The Grand Unified Puppy Theory of Relationships

Wilma and Joey

Wilma and Joey have all this figured out.

Over the last few years, I’ve been mulling over the nature of human interpersonal relationships. I’ve started to see relationships between people — platonic, romantic, familial, professional, etc. — as an entity separate from the people who formed them. Oddly, I think this has become a very useful working model for understanding relationships. I call my model the Grand Unified Puppy Theory of Relationships.

It goes something like this: when you meet a person for the first time, the two of you are given a Relationship Puppy. What that Puppy does after that point depends on how the two of you treat your Puppy.

With me so far? Cool. Let’s proceed to bullet points!

  • In order for a Puppy to thrive, it needs to be given attention. It needs food and care. If both people feed and care for the Puppy a lot, it’s more likely that the Puppy will grow into a Big Old Dog. If the Puppy is neglected, it probably won’t survive long.
  • Big Old Dogs need different care than Puppies. They have a certain amount of autonomy that makes them easier to care for in some ways. However, their basic needs still need to be met.
  • If one or both people outright abuse the Puppy, it will either die quickly, or it will go feral and get mean. If a Puppy survives the abuse, it’s possible to bring it back to being a healthy Puppy, but that takes a lot of extra work.
  • If you lock a Puppy up in a small space and never let it outside, the Puppy will get really neurotic. It will also probably poop on the carpet.
  • Puppies are almost always the most fun, most cute, and most stupid right at the start.
  • You can only have so many Puppies. Some people can maintain entire kennels of Puppies, but those Puppies don’t mature quite like a single Puppy with two focused caretakers. Puppy kennels are sometimes meticulously cared for, but sometimes they turn into one of those horrible Puppy mills, where all the Puppies are sickly.
  • It’s easier to maintain a whole bunch of Puppies if you can convince them to be pack animals. Then their caretakers can somewhat share efforts in keeping all the Puppies happy and healthy.
  • If you get enough Puppies together, sometimes they’ll start breeding and making more Puppies.
  • Sometimes Puppies fight, and you have to keep them separated.
  • If you train a Puppy right, it will probably do cool things on its own. This requires Puppy treats and patience.
  • Some Puppies are naturally smart, and they keep you on your toes. Some Puppies are born kind of stupid.
  • It’s harder to keep a Puppy happy and healthy if only one caretaker cares about the Puppy.
  • Sometimes, Puppies just aren’t born healthy. They require a lot more work just to keep them alive.
  • Sometimes, even the smartest, healthiest, most beloved Puppy gets hit by a car and passes away.
  • Sometimes, even the sweetest, sturdiest Big Old Dog may eventually pass away from old age.
  • Sometimes, Puppies will sniff your butt and make you uncomfortable.
  • Facebook often resurrects Puppies from the dead, and Zombie Puppies aren’t always a good thing.


  1. You need to monetize this bad boy. LOL. That is a really fun piece of writing.

  2. this is one of the best analogies I’ve ever seen. this is some puppy-flavored medicine everyone needs a big sip of. write more++++++.

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