Do you love your dog?

Do you love your dog? {update}

A quick bump from this post from (last decade). A post we wrote called “Do you love your dog?”

It was about my first pooch Oscar.

Don’t worry – he’s still alive and doing well! He’s at least 11 now – but looking like a spry puppy still. God, I love that pooch.

do you love your dog

He got two new “roomies” a few years after I got him, then a fourth buddy (Chooey) about three years ago. A gaggle of four dogs is more than a handful of responsibility. As well as a mix of who gets the “love.”

But re-reading my own thoughts from over seven years ago got me thinking.

Maybe “life has gotten in the way” of ideal dog relationships. We all go through phases, shit happens, and life sometimes takes on a different course.

Whether you’re as “in-tune” with your lovely four-legged friend(s) as you used to be – they never flinch. They are always by your side. Somehow (sadly), they understand the ebbs and flows of life – and never give up hope.

They’ll always be eager to see you – tails wagging – no matter what life throws your way. And that is amazing.

So if you’ve inadvertently “distanced” yourself from you loyal friend – maybe today is the time to tell them that you still love them beyond belief.

Dogs are truly the most loyal of friends any human being can have in this world.


See the original post from 2009 below…

An incredible transformation


oscar-smiles-for-the-cameraDo you love your dog as much (or more) that you’ve ever loved a person?

I’ll tell you – that the longer I’m the Hoboken411 Mascot Oscar’s owner – the more attached I get.

In the beginning – the dog was a “new” thing for me. More of a responsibility, even a hassle, for someone who hadn’t really had a “100% mine” pet. At times, it was quite a burden – a new “intrusion” on my typical daily schedule. Something I was hardly accustomed to, and took a while (6 months) to really “get.”

However – in the past 18 months, my dog ownership satisfaction level has catapulted to levels I never thought were possible.

Your “best friend” – hands down!

When you own a dog as incredibly sweet and loyal as Oscar (and I’m sure millions of other dogs) – something happens. You become not only a “parent” (i.e., you care for that canine’s healthy, feelings, etc.) – but your emotional love is obvious.

I happen to be lucky. I work from home. I’m with my dog (for the most part) 24 hours a day. He’s in my close proximity at all times. And after days, weeks, months and years pass by – your animal becomes “in tune” with you like you wouldn’t believe. The loyalty, respect and love he (or she) can show you more and more just changes you!


I am Legend

Since I’m a rather unique case (i.e, don’t need a dog-walker, etc.) – I’m fortunate to have developed this bond with Oscar. I talk to him like he’s human. Like my roommate/little brother. I didn’t realize this – but I noticed recently that I speak to him much in the way Will Smith spoke to Sammie in I am Legend… You talk to your pet conversationally. “Orders” are hardly necessary – in fact, here are some interesting trends I’ve picked up on. I can simply point somewhere – without saying a word – and he’ll go there. The same hold true for “nodding my head.”

By speaking to him consistently the same way – I don’t need to holler commands – I just speak quietly to him and he listens… such as:

  • OK (means he’s safe to proceed)
  • WAIT (sit and be patient for me for the next phrase)
  • C’MON (follow where I’m going)
  • NO (a universal “whatever you’re doing – stop,” works very well)
  • SOON (to relax – that we’re “going out” as soon as I’m ready – typically 10-15 minutes)
  • UP UP (my favorite – he’ll go where I point or tell him where to go… A tree, the bed, some stairs, etc. – the best!)
  • SQUIRREL (this is a dangerous phrase – because Oscar is hell-bent on catching one. He will become obsessed with any tree, street pole, wire for the next 15-30 minutes – like a good hunter)

I have quite a few phrases that I use – but this list could become 100 long.

Responsible like he’s your first-born

oscar-eating-from-a-bowl1One trait I’ve picked up quite naturally – is that I always take care of Oscar before I take care of myself.

He always eats before me. Regardless of whether I cook for myself, or just got delivery – I always am sure to feed him nicely before I eat. In the beginning it felt somewhat strange – but now it feels paternal.

I want to provide for him first and foremost – and have never left him with an empty bowl of food or water. He even gets double-filtered Hoboken water! (I have a dedicated Brita pitcher just for dog bowl). I can understand how it must feel to be a good parent.

Worried about their health, too

Just like human beings – your dog isn’t always the same “chipper self” that they typically are. Sometimes they’re just a bit “off.”

I get really worried when this takes place. Because your dog cannot “tell you” how the feel – you have to figure it out – and it can worry you. Because animals for the most part suffer 90% of the time in silence (only “cry” when it’s excruciating pain) – it’s hard to tell what to do. Whether they’re sick to their stomach, or have a sore joint – you wish for the love of God – that they could talk to you that one time. “Hey, I have a belly ache, I’ll be OK – do you have any pepto?” or “I twisted my paw – I’ll be OK – I just need to walk it off…” It kills you when you don’t know for sure. Your heart sinks when you see your companion suffering quietly.

Easier than people tell you

oscar-in-the-water-swimmingOne thing I wanted to add about pet ownership. Many will tell you that it’s “difficult” or a “huge commitment” or something along those lines. But once your dog becomes a part of your life – it’s almost seamless. You learn how to combine routines (shopping, errands) – and figure out what places are pet-friendly or not, and just incorporate it into your life – just like having a child. “It’s part of you,” right?

Of course, there are difficulties, especially if you work off-site a lot – or need to take “days off” from your best friend. It helps to have fellow dog-owners as friends, and a reliable network of back-ups just in case.

But in the end – I would never trade it for anything.


I should add a little extra here. I’m very torn about where I stand with “City Dogs.”

If the situation were 100% black & white – I’d never suggest anyone get a dog unless someone can be with or near that pooch most of the day and night. Something about leaving the dog home alone all day just bugs me – even if you have an amazing dog walker. At the very least, have two dogs, so they can at least keep each other company all day – if you can manage that.

However, I’ve heard many stories of dogs just becoming accustomed to being alone, and turn out just fine. But if I was back in the 9-5, there’s no way I would take on the responsibility.

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Tuesday, August 11, 2009 1:05 pm

Great post. I’ve always said the best deal man ever made was that between us and dogs (and we still manage to screw it up). You captured exactly what it’s like living with a dog and having him/her as a friend. Thanks!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 12:10 am

Oops, sorry for the double quote…that’s what you get when you cut and paste while a little emotional…*cough*…talk amongst yourselves…

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 12:05 am

First of all great post, I think it really hits home with anyone who hadn’t set out to be a “dog person” but did. The only bad part about this article and the comments is I had just turned off my own waterworks when I finally got caught up on the past week’s posts. I rescued my 8 year old GSD/lab mix, Sunny, and learned a lot about dogs, but even more about myself. The old me would have balked at making plans based on how long I was at work, regular feeding and walking, having a normal conversation with my (at times disinterested) canine pal, shelling out $$$$ on daycare, vet bills, carpet cleaning, etc. Now, 7.5 years later, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. All the twists and turns that life threw at me, and one constant was my loyal pal. Like many blessings in life, I think we take them for granted, even with best of intentions. In May I found out Sunny had cancer (lymphoma) and untreated, he would have been gone in weeks. Within just a few days he had no energy, and seemed in distress. Even Mr. Aloof could always be counted on to thump down, all 100 lbs of him, on the floor alongside my bed as soon as it was lights out. But for those few days all that could be heard was him trying to catch his breath. After just a couple weeks of chemo, he was better than new, seemed… Read more »

Monday, August 10, 2009 4:34 pm

Great article!

It IS weird — dogs pick up your mannerisms. I rarely command my 4-year old pit mix. He just knows his way around the block, where he is allowed to go, “c’mon,” “wait,” “nope” “this way.” its amazing.

their memory also amazes me:

i used to live on 8th street for two years in a basement apartment. 4-5 times a day, the dog and I would go for walks to the park. havent been back there in 3 years or so. last week, i took the pooch to Elysian Park to change things up — and happen to walk by my old place. He immediately hooked a left and started walking down the steps as if he had just lived there yesterday.


Monday, August 10, 2009 11:46 am

Great Article!! On your quandary about “city dogs”, having a dog who loves the outdoors and the joy that he exudes when he running wild in the woods, has provided a great reason for my wife and me, to get out of Hoboken on the weekend and hit the trails. We have discovered some great trails all with in an hour, Ramapo, Norvin Green, Harriman etc. The time spent hiking has provided unexpected benefits, besides the exercise and the my dogs glee, getting of the grid for an afternoon and to just communicate one on one with my wife has solidified our bond. We now plan vacations based on being able to bring our guy with us and they have been the best vacations imaginable, road trips to Nova Scotia, Quebec ski trip (yes, my dog has been out the country twice!!!), camping in Shenandoah Valley, road trip to Arkansas and this past summer the three of hiked Mt Washington!!! Our rock star Husky has brought us sooo much pleasure, I just can”t imagine life with him.

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