On a frigidly cold morning, after a brisk walk that was not of my own choosing, I ask: why do we keep dogs?

Any number of people could give many answers, especially those who consider themselves “dog people.”

I am not one of them. The simple answer for how a dog came to live in my house is because Samuel really really really wanted one and promised faithfully to look after him.

You can imagine how that worked out.

Dogs are not items of convenience that you can play with for a while and put back on the shelf: they can be demanding critters. Our dog is a wild man. If he doesn’t get several good walks every day, he treats the house like a combination obstacle course and race track. Whether he walks or not, without relatively frequent baths he adds a certain cachet to the house that does nothing good for my nose.

And it doen’t matter if it’s 20 degrees or less outside and before dawn or late at night — he still needs to walk, and I still have to rein him in on the leash and pick up his poop and keep him from chasing dry leaves into the path of an oncoming car. Today I also have to deliver a scoop of poop to the vet because he’s due a “fecal” or they won’t let him stay in the kennel during Christmas.

Why do i have a dog? I can think of lots of reasons why I’d rather not — but he still makes Samuel laugh and smile, and I guess that’s reason enough.

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