands. My dog is a lot like every other roommate I've had - won't do the dishes, eats my food and then pretends he has no idea what I'm talking about and hogs the best spot on the couch - but he's a roommate I love too much to evict.