Well, it's been two years, almost to the day, since we brought home a tiny ball of fur and energy we named Monnie.
We picked her up from a breeder - who is a Trumbull County native, by the way - after telling the worst made-up story you could possibly imagine in the lamest attempt to surprise Kyle about getting a new puppy.
Either way, it didn't matter because in the end he truly didn't see it coming that this tiny little female brindle boxer (arguably the cutest one ever) was actually his to take home and keep.
Ah, Monnie. Official name: Monica, after my maternal grandmother. Unofficial names: the Mon, Monstrosity, Moan-ey, Monocle and Monster Mash.
In the 24 months since joining our family, Monnie has eaten through about a dozen shoes and twice as many socks, swallowed countless bees, branches and beetles, accidentally cold-cocked a sparrow, ruined several rugs and one very expensive skirt - and in a matter of seconds, took out every spring flower we'd planted on our little plat of ground at camp.
After that, I dubbed her "Tulip Slayer" for a while.
She has even eaten through her travel crate - which clearly didn't agree with her because she relieved herself of its remnants on our camper bedroom comforter immediately thereafter.
And yet, of all the afore-mentioned unorthodox meals / chew toys combined - they are scads better than the other thing I catch her eating her from time to time ... her own, um, recycled dog food.
Blech and hmpf.
Let me put it this way have you seen the movie "Marley and Me?" Well, that's our Monnie. She would handily fail charm or obedience school and is infamously awkward. She, like her human mommy, is the absolute antithesis of grace.
The funny thing is, at nearly 70 pounds and with the biggest, clumsiest paws this side of Sasquatch, folks who don't know her are actually afraid of Monnie when they see her lumbering down the road.
One little scratch behind her floppy ears or a light rub of her white tummy, and she's all yours, people. The only thing she's going to attack anyone with is saliva because she wants to kiss everyone. Like, all the time.
Ferocious? Well, maybe if you're her crate. That's the only thing in the world she truly hates, and it's only because she knows it means she's going to be sitting alone for a while.
Indeed, what Monnie wants more than anything in the world is to be where we are, period. That's it. That's all she needs.
Yep, that tail of hers is wagging its fastest as she's playing "hide and seek" around the kitchen table with Kyle chasing her - um, she thinks we can't see her hind end sticking out when she stops and hides her head between chairs, you see.
Or when she's boxing with Kerry - literally.
And, I know you won't believe this, but she actually talks to me sometimes telling me about when Kyle has left her to go play ball with the neighborhood kids or if Kerry has gone for a run without her.
Like me, she's a sensitive gal.
In fact, the other day I was crying about something, and I swear on all that is holy that she jumped up onto her back legs, wrapped her massive front paws around my waist, hugged me and licked up my tears.
I know the anti-dog contingent doesn't understand this, but Monnie really, truly is a member of our family.
And, unlike the homo sapiens in the house who can be flippant, rude or unkind to each other, Monnie never takes us for granted, and she never tires of seeing us. For her, it's like the first time, every time, no matter how long we've been away.
Yep, our Monnie - just like Max, Courtney and Schultzy before her - has a place in our hearts that is unreachable for anyone but her. It really is no coincidence about how the backward spelling of word dog explains what a true gift man's best friend is - and from whom it was given.
Happy second anniversary of becoming a Kimerer, Monnie!
Oh and a happy belated birthday to my father. I love you, Pop. So does Monnie.
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist and adorer of dogs, even wet-mouthed, sloppy ones. Contact her with tips on how to get slobber stains out of draperies at email@example.com.