My Furry Child

January 10, 2013 at 7:33 am | Posted in Family Ties | Leave a comment
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humphreyI have been a dog lover all my life.  As a child, I would ask my dad to get me a dog, but he never would because he thought I wouldn’t take care of it.  I don’t know if I agree, but he was the one stuck cleaning the parakeets’ cage, the fish bowls and the hamsters’ cages, so he was probably right.  I was stuck living vicariously through my neighbors’ golden retrievers, every morning waking up early just to play with them.

Fast forward 15 years — the start of my career. I can’t afford to move out and my father has his midlife crisis of sorts and gets a dog, a lab, because that’s what my boyfriend at the time had.  The plan was sharing responsibility, and we keep that pact today.  The dog is with me all week and with my dad on the weekends.  I strongly believe that my father let me move out alone mainly because I was taking the dog with me.

And he’s certainly been a handful.  Labs are notorious for their endless supply of energy and need for attention, and I was glad to give it to him.  This dog has been through hell and back with me — the only constant in my life through some serious highs and lows.

I always joked about his bursts of energy.  He is the happiest person I know and he wants the whole world to know it, too.  He is loud, and he’s the best ball player in the world.  He deserves a space in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  The saying goes that labs are puppies for longer than other dogs, that for the first five years of their lives they have a ton of energy before they start calming down.

Humphrey is nearing his 7th birthday.  It’s quite strange to me because it feels like just yesterday he was a pup afraid to jump down the one stair it took to leave my parents’ back door.  But we all get older, I guess.  But through age 5 and 6, he still had energy.  It wasn’t until very recently when I started getting concerned about him slowing down.  His hips bother him when he plays too much.  When he plays, he still plays so hard, he doesn’t even notice he’s hurting himself.  After 2 days at the dog park, he used to recover from one day of sleep.  Now it seems to be taking longer to recover.  He’s not done yet, he’s not ready to retire from being active, but I am seeing the signs and I need to really watch him.

It’s a hard pill to swallow for me.  He is my child, my pride, my faith.  He is the reason I get up every day and he cheers me up when I have a tough day.  I would take ten more years of puppy mischief if it meant I could have him forever.

But we will all get older and I want to live the way he does.  Play hard, love hard, and enjoy some sleep every so often, and definitely get into a little trouble every so often.

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