On the night before our new puppy came into our lives, my then-6-year-old daughter Eliana and I gazed up at the sky wondering what to name her. As we gazed, the Goldendoodle puppy was en route to Baltimore from central Washington. Her trip took her on a drive to Seattle, a flight to San Francisco and a red-eye to Baltimore.

The stars were bright that night. “Let’s call her Star,” said Eliana. We borrowed our neighbor’s telescope and saw that Venus was especially vibrant. That’s when we knew that Venus, the brightest planet in the solar system, named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, was the perfect name for our new family member.

Why did we choose a dog who had to travel so far? After all, there are breeders closer to home. But my good friend had used the Washington breeder for her dog, and I was hopeful that we’d get a pup with a similar disposition — calm, sweet, therapeutic.

No dice. Venus is nothing like my friend’s dog. She is playful and has crazy energy when she’s outside of the house.

Venus is like an Olympian athlete chasing anything and everything, especially balls of any size.  As she approaches her fourth birthday, she remains as energetic as ever. It seems as if Venus would happily live outside, digging and running for hours, especially once the air turns crisp in the late fall.

Venus has the mettle to take on almost any potential predator in our yard as she guards our humble palace.

That is until someone approaches and she retreats like a coward.

Luckily for us, once inside the house, Venus is tender and calm, completely dedicated to Eliana and me. She is mischievous, but there is a sweetness about her that is hard to resist. As she has gotten older, she even joins us in bed for cuddle sessions. Venus especially likes to snuggle after having been reprimanded for poor behavior.

Despite the love-hate relationship I have with Venus (note her brown coat and muzzle after a day in the muddy yard with a soccer ball), she teaches us so much. Patience, unconditional love and gratitude, and for my daughter, a sense of responsibility. Venus has also taught us that it’s never a good idea to get a dog that is smarter and more energetic than you are!