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On being a dog dad

I call it a furry cyclone of happiness. It’s the whirling bundle of unadulterated joy I wake up to every morning. Buck sits next to the bed and stares at my eyes, waiting for them to open. As soon as he sees the whites, he starts spinning in a circle. This kickstarts Meg (our other dog) into action. She runs into the room and proceeds to hop up and down like a white guy at a wedding, trying to express joy but having no idea how to do so.

The dogs continue to spin and hop down two small flights of stairs and into the kitchen where the source of excitement lies; their food bowls. My wife and I begin each day in a way that can only make you glad to be alive.

They say you don’t rescue the dog, the dog rescues you, but I don’t subscribe to that because I’m the one who filled out all the paperwork. Still, every moment we’ve shared with these animals is a blessing. They’re messy, completely messed up and a total pain in the butt. But they’re both so happy to not be where they were, it’s easy to put up with the hassles.

Things weren’t always so cheerful for our dogs. When we scooped up Buck from the SPCA seven years ago, he was emaciated and riddled with anxiety. He spent every waking moment walking around in circles, and at night he’d try to steal soap out of the bathroom. Luckily, our soap was 99.44 percent pure because he ate a couple of bars.

On being a dog dad | Buffalo Magazine

Meg comes from a puppy mill. For five years she was confined to a tiny area and bred for profit. When we met her, she was afraid of every noise and movement. It took more than two hours to entice her into our home. We went through all our Thanksgiving turkey leftovers house-training her. It’s frustrating and exhausting trying to convince an animal that all you want to do is love it, but completely worth it when they finally give in.

And, they’ve completely given in. Our couch is the capital of cuddle country. Our home has more love than a Hallmark movie. I am not ashamed to admit I have said the phrase, “Comfy puppies get kissy kisses on their fluffy faces,”out loud.

Sometimes the love hurts, especially when Meg freaks out over a branch tapping the window, rushes between your legs and accidentally flips you down a flight of stairs, spraining your ankle. You know you love a dog when she’s standing over you as the source of your anguish and you still can’t be mad at her.

And when Buck breaks into a cupboard, steals a bag of powdered sugar and turns your house into a scene from “Scarface,” you laugh it off. When he finds and eats a bag of 50 unscented tea light candles that you left on the counter because who would think a dog would eat 50 unscented tea light candles, you try not to laugh while lecturing him. You have to laugh for the next three days while you’re literally scooping up wax “poop” candles in the backyard.

You can’t be mad. It’s just another dog dad afternoon.

Editor’s note: If you’re thinking of adopting a pet, a good place to start is with the SPCA Serving Erie County; 300 Harlem Road, West Seneca, or visit

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