Franklin Delano Pug, Part One

I never truly feel like I have it all together. When I made a joke about my inability to adult well, a friend said that I’m good at making it appear like I have everything together. He inundated me with reassurements about my levelheadedness, professionalism, and grounded attitude. While I agreed to an extent, all I thought about was the time no one sees me. There’s no regular gym schedule; although I can cook like an amateur Jon Favreau in Chef, my diet is adequate at best; I’d rather cheat and use a dryer to get the wrinkles out of clothes than risk burning my clothes with an iron. You get it.

How did I end up adopting a (mostly untrained) puppy?

The nature of my job is to reside where I work. I am the only professional who lives on campus. Because of this, it can get lonely. I’m no native Long Islander, and I sorely miss being a full-time Brooklynite, but I will return permanently when I can. Of course I go out with friends, but those nights can become rote and are becoming fewer and farther between as we all continue to develop our lives. In short, having neighbors or a semblance of a regular community would be a welcome addition to my Long Island life.

Other inherent traits of my job include being a supervisor, counselor, support system, and a friend directly to a group of a dozen students, and an advocate for and authoritative figure to hundreds of others. I have to choose which hat I wear depending on the situation. Often I must wear multiple hats at once or keep changing my headwear throughout the course of a conversation. This can become exhausting, but doing it for a year now has taught me a lot about myself. Primarily, I have an empathetic instinct that is nigh impossible to ignore, and with that comes a desire to teach and educate others in assisting them to help themselves to become the best they can be. In short, I’m 23 and am such a dad. (My pun game is disgustingly strong.)

Growing up I’d always wanted a dog but my family never got one. My sister is too many years older than me that we didn’t develop a closer relationship until we were on the same life level. Living on my own now, I figured having a little furry friend around to play with and take care of would help a ton with those increasingly regular feelings of loneliness. The aforementioned friend’s girlfriend knew that I wanted to adopt a dog for some time now. One day, she texted me a few pictures of a 10-month-old pug named Franklin. She asked if I were interested; after learning how to explode in excitement while keeping my hopes level, I told her I was. The next day I met him; three days later, after his neutering, he came home.

It’s been a few days since Franklin arrived as a permanent fixture in my life. He doesn’t know any tricks or obedience outside of behaving when he’s in his crate. Otherwise, he is pure energy and love. I’m grateful for his crate training, but he still has some ways to go until entirely housebroken and behaving (e.g., no nipping, no jumping, etc.). When I met him, before he was neutered and sentenced to wear a plastic cone for two weeks, he was sweet and playful but also relaxed. Now, he’s all over the place and seems a different dog from the one who complemented me so nicely a week ago. I don’t know how to train a dog, and was not anticipating to train one in my halfhearted adoption search. Franklin seemed too good to be true almost immediately, so it comes as no surprise that he and a beautiful relationship with him would require more effort. Using friends’ knowledge and the internet as resources, I am learning to train Franklin. In turn, he’s training me to become more patient and understanding. So far Franklin is doing well with “no,” “good,” and how to walk nicely on a leash. This has only been in the past few days, but I hope he continues his training at this pace. I worry that I will be spread too thin come grad school beginning in the fall, along with the advent of another academic year of students to supervise.

I hope the cone is what’s frustrating him and that it’s not me or his environment. For the time being I can only be patient and optimistic until he loses the plastic and I better ascertain his attitude after his hormones adjust. When he’s good, he’s great; but when he misbehaves, he worries and frustrates me. Maybe he’s more like his old man than first thought.