I knew it when he was three days old, and I nestled him under my jacket in the freezing cold, having reached blindly into the dark, disgusting kennel where he and his sister were born, the offspring of a feral dog kept by an animal hoarder in Lancaster, CA.
I knew it when he was almost adopted at two months old, and I couldn't let him go.
I knew it when he pretty much house-broke himself.
I knew it when he patiently spent two months crated after hip replacement surgery at the ripe old age of one year.
I knew it when he refused to jump in when Chloe and Daisy decided they hated each other, and the best course of action was to rip each others' throats out.
I know it every week, when I take him in for physical therapy, and the second the doors to the vet open there's a chorus of, "Moose!" (He has several girlfriends at physical therapy, although his favorite is Paloma. He LOVES her. She calls him the Brad Pitt of dogs.)
I know it every time he barks a warning at someone or something outside the house, and then stops when I tell him to.
I know it every night, when instead of sleeping on his bed, he sleeps in the hallway outside my bedroom, like he's just gonna hang there, just in case, y'know, anything happens. He's there. Don't you worry.
See? He's a cool dog.
Only I had no idea.
They say you don't know someone until you travel with them. After the last couple days, I kinda think the same is true of dogs. And what I know is this: Moose is that dog you dream about, the one you think someday you'll have. Y'know. THE dog.
Because here's the thing about Moose: He likes people, he likes other dogs, he likes kids, he rides well in the car, he walks beautifully on leash, and when you let him off leash, he comes when you call. When you tie him up outside a restaurant and go in to pick up an order, he sits quietly and attentively until you come back.
And, as I learned tonight, when you let him off leash at the dog beach, he runs headlong into the water, splashing with utter abandon. He runs and runs and runs, and it fills the world with joy.
If only I'd had my camera.
The good news is, I suspect he'll do the same thing tomorrow.