1. You go to your local animal shelter, JUST TO LOOK.
2. You mosey past cages of canines — big ones, small ones, puppies.
3. But then one particular pooch starts wagging his tail in your direction. He might stick his paw through an opening in the kennel, or offer your hand a soft lick.
4. Time stops for a moment, and then you realize: YOU’RE IN LOVE.
5. But you decide you need some time to really think about how having a dog would change your life. It’s a big deal!
6. Five minutes seems to be enough. You tell the volunteer you want to adopt, and she says you can pick up the little rascal tomorrow.
7. You go home and type up a list of everything you’ll need: leash, collar, water bowl, food, maybe a toy.
8. You can barely sleep you’re so excited to get your hands on the little guy.
9. You arrive at the shelter right when they open, and there he is — tongue panting, tail wagging — waiting for you.
10. You embrace, his paws wrap gleefully around your neck, and you depart the shelter as owner and dog.
11. You attempt to get him to sit in the passenger seat of the car, but he’s all over the place, clawing at the window, jumping on your lap and scavengering the floor for crumbs.
12. You stop off at the pet store and realize there’s a lot more you need to get: a dog bed, a brush, treats, medication, a harness, special shampoo… The list is endless, but you shell out the cash anyways.
13. When you get home, the new pup immediately relieves himself on the rug. Bad Fido!
14. While you’re cleaning up the mess, he ingests an earring that had fallen behind your dresser.
15. You rush him to the animal hospital, and a few hundred dollars and an hour later, he’s A-OK.
16. Exhausted, you settle into bed, creating a cozy nest of pillows and blankets in his crate for him to sleep.
17. But he doesn’t want anything to do with his crate if you’re not in it. Headstrong, you tell yourself you will not let him on the bed.
18. OK, maybe just this once.
19. The next morning you awake to two paws on your face. You glance at the clock — 5:30 a.m. — and try to coax him back to sleep. But he just wants to play!
20. After an hour of restlessness, you both get up and start the day. The first few weeks are tough, with more “accidents” and adjustments for you both. You start to rethink getting a dog.
21. But soon you have a routine going.
22. You even start to teach him tricks!
24. And at the end of the day, he’s always there, wagging his tail and anxiously waiting for you to indulge him in a snuggle and belly rub.
25. Soon enough, you can’t remember how you ever lived without him!
Read more: http://buzzfeed.com/aj8/25-stages-of-adopting-a-dog-cfe3