Yep, it's been pretty serious for almost three years now.
On my 24th birthday, still hungover from the night before, I stumbled into my favorite pet store downtown and bought a dog. I was a bit heartbroken from my last relationship (yet still sleeping with him) and I saw a cute clearance puppy in the corner. They say when you meet the right person, you just know (I wouldn't, since I haven't), but when I held Lucy for the first time, she fell asleep in my arms and something in me said: buy the d*mn dog.
A few hours later, Lucy and I were sitting on my bedroom floor surrounded by hundreds of dollars worth of dog toys, training pads, a dog bed, treats and food, staring at each other, wondering: Now what? Those first few months were brutal and, honestly, I was a little unprepared for the incredible responsibility that comes with taking care of an animal without the help of Mom and Dad. Lucy will be three in March (yes, I might be throwing her a '21st' birthday party at a dog-friendly bar; you're all invited!), and we've grown accustomed to each other's routines.
She can go from being the absolute best part of my day to the worst, and she knows way more about me than my best friends. And love? It's pretty unconditional. In a lot of ways, she's the longest, most significant relationship I've ever had. She's kind of like, my, um boyfriend? Here’s how:
1. We're Not Morning People
1. We're Not Morning People. That 5 a.m. flight we took to visit my family? Neither of us were fans. She had water and kibble, I sipped coffee. We both cursed the wee hours.
2. We Have Pillow Talk
2. We Have Pillow Talk. When I don't want to get up to go to work, when I can't fall asleep, or after a bad date, Lucy is always there to lend an ear (and sometimes a kiss and a paw) to make it better.
3. We Recover From Hangovers Together
3. We Recover From Hangovers Together. She might not join me for a night out like a boyfriend would, but when I come home drunk, she patiently walks me—er, I mean, I walk her. And if I'm hungover the next day, she gladly spends the day cuddling in bed.
4. She Doesn't Care If I Wear Makeup
4. She Doesn't Care If I Wear Makeup. Just like someone who really loves you, Lucy could care less if I have mascara, lipstick or foundation on when we hang out together. In fact, she prefers me a little sweaty and smelly (like her).
5. We Cook Together
5. We Cook Together. It's not very romantic, but she is very thorough with her cleaning skills.
6. She Doesn't Like It When I Shop For Her
6. She Doesn't Like It When I Shop For Her. Like a guy, she doesn't really like being told what to do, especially if it involves velcro booties she has to wear to go outside in the winter.
7. She Calls Me Out For Being Messy
7. She Calls Me Out For Being Messy. She's nice about it, but sometimes Lucy gives me that same look ex-boyfriends have given me: "Hey, babe, you think you could clean this up so I can lay down? And oh, rub my belly."
8. She's a Fan Of My Boobs
8. She's a Fan Of My Boobs. Sadly, I think Lucy has felt my boobs many more times in the past three years than dudes have. Sigh.
9. We Moved Apartments Together
9. We Moved Apartments Together. It had been nearly two years, and we both decided it was time. Uptown was great, but we needed a livelier area, a cleaner apartment, and more room for shoes and toys. So we packed it up and moved together downtown.
10. She Misses Me When I'm Gone
10. She Misses Me When I'm Gone. Sometimes in relationships, you have to spend time apart to realize how much you miss each other. I'll admit it, I was happy to go to Europe for 10 days without Lucy. But I did bring her back toys and treats all the way across the Atlantic.
11. We Have Date Nights (With Booze)
11. We Have Date Nights (With Booze). She never pays (rude), but she's more than happy to join me for a happy hour, a walk around town or shopping. She never complains and often licks things she thinks I'd like.
12. We Don't Always Have Much To Say
12. We Don't Always Have Much To Say. After being together for a long time, we're pretty content staying in together, relaxing and not saying much. It's an easy-going kind of relationship.
13. She Picks Fights With Me
13. She Picks Fights With Me. Just like a cranky guy coming home from a long day at work, she can go from snuggling me to nipping at me in five seconds. Luckily, making up is pretty easy. (I just put her off the bed.)
14. I've Met Her Friends
14. I've Met Her Friends. I wouldn't set her friends up with mine—they're kind of smelly and sniff inappropriate places—but they're awfully cute. And Lucy is never ashamed to claim me as her's.
15. I Seriously Can't Think Of Anything I Love More
15. I Seriously Can't Think Of Anything I Love More. It'll take a hell of a guy that can love me as much as I love Lucy. Must love dogs? Belly rubs? Throwing squeaky toys and being OK with chew sticks all over the apartment? All mandatory for my next boyfriend... and um, Lucy's daddy.