Cheerful 14th birthday, old man. You have, truly, been my best friend.
Ever since that day I first met you—you, the size of a rugby ball, sliding down the glass that separated us, trying to lean into me—you were in quarantine for parvo, so I couldn’t adopt you for 2 more weeks, and another family was in line to love you first, but they decided not to wait and so you were mine, or should I say, I was yours—you’ve been there for me, and I for you.
As Le Petit Prince puts it, our friendship tamed both of us.
I had no idea what to do with a needy little life, and I effed up so many times, but I trained myself, and then my trained self trained you (thank you, Dog Whisperer, for helping Redford to teach me calm leadership, and nevermind the bollocks). You taught me more than any guru how to work with my own anger and frustration—no one could stay mad at you for more than a moment, it was pointless and mean—and I let go into learning how to teach, instead of being merely mad. I biked and you ran, you napped and I worked, you whined and yelped as you dog-wrestled for hours, you swam and I tossed balls…and oh, every day I’m so grateful we’re still present tense, and that your good food and exercise and social time (I almost never left you at home as other dogs are, I took you almost everywhere, whenever I could, you were so social and active and I saw that was important) have kept you young.
But, over the last year, I’ve seen you age, your bumps slowly you as you get up stairs, your naps longer, your dogplay more seldom, though you still have character coming out of your velvet ears, and you can still run, and you can still play, and you’re still crazy at night after dinner when we play ball.
And I’m so grateful to have met Michelle, so that you could meet her, too, in time, and if we get to have children, then you’ll meet them, and they’ll know you, and I love you, old boy.
Cheerful 14th birthday, Redford Scotch Lewis.
That’s seven photos (on desktop, at least). For 10 more photos of the old boy, click here.