Bonding: From new dog to best friend


It’s funny to think that there was a time that Teddy, the furry love of my life, felt like a stranger to me. But he did for a while.

I recently asked my wife Janie, “When did you know Teddy was, y’know, our dog?”

She didn’t take much time to think it over. “The night we drove him home,” she said. She and Teddy had sat in the back seat together. It was a two-hour drive, and he curled up with her, resting his head on her lap as she pet him. They were like that for almost the whole ride.

I took a little more time to bond with Teddy. For months, I felt like some strange wolfman was living in our house, getting into our trash while we were gone, running out the front door when we opened it, and stealing food off the counters when we weren’t looking. Then we took him on a 20-hour road trip from North Carolina to Maine. He was awesome in the car, he was sweet with our family, and he never once ran away into the wild woods of Maine. I found out that I could trust him on that trip. I also learned something my wife already knew. Teddy was our dog.

I asked some of my colleagues at Dognition the same question.

Becky, Dognition’s Chief Marketing Officer, said that her bond with Shirley didn’t seem to happen in one moment, but over time. Her husband had found Shirley as a stray, and at first they weren’t planning on keeping her. Eventually, they brought her to the vet to make sure she was healthy, and the vet asked her name. So they called her Shirley. Eight years later, Shirley is still theirs.

For Carmen, our experience designer, it was more like love at first sight. She even says she knew her dog was named Ernie from the moment she saw him. “I saw this itty-bitty ball of black fur running up to me and I immediately loved him,” she said. “It’s been magic ever since.”

Naming wasn’t even a factor in the case of research associate Kerri and her dog Jackson. She and her family visited a local shelter, where they met a “litter of fuzzballs mutts.” Each puppy was named after a letter in the alphabet. The family’s first two choices, E and B (the cutest one and the one with spots), were already spoken for. This left them with F, the one “with a scruffy, uneven coat and a belly full of worms.”

“We each took turns holding him, and within short moments we knew he was ours! He’s 11 years old now and reaching his golden years, but still as much a part of the family as he became that very first day.”

Is the canine-human bond so strong that we can feel it when it happens?

When did you know that you and your dog had bonded? When did you know your dog was yours?

(photo by YouthfulSins)