Drawing of a normal human heart.

When we first got our dog, Freja, I was worried about stuff like dog hair on my clothes and that “doggie smell” that can pervade everything. I found it annoying to get up at 2 a.m. to take her outside to pee because she couldn’t make it all the way through the night.

A drawing of a heart that is growing some hair.

Soon, a routine was established. There were favorite toys. She learned her name and came running when I called. I tried to snuggle; she resisted. She barked at me when she wanted a bone.

A drawing of a human heart that's getting furry.

We ran errands together. Walked. Hiked. Walked some more. She learned to read my expression and watch my hands for signals. She can smile. And often does.

A drawing of a furry human heart full of love for dogs.

There are 205 steps in every city block I walk with her. We walk in rain, snow, wind and heat. Sometimes I stalk along, wondering what the hell I’m doing out there. Then I look down at her as she trots along, stopping to nose something in the leaves, and realize that it’s because I’ve become truly dog-hearted.