Advice to my brother, who has just adopted his first dog, a 7-week-old puppy

As children, my brothers and I never had dogs or cats. Now, as adults, we all have dogs, and Julie and I have cats too. My middle brother was the last to convert; he and his new family just adopted his first dog a week ago.

I advised my brother from the vantage point of my three years’ greater experience. I said:

Several times over the course of the next few months you will feel like an abject failure, like you have been unable to succeed at this simple thing — raising a dog — that any moron can accomplish. You will feel that you did the dog a disservice by adopting her. You will feel utterly worthless as a human being, like the lowest slime that ever climbed out of a toxic waste dump.

This is normal. Nothing to worry about!