Our new puppy, Charlie, is an early riser; most days, he awakens well before sunrise.

He’s potty-trained but still has accidents, at least one per day. They tend to happen at the most random times and in the most random places.

He’s an eating machine, always ready for another meal. We have to watch him carefully, lest he eat Mollie’s dinner or the cats’ food after he’s finished his own.

He’s teething, so he chews on everything – furniture, shoes, clothes, human fingers. He’s ripped numerous toys to shreds, leaving pieces of fluff and stuffing scattered around the house.

Sticks, leaves, dirt, the most minute pieces of life – all end up in his mouth. No matter how thoroughly we clean the floors, he will find the one fragment left behind. I’m constantly fishing something out from between his little jaws.

To put it simply, he’s high maintenance. His energy and carefree, youthful, happy-go-lucky nature necessitate constant awareness and attention. My days are filled with What’s Charlie doing where’s Charlie no Charlie no Charlie good boy Charlie come here Charlie let’s go Charlie Charlie Charlie Charlie.

He’s also overjoyed to see me anytime I’ve been out of his sight for more than a few minutes. Overjoyed. Bouncing, wiggling, tail-wagging, putting-his-paws-up-to-be-held kind of joy.

When I hold him, he snuggles against me, putting his head in the gap between my head and my shoulder, and gives tiny, contented sighs. When he’s ready for a nap, he’ll curl against me, a warm bundle of fur and happiness.

And when he looks at me, it’s with one of three expressions: cute curiosity, total trust, or absolute adoration. I am his Favorite, his One Above All Others, his Most Beloved.

Dear little Charlie, I sincerely doubt that I’ll ever be as worthy of your affection as you believe me to be. But, I promise I’ll never stop trying.

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