Thursday is of course Veterans Day, and I join all appreciative Americans in honoring those who have served and are serving in our armed forces. My sincerest thanks to all of you for your efforts.
The day is also special to me for a much more individualized reason: It’s my dog Jewel’s ninth birthday.
Technically, it may or may not be her actual birthday; there’s no way to know for sure. I just picked that day because she was eight months old when we adopted her from SafeHaven Humane Society in July 2002, and 11/11 seemed both about right and easy to remember. (I like my pets to have birthdays — yes, we celebrate them – so they always get assigned one based on my best guess; Moses the semi-senile cat, for example, turned 16 on Halloween.)
Long story short, Jewel, a 55-pound Australian shepherd, has been part of a couple different two-dog configurations at our place, and she was one of three dogs for one four-month stretch a few years ago, but she’s an only dog now and will remain so for the rest of her life. She’s happiest that way; Moses and to a lesser extent our other two cats are enough company for her during the hours when no people are around, and as our solitary canine, she simply gets more attention from me than she otherwise would. And at the risk of sounding self-important, attention from me is her favorite thing.
Of course, attention from her is definitely one of my favorite things, so consequently we spend a lot of time together. For example, I’d never really liked running as a means of exercise — I’d much rather be playing one sport or another — but because of Jewel, I get out a few times a week; I just get so much pleasure out of seeing her romp in the woods — we live near the OSU research forest — that I actually enjoy running now.
Basically, it’s just safe to say that Jewel’s happy, appreciative, expressive, in-the-moment, loving, placid, easy-going, cooperative, intelligent, friendly and curious manner are an everyday reminder to, well, live like her.
In addition to rollicking through forest, field and beach, Jewel loves any to-and-from auto travel required. If it’s a short trip, I let her ride in the bed of the pickup, which she loves and which she would never jump out of, whether the truck was moving or still. For longer journeys, though, she’s my co-pilot, another situation she thoroughly enjoys.
Here, you can see for yourself: This is her when we stopped for gas Saturday on the way to a hike around Clear Lake:
So unless, I guess, you just don’t like dogs — in which case, well, then I don’t really like you — please join me in wishing my canine pal a blessed 9th birthday. And yes, as a matter of fact, I did mean to say blessed — God does care about dogs, and you will see them in heaven, if you get there.