My husband rescued him from a Phoenix animal shelter back in the summer of 2010, which makes Mr. Mercury approximately five years old. Using this terrific online Dog Years Calculator, I have determined that if Mercury were a human, he would be 33.
Which means he's got a few years on me, and, as I have to come to realize, wisdom does indeed come with age. Look at those Buddha Eyes (yet another nickname I've burdened him with) - this dog is undoubtedly tapped into how to live a happy life.
1. Love Your People
After getting married, I was worried Mercury would resent me for crashing the bachelor lifestyle he and my husband had been enjoying previously. What if he thinks of me as some Evil Step Dog Mom?
My husband assured me that Mercury loves everyone, and he is particularly fond of women.
This is so true. Mercury trails behind me faithfully at all hours. In the morning I let him out of his kennel. He putters slowly into the kitchen to watch me make coffee, and then follows my husband and I to the family room to sit at our feet while we spend a few minutes together on the couch before our respective work days begin.
Meanwhile, when we have friends over, Mercury is at the door waiting to greet guests with a heartfelt lunge and jump. If he's especially fond of you, you'll probably get one or both knees licked.
What a thought, right? Unbridled joy and affection for those you love, along with real interest in meeting new friends.
2. Get Outside
There are some mornings where I look outside and think, Gosh, that looks cold, or I don't want to get rained on.... But a dog's gotta move, and he's got the right idea about getting outside to get our energy up. Once I suit up (or snow-suit up), the fresh air does us both good.
My friend joins us for our walks once a week, and Mercury adores her. Sometimes he pauses to look back at us with a goofy dog grin, as if to say, Isn't this the BEST, guys?
Every walk is the BEST to him, because he has such a grateful approach to being able to move and play and take in our surroundings.
He's also fantastic about letting us throw five tennis balls at once, putting on a real show as he slides across the hardwood floors in a valiant but ultimately futile effort to get them all.
Never self-conscious, Mercury lets my husband mess with him by putting all kinds of things on the dog - sometimes he tries to balance a cat on Merc's back, or, as can be observed above, outfits the dog in safety glasses and noise-cancelling headphones.
The guy's a sport.
4. Be There For Others
When we take Mercury to the dog park or Petsmart he's like a freaking celebrity, where people oooh and ahhh over his coloring and build. Merc revels in it, patiently letting children pull his ears or grab his fur to "pet" him. My husband has suggested we dress him incognito, in sunglasses and a hat from now on.
He seems to sense who is a friend and who is a potential threat. A month ago, a very strange thing happened. My husband was still at work but it was fairly late - perhaps 7:00 pm. I was reading on our couch. I heard the doorknob turn, and a man who I thought was my husband walk in.
Except Mercury FREAKED OUT, and wouldn't stop barking. That's odd, I thought, knowing he wouldn't do that to my husband. Sure enough - IT WASN'T MY HUSBAND. It was some guy, who looked equally surprised to be in our home. Mercury positioned himself between myself and the man, as I had to ask him twice to please leave. What finally convinced him to go? Me pointing to the dog and saying, Really - you need to go.
This dog is committed to helping and protecting others when they need it.
5. Rest And Recover
This dog naps like a champ. After our walk, he laps up a bowl of water (slopping half of it onto the floor), chomps on some puppy chow, and then hits the rug to rest up.
And when I'm not looking, he even sneaks onto the couch for maximum self-indulgence. He's all about the Treat Yo Self lifestyle.
Take it from Merc - it works.