So this little guy here is the reason my blog has suffered for the past several weeks. I adopted him from a shelter in North Carolina on Feb. 1 and life has been pretty chaotic ever since. I wasn't planning on getting a dog, nor did I think I was ready, but I took one look at the cute, mild-mannered pup in Kennel 6 and couldn't help but take him home. The shelter has a high kill rate and Stan, as they named him, had been there for more than a month, since being dropped off Dec. 21. After rescuing him and spending a couple of days hanging out in Durham, where he held his own play fighting with a couple of his new doggy friends, we drove 11-plus hours together back to Michigan to my apartment where unfortunately dogs aren't allowed. After a few weeks of hiding out with him, watching him 24/7 and not being able to leave him home alone, and even taking him to work with me for a week, I was finally able to sublease my apartment and move into a new place on Feb. 17. He's still quite a handful but he's brought so much joy to my life that the sacrifices I'm making, including giving up my downtown bachelor pad and paying more money for a place I like less, are worth it. Here are a few shots of Stan in Asheville, N.C., where we stopped on our road trip back to Michigan. We ended up crashing there for the night at a Ramada Inn because, after driving an hour out of town, we found I-40 West was closed at the Tennessee border and had to turn back. The trip was a good bonding experience and now he won't let me leave his side without a fuss.