As I sit here, attempting to write, there is a puppy nibbling on the back of my sweater. He’s just tall enough to reach through the back of my desk chair and use his tiny (sharp) teeth to get my attention. It’s play time! Of course, it’s been play time all morning long, but try telling this to a 5 month-old.

He’s difficult to photograph: when I get down to his level, he launches himself at me in a wriggling storm of licks, nibbles, large paws, and wagging tail. When he sleeps and I move one muscle to reach for my camera, he wakes and the wriggling begins again.

He is energy and happiness personified. He calms instantly when our hands hold him, when our voices speak in soothing tones. He steals pencils from children attempting to do homework, but relinquishes them gently with apologetic brown eyes. He worships our older dog and his presence both invigorates and calms her: she finally has a smaller pack member of whom she is in charge (until he grows larger than she, which we expect he will).

Most importantly, he was adopted, not purchased. His gentle nature and kind spirit have nothing to do with documented bloodlines, and we did not find him in a pet store or via a breeder. He came from the kennels of the SPCA. He’s a combination of at least two breeds of dog and he is an example of all the good things that come from rescuing animals. He adores us, and we him.

Please remember, when you are looking to add a set of paws to your home, to always adopt rather than purchase: you will be forever glad that you did.