There’s never been a better reason to get a dog. 

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Sid Evans

When my kids were little, they used to come running down the stairs screaming, “Daddy! Daddy!” every time I came home from a day at the office. They don’t do that anymore. For the last few years, I’ve been lucky to get so much as a “Hey, Dad,” from one of my frequently surly teenagers. But Rocky, our Jack Russell terrier, is always waiting expectantly by the window. Sometimes he comes bounding up the stone walk that leads to our driveway, and other times he’s so excited to see me he spins in circles.

Granted, he’s mostly eager for someone, anyone, to throw him a ball, but there is nothing like having that burst of affection at the end of a long day. It makes my heart swell every time, which is probably why I put up with all the challenges, expenses, and inconveniences of owning a dog (of which there are many). Rocky is more than an idle companion. He’s a family member, and his greatest trick is that he seems happy to see everyone in the Evans clan, not just me. When my wife comes home from so much as a trip to the grocery store, he actually bares his teeth and smiles.

For the past two months, as I’ve sheltered in place at home, our relationship has blossomed even more. Nowadays, he’s usually curled up in his dog bed at the foot of my desk, and he’s always game for a walk, a run, or a quick game of fetch. I think it’s fair to say that I’ve spent more time with Rocky than I have in years, and we’re both okay with that. I do miss those exuberant greetings at the end of each day, but whenever I start working at the office again, I know he’ll be here waiting for my car to turn into the driveway, constant as ever.