Romeo was born on June 8, 2009. I first met him on June 23, at just two weeks old. We brought him home on August 1 of that year, just a few days shy of eight weeks old. There are some things I miss about that time, like that small period of time when his world revolved around me and he had not yet realized there was a big wide exciting world to explore beyond me. There are also some things that I do not miss for a minute, like shark-like puppy teeth and poor bladder control.

It's hard to believe that he will be six years old this year, 2015. Some days it seemed as if he would never reach maturity. Each year, he grew more mature but still maintained some of that adolescent dog trouble-making attitude. Some days it seemed he was such a great dog and had learned so much. Then the next day he would remind me we still had a lot of work to do.

Romeo and I had quite the adventures together during the years he was a puppy and an adolescent dog. Yes, you read that right, YEARS. Each year around his birthday, I remember thinking he was so much more mature than the year before. At two years, then three years, then four years, I would think. . . He is finally maturing and settling down a bit. Life will be so much easier now. Then around October or so, the fall weather would roll in, it would cool off, and he'd be as rambunctious as ever! Then I would realize part of his “settling down” each year around his birthday had as much to do with the warmer weather as it did with his actually getting older and maturing.

It's fun to read blog posts and excerpts from my Juvenile Delinquent Dogs book (full of stories about our challenges during Romeo's adolescence) from those earlier years and remind myself of all we went through together. Passage of time definitely makes it easier to laugh at those times when I remember getting frustrated with him for his adolescent dog antics. I remember times when I would think we were not as far along with our training as we should be, and he was not as responsive as he should be. But I would always remind myself that I needed to be patient and everything would eventually fall into place. . . with both the combination diligent training and time and maturity.

I would not trade any of that time for the world. We have both grown and matured and taught each other a ton. While I would like to think I taught Romeo a lot, I will always know that he has taught me more than I could ever teach him.

Happy birthday, my beloved snuggle bug!

Romeo at 8 weeks, when we first brought him home, not yet an adolescent dog

Romeo at 8 weeks, when we first brought him home

Romeo, just a couple weeks shy of his 6th birthday, and well past being an adolescent dog