After reading that recent article about how living with dogs and cats can make your kids more healthy, I decided to add my own list about living with Ben and how he has enriched our lives.
My house is tidier. All I have to say to the kids is "If you leave toys on the floor Ben will chew them" and they pick up! It's amazing. I'm not bluffing either. He will chew them.
He's a crime stopper. Like most neighbourhoods at the minute, break-ins are becoming more common. Having a big black dog with pointy teeth is a good burglar deterrent.
He vacuums my kitchen floor.
He loves us unconditionally and is always happy to see us. Can't say that about too many humans.
He cheers me up and calms me down. Whether I'm throwing a squeaky squirrel for him or just laying on the couch rubbing his belly, he is definitely a stress-buster.
He makes me laugh. His tail rotates like a helicopter when he wags it. He sometimes wags his tail so hard he falls over, he rearranges things in the house and gets our underwear out of the laundry basket when we leave him home alone, in fact each time we are at the front door the kids say excitedly "wonder what bonky Ben's done this time!" and he attacks my vacuum cleaner every time I use it.
Being only about 1-year old he still smells like a puppy and he has that puppy belly that you want to squish. Both human and animal babies have that smell don't they? One blog said it smells like hay, candy, vanilla and almond. I'm not sure about that, but it is a lovely smell.
Now there's a couple of idiosyncrasies I could do without. Jumping up onto the kitchen counter each day when we leave is not very hygienic. I know he does this because everything on the counter-top gets knocked over and there's slobber marks on the window by the sink where he has his nose pushed against it no doubt saying "where've they gone? Are they back yet?" And we still have to hide all trash cans and recycle when we leave, but he's getting better at being alone. He's only about 1 after all, just a toddler in dog years, and I don't know any toddlers that behave.