The Puppy Effect

Thanks to Joy...

...my son is no longer afraid of dogs or, at least, of all dogs. There is now one dog in the world whom he thinks is actually pretty cute--and cuddly.

...I have seen many of my departmental colleagues in a whole new light, smiling and excited and not a little bit playful.

...I have a whole new topic of conversation with my fencing friends, many of whom it turns out have--and love--dogs. Oddly enough, my fencing has also improved remarkably in the past month, since I got Joy.

...my days begin with a glimpse of magic, the sky still dark and the air crisp, everything quiet and still. This morning, the moon was hanging just above the buildings to the south and the ground was glowing with yesterday's snow.

...I have met all sorts of people who live around my building, not to mention dozens of students on campus. It helps, I know, that Joy is still a puppy, but she is also a beautiful dog. I know, because I hear people talking about her even when they don't ask to pet her.

...our friends with whom we have been watching videos at their place for the past ten years have come over to our apartment for dinner and a movie so that they can play with the puppy. Mind you, for much of that time, we didn't have a television, but now we have both the television and the dog, our home is also a place where people will come.

...I am no longer alone when I go to my office on campus. I have been on walks (well, sort of) along the Midway, not just gazed Rapunzel-like out at the gardens wishing I could be outside.

...I have watched great flocks of cow birds (or crows? [Update: my neighbor says they're starlings]) fly over our yard at dusk, their progress punctuated by caws. Thanks to Joy, our whole neighborhood now seems filled with life: other dogs, the birds calling as we take our walks, the animals leaving the mystery poops in our backyard.

...my legs are already in much better shape, thanks to having those two flights of stairs to climb every time I take her out.

...I am willing to take the time during the day on campus to talk with my colleagues and students outside of office hours as long as they will come on a walk with me--and Joy.

...my slippers will never be the same again. But it's worth it to see her trot down the hall with them, so proud of what she's found.

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