Our new pup. (photo: NHS)

Meet Quincy. He’s our brand new puppy. As I write this, he’s snuggled up right at my feet. How did he learn that so quickly?

I grew up in a dog-skeptic (certainly agnostic) family. There were concerns about my sister’s allergies (probably more with cats), costs, hassles, responsibilities, limitations on travel, etc. I never learned to value pets, except for some short-lived goldfish.

Luckily, my wife grew up with dogs. She’s not only experienced, she’s smart. She prepared me and the kids for the responsibilities, the benefits, and the tradeoffs. I have a pretty good idea that when the kids’ infatuation phase with Quincy diminishes, I’m going to be the one doing much of the ‘work.’ I’m OK with that.

I’ve read up on the ‘health benefits’ of dog ownership. In a couple of days I can already see and anticipate further the tremendous emotional rewards for our whole family, Quincy included. There will be physical benefits, too. Here is but one example of research showing that people regularly walking a dog are healthier on average than those who don’t. A lot of this reinforces the simple, clear message I’ve shown before: just walk. Dog or no dog.