I'm not sure if I've ever shared Duncan's birth story here. Maybe it's all felt too sacred to write out. Basically an angel appeared in my bedroom holding him and telling me Jebuz had sent me good tidings of great joy. It was the best thing that's ever happened to me.

Duncan was such a perfect puppy that everyone gets to go to heaven now. He saved us. He wiped away all our sins by licking them.

He used to follow me around the house in a little half-trot-half-bounce just looking for ways to help. By eight months he was doing our laundry and serving as our pro bono legal counsel. By his first birthday he had remodeled our kitchen and organized our linen closet. I can't prove it, but I believe he is solely responsible for saving the world's bee population.

Duncan has remained a perfect creature in the nearly eight years since.

I've written here before about how annoying it is that our house does not have a door to the enclosed backyard. We just have a door to our open driveway at the side of the house. This wasn't a big deal for a long time because Duncan would never try to run away (he knows I would die on the spot if he did) so we could just let him out the side door and trust him to go to the backyard and do some gardening. When he's ready to come back inside, he just politely taps the side door with his tiny pure little Dorito paw and then sits down and waits for us to come and open it.

It was perfect and wholesome and adorable. Everything was great.

But then Louie showed up in our lives.

I believe the universe sent Louie to teach me patience. And self-control. And the true meaning of unconditional love and what that looks like when it is tested to brink of sanity.

Louie is a little shit. An extremely cute, hilarious, playful, strong, demanding little shit. He's so naughty he canceled out Duncan's atonement so now we're all back on the hook for our sins. He's so stubborn and mischievous I'm technically entitled to FEMA assistance. He's a terror. Yet somehow I love him so much I would walk through fire for him.

Louie cannot be trusted to use the side door responsibly. If we open that door and let him run out, he sprints to the front yard and stands there until we go and negotiate a complex multi-party international peace deal with him involving treats, walks, car rides, prisoner swaps, and sometimes just straight up cash. (In our house we believe you shouldn't negotiate with terrorists, but we do it anyway.)

We know he's doing this just to hurt us. How do we know this? Because we can take Louie hiking off leash and he's perfectly fine. He doesn't run away. He comes when we call him. Louie only sprints to the front yard because he knows we don't want him to. That is the only reason he does it.

"Well, Eli, why don't you just take him to the backyard on a leash instead of repeatedly learning the hard way how this consistently plays out?"

Oh! Look at you! So smart! Where were you two years ago!?

Except, no. That does not work. Why doesn't that work? Well, for one, Louie can open the door himself. He taught himself to do that. And two, even if we have remembered to lock and barricade it like the singing revolutionaries in Les Misérables, he is also very good at hiding and then sprinting through it when we open it to let ourselves out.

This problem has gotten so bad that I swear to Jebuz I recently suggested we move and I even started looking at houses.

I was going to move. Away from my home. Because of a dog.

If you are wondering how much Louie has disrupted our lives, I would invite you to re-read that last paragraph.

Then one day Skylar was like "why don't we just get a gate for the driveway to close off access?" and he said it so casually, like he hadn't been sitting on a basic solution to a problem we talk about every day as if there's nothing we can do about it.

And yes, it probably does not reflect well on me that this idea never came to my mind. But this isn't about me right now. This is about Skylar. And Louie. I'm the victim. My eyes are up here, guys.

Seconds after Skylar suggested this I googled gates, clicked on the very first link to reward the advertisers, and contacted a man to come out. He showed up a few days later, took some measurements, and sent me a bid for a gate that must have been made out of solid gold and Taylor Swift tickets because it was $195 million dollars.

Obviously I don't have $195 million dollars and if I ever did I would have immediately spent it on booze and babes, cause, well, you know how I am. So I gave up on my gate dream for like a month. Until one day Skylar was like "why don't we just get another bid from someone else?" and I don't know where he learned these incredible life hacks but the man should write a book is all I'm saying.

So then I clicked on the second google link and contacted that guy and he came out and took the exact same measurements and sent me a bid for $9 and a slap on the ass and I signed that electronic contract so fast it left permanent skid marks across the internet.

They came out last week to dig all the way to the Earth's core to put in the posts and so much concrete the planet is now lopsided. They are coming back tomorrow to install the gate, including a solar operated automation mechanism. When I tell you we've never been more excited for anything—well, let's just say we get emotional when we talk about it (only in hushed voices).

I think Louie is figuring out what is happening. Yesterday I took the dogs for a walk and when we went by the posts he stopped to pee on them while glaring at me. This morning I caught him looking through my internet search history and bank transactions.

Lord help us if this dog learns how to operate the remote.

~It Just Gets Stranger