We found Hayden when we were looking to add an old dog to our family. We’d been through puppyhood with Clay and as adorable as puppies are, we weren’t looking to repeat that, so we started our search with the following criteria: 1) bigger than Clay; 2) at least five years old. Hayden was listed as a six-year old, a medium-sized Shepherd, so he fit the bill. He was emaciated and hairless and limping a bit from street life, but we didn’t see any behavioral red flags, so we brought him home. Within the first two months, his fur came back in solidly black around the muzzle. His energy came back in full force, he embraced his I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-my-legs puppy-gait, and we took him to the vet to be re-evaluated.

“Probably just barely two,” our vet said. C and I exchanged looks and sighed. Hayden wasn’t the old, tired dog we had been expecting. Still, his unexpected two-year-oldness was no fault of his own, so we hired a dog trainer to help us corral his energy and stocked up on dog food and indestructible toys. These days, when we get annoyed with Hayden, we tell him, “You’re the worst old dog ever!” to remind ourselves that he’s still a puppy. He’s not yet a Good Boy, but he’s easy to love because you can see him trying so very hard to please. He’s definitely got promise — he is very much a German Shepherd — and some day, he might even be a Very Good Boy. Maybe when he’s six.

me: wook at dis puppy!
C: i bet hayden was cute once
m: he’s still cuuuute

C: kinda