Today our beloved dog, ROMEO, just turned one year old!!  He has been part of our family since Thanksgiving last year and has been a riot for us, but has grown to be a great house dog.  When we first got him home from an Amish family in Pennsylvania, he was a very shy dog and had to go through a series of training developments.  It only took two weeks to train him to go potty outside, but now he has his ways of letting us know when he has to go.  He gives me one signal and my wife another signal when he has to go.  I tell you constantly cleaning up his poop and pee from the carpet and kitchen floor was hard, but paid off in the end.  Now he sometimes lets me know at bad periods, especially when it is raining outside.  He will wake me up from a deep sleep by jumping halfway on the bed and wait for me to take him out so he can do his business.  I must admit sometimes I don’t feel like it, but I know if I don’t he will whine and whine until he does and get more agitated to where I will have to get up.

We used to have to feed him at least three to four times a day, but now he is used to eating only twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.  Since we brought him home last year it has been a joy and at times, like any dog or child you have, there have been bad days with him.  Our worse time with him now is when we leave him home alone, but he doesn’t always tear stuff up, but if he does it is usually paper and magazines.  I can definitely say being a proud owner of him he doesn’t go to the bathroom in the apartment when we leave him alone for hours at a time.  We leave him home more so during the summer because of the heat and don’t want a dead dog in the backseat of my car when we return from grocery shopping.  Training him on the leash was somewhat of a challenge, but he learned real quick to just go with it.  Now when we take him outside to use the bathroom he will almost pull us downstairs to rush outside.  My wife has fallen a few times in this event and at one time let the leash go.  He took off running down the street thinking he wouldn’t come back, but his loyalty showed and he ran back whining and crying for his mother.  Also he isn’t real aggressive with us eating our food as he will sit there patiently knowing that soon he will get his fair share of our food, even if he already ate.  Greedy ass!

People constantly compliment us on his clear black coat and even at times get his breed wrong, which he is a full bread Labrador.  We’ve had people ask us is he a pit-bull or some other dog that in no way resembles that breed.  He is still shy around other people when we take him out, but with some people in our apartment building he has grown accustom to seeing them and doesn’t always rush by them when he sees them on the steps sitting or hanging around.  He is always ready to please us and keeping a routine for him is essential to raising him and keeping him on an even keel.  Having him here has given us physical scares because he plays so rough at times, but even that has slowed down a bit.  He loves going on long walks with us and at times I will run with him up and down the sidewalk to release some of the energy he has stored up.  I can certainly say in some small way he keeps me in shape in that regard.  With all the bad times with him and most of the good times with him we wouldn’t change it for the world.  Until we have children, he has become our “dog child” and we have become his parents.  My mother in law loves him to death and at times will mail him packages to our apartment.  It is funny to see him react to packages coming here like he knows for sure it is for him.  However, he has definitely taken our attitude for people coming to our apartment door with or without being announced.  He is so protective of his layer and of us that when we answer the door he gets upset and constantly barking at the person to leave.

This is my wife’s first dog and my first dog of my own without living with my parents.  I love it and would do it again and again until I can’t care for a dog anymore.  He knows when we go to bed and knows his spot where to lay in the bedroom and only lies on the bed when I am not in the bed or home.  It’s like he calls himself replacing me as my wife lies in the bed getting her sleep on.  The only issue we have had with him is his ears, which we believe we have been fighting ear mites.  Trying to keep him from scratching his ears to death and leaving blood everywhere has been a challenge, but he has learned not to scratch them as much.  All in all Romeo has grown into an awesome dog and hopefully we have many birthdays with him in the future.  I would say he has given us practice in caring for a child when we have one, which will be another challenge we will have to face when that time comes.  We don’t think he will be aggressive as we have read that Labs are great with children and babies.  The only time we have seen him aggressive is with a certain Boxer that walks around the neighborhood.  For some reason he doesn’t like this Boxer, but at this time the Boxer just ignores him and continues to walk with its owner.

I can definitely say I love this dog with all my heart and would be devastated if something bad happened to him without growing old and dying of age.  Maybe within another year or two we may get one or two more dogs to keep him company, but we will cross that bridge when we get to it.  But I must say to him, HAPPY BIRTHDAY ROMEO!!! WE LOVE YOU BOY!! 🙂

P.S. – The picture of him posted above is when he was just four months old.  I will post a more current picture of him at a later date.


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