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My dog is … running free, without the struggles of old age holding her back, without the limp of arthritis, without sclerosis clouding her deep brown eyes, the ones that melted my heart 18 years ago at a pet adoption fair. In her lifetime, Wilma would bolt off the deck to chase a rabbit, spin in circles to chase her tail, jump six feet to send a squirrel up a tree, and spring straight up in the air to clear a fence, the Border collie in her propelling her airborne. The ground couldn’t contain her, and now, in the place dogs go when they’re no longer here, I can’t imagine my Wilma resting in peace. Wherever she is, I believe she’s flying.
My dog is … a Lab who regularly digs holes in the roots of my peonies, hydrangeas, and pachysandra — never mind several yards of garden hose — and prefers to drink from the watering can rather than a bowl. Babe’s an Outside Dog, which means she’s splashing through the creek on 25-degree mornings and knows the walking schedule of every stroller in the neighborhood, including the mailman. Which means she has far more friends than I.
My dog is … a pirate. Or he looks like one at least. Ty, my family’s 9-year-old black Labrador Retriever lost his right eye to cancer last year, but he’s still just as rambunctious as he was as a puppy. He can dive under water to retrieve tennis balls that have sunk to the bottom of a pool and will — unfortunately — sneak a roll of toilet paper to chew on if he’s not getting enough pets.
My dog is … a 65-pound lapdog. Roxy, my 6-year-old boxer rescued off the streets, is full of spunk and personality. She commands the attention of every visitor that comes to the house and loves to do crazy runs around the yard and take long walks. She also enjoys catching bugs in her mouth … except bees. She learned that lesson the hard way.
My dog is … so sweet. That’s what everybody says when they meet New Dog, and they’re right — except when she’s murdering tasty woodland creatures in the backyard, or trying desperately to get through the front window to get the UPS truck. Otherwise, she’s the perfect family dog, dedicated to keeping us safe and counted and counted again. She’s half collie, half high-strung cruise director, half something half-wild. Is that enough halves?
Our dogs are … the sweetest, silliest little pals. Blue and Scout are Blue Heelers. They’re our constant companions, never wanting to leave our side. Blue’s a bit of a “stalker”— he protects us and knows all that is going on. Scout’s a bit of a “talker”— always expressing himself quite well. We sure do cherish our furry friends. Life on the farm just wouldn’t be near as sweet without them!
My dog is … a love bucket. Obie — officially known as Obadiah — is a Great Pyrenees-German Shepherd mix who, when I sit on my front porch swing, arrives at my feet and demands pets for hours. We affectionately refer to Obie — who weighs more than 100 pounds — as our family “bear.” Obie’s favorite pastimes include leaning on our legs since he’s too big to sit on them (like I said, he likes to stay close), drooling on us constantly, and chasing his tail to distract us when he gets in trouble. But he never really gets in trouble. I mean, c’mon … look at that face!
My dog is … a puppy in polar bear’s clothing. If the temperature is above 65 degrees, she’ll spend the majority of our half-mile walk plopping into every shady, grassy spot she can find. She approaches every human, dog, cat, frog, and stick that she comes across with a gusto that isn’t always well-received from an 80-pound dog, but that is her most enthusiastic expression of love. She’s brought us so much joy with her constant curiosity and her weird sleeping positions, her playful nibbles and her gentle kisses.
My dog is … a true puppy at heart, always ready to play and as sweet as they come. Mr. Truck is an English Bulldog, who is about to celebrate his 10th birthday. He loves people, hiking, getting his paws wet at the beach, going for rides in the car, and playing with his toys. He has an unforgettable personality and is always doing something silly or making funny noises. He is our best friend and brings so much joy and laughter to our lives.
My dog is … a hunter. Oliver Wood enjoys bringing me “presents,” and recently chased a chipmunk over my foot and up the drainage pipe. When he twitches and growls in his sleep, I like to imagine he finally caught the squirrel that taunts him from the top of our backyard fence, just out of reach. Lately, he’s been eyeing the deer, but I think he’s getting overly ambitious. Maybe in your dreams, little man.
My dog is … not much of a typist, but she’s an ace sidekick in the office, always more than willing to provide a lick and a break from the keyboard. Minnie is a black Lab, so named because she was the runt of the litter. But she’s gotten a bit of an oversized ego of late, thanks to a couple of appearances — and counting — in my Ramblin’ Man column for Our State!
My dog is … endearingly stubborn and smart enough to answer to dozens of ridiculous nicknames. Fergus is true best friend material. He makes me laugh every day and makes every situation livelier, whether he’s trying to become buddies with chipmunks, opossums, and deer, or jumping onto the dining table during Christmas dinner to escape my young nephew’s affections. At 101 pounds, he’s still my baby, so please don’t tell him he’s not a lap dog.
My dog is … bossy. Never used to be. She lets out this growl-whine when my daughter is late with her breakfast. She shows up at my bedside, staring, until I scratch her behind her ears. She has big, floppy ears. That’s the hound in her. She’s fast. That’s the pointer in her. She’s a dog (somehow she steals chocolate, eats it wrapper-on, and is not dead). And yet, she’s sweet. Maybe that’s the lab in her. Or maybe that’s just her.
My dog is … my dream come true. Indiana Bones (aka Indy) is just 8 weeks old, but with puppy breath and fuzzy snuggles, the fluffy fella has quickly begun to fill up a huge hole in my heart left by my four-legged best friend, Rudi. Indy’s 9-year-old big sis passed a few months ago, but I like to imagine she’s guiding him in spirit. I’m more convinced than ever that dogs are a gift — even when they wake you up at 4 a.m.
My dog is … made of Jello. Leila will let you mush and squish her all you please. She sleeps in the bed and under the covers. By morning, she’s found a pillow to rest her head on. Leila is the last one to wake up and the first one off to bed each night. She loves to talk, and on more than one occasion, I could’ve sworn she spoke a touch of English.
My dog is … the life of the party. Who else wakes up dressed to impress in a tuxedo, one ear raised in a jaunty greeting? Charlie lives for applause, and he’s quick to offer a paw to shake. His favorite thing is probably chewing on a good squeaky toy — unless he can interest you in a game of tug? No? Then maybe he’ll just lie down here, snuggled in the crook of your arm, resting up for another day as the world’s best friend.
My dog is … like the alligator in Peter Pan when Wendy is walking the plank — always ready to catch the next bite of food. Ace is an almost 9-year-old silver lab with plenty of energy! He enjoys chasing toads, chipmunks, and other critters regularly. When my husband, son, Ace, and myself are all cozied up together, we call it a “cuddle puddle.” Ace has even made an appearance in the magazine before, too!
My dog is … a big brother. Our rescue dog and our 8-month old son only have eyes for each other. Ghost is an 85-pound husky mix, and I bet if we lived somewhere it snowed, he’d happily pull a sled down the road. But as we don’t (and won’t), he contents himself with dragging me down the road instead. I’m foreseeing a future of scraped knees stemming from a pair of rollerblades and a bad idea. Oh, boys.
My dog is … my heart. Charlie is a 75-pound love bug who sports “Grinch feet” when he goes too long without a cut. He’s a puppy in spirit who doesn’t realize 8 is getting up there in dog years. And he’s a true-blue companion to me, my husband, and our two daughters. He’s scared of bugs and won’t make eye contact with cats, but he’ll mow you down if you’re in the way of one of his runs through the yard.
My dog is … a perpetual puppy. Meg is 19 years old – that’s 133 years in dog years — but young at heart. And though she’s stiff with arthritis, her eyes are cloudy with cataracts, and she can’t hear much of anything, she can still scamper up the driveway on warm summer evenings, bursting through the back door at full speed. (Sometimes she gets going so fast she slides sideways.) She embodies joie de la vie and reminds us to live each day to the fullest.