1. Don’t be upset when I jump for joy when you come through the door.
I only live for eleven or thirteen years. You are what makes that time enjoyable. It’s hard on me when you go away.
2. Give me your trust.
Just like I trust you, I need you to trust me, too.
3. Give me time to understand what you want from me.
I don’t always get it right on the first try, but I promise I’m trying as hard as I can.
4. Don’t be angry with me for too long.
And please don’t lock me up to punish me. You have your friends and family to keep you happy and entertained. I just have you.
5. Talk to me.
Sure, we don’t speak the same language, but the sound of your voice brightens my whole day.
6. Take me inside when the weather gets bad.
The backyard doesn’t have air conditioning or a heater. You don’t have to let me on the couch, but a small part of the kitchen is much better than sleeping in the snow.
7. Comfort me when I’m scared.
You know a lot more about loud noises, strange people, and new places than I do. I need to know that you’ll protect me from them. I always feel safer when I’m with you.
8. Remember that I’ll never forget how you treat me.
Teach me that humans are made of love, not pain. And don’t ever let me forget it.
9. Come outside with me.
The sights, sounds, and scents of nature are some of my greatest pleasures in life. I don’t care if we play, go for a walk, or just sit under a tree together — I want you to experience them with me.
10. Give me a treat ever once in a while.
Food is one of my greatest pleasures in life. I know you want me to be healthy, so I understand when you don’t share your own meals with me. But giving me a dog biscuit when I’ve been good or mixing tastyvegetables mixed in with my dinner is guaranteed to make me wag my tail extra hard.
11. Let me make new friends.
Introduce me to other dogs, cats, or even bigger animals. We might now get along in the end, but having some more friends that look and smell like me makes my life that much brighter.
12. Please don’t hit me.
I have teeth that can crush bone. Instead, I cover you in sloppy, wet kisses. Just as I choose not to hurt you, please make the choice to not hurt me.
13. Show me your world.
The house and yard might be the only places I ever see unless you let me come with you. A trip to the pet store, the park, or even just a ride in the car is exhilarating for me. I can’t wait to see what you want to show me.
14. Understand when I need my alone time.
I love you more than anything, but even though it’s rare, I don’t always want to play or cuddle. Don’t be sad if I’d rather sleep on the cold tile floor instead of in your bed on hot summer nights, and be understanding if I don’t want to play as much as the years go on.
15. Teach me new things.
Learning new tricks keeps my mind active, but most of all, it gives me a way to impress you. I love showing off for your friends, looking up at you, and seeing how proud of me you are.
16. Pay attention if I don’t seem like myself.
It might seem like I’m just being lazy or stubborn, but I might not be feeling well. I can’t get help for myself, and I need you to look out for me.
17. Let me get dirty once in a while.
Your world is inside, but I thrive outdoors. Sometimes I find a lot of mud or a lake that smells like all of its fishy inhabitants. I understand if you don’t want to wash all that stuff off every day, but as long as it’s safe, let me go back to my wild roots every now and then.
18. Love me when I’m old just as much as you did when I was young.
I might not be the cute puppy that I once was, but I still love you just as much now as I did then. Please take care of me when my body doesn’t work like it used to.