Reaching far back into the annals of family history, you will always find one: a cuddly, tail-wagging, happily licking Dog. I'd never actually had one of my very own, but the family did have its fair share. I loved them all, but (due to a bite, or two) was wary.
And then with marriage came a whole selection of show trial dogs - trained and disciplined, intelligent, responsive. These were not really pets. They were serious workers who were loved by the family and knew their jobs. They are still remembered and spoken of with great fondness. It's almost as though they still exist, decades on.
Young Father-in-Law with never-to-be-forgotten 'Sparky'
With a new baby coming, we began thinking of getting our very own pup, probably a Golden Retriever. Golden Retrievers start out winning right away, don't you think? Who could go wrong with a breed-name like that?
Our first Golden, 'Brandi-Wine', babysitting the lovely daughter
Before very long it was hard to remember what it had been like without a dog, so far into our hearts did she reach. But dear Readers, there was a bit of a problem with this pup in the beginning. She wouldn't obey! Her will was stronger, at first, than ours. So we set out to train her, with the help of my Father-in-Law (who could probably train a cobra, if pressed). And miraculously, once she learned the basics she would do just about anything we asked.
Soon we branched into all sorts of interesting obedience training, all our own. We started small. But eventually we could place a large bite of raw steak onto the bridge of her nose, and she'd wait for our signal to eat it. When we snapped our fingers, Brandi gave the meat a quick flip, and it never hit the floor. Hahahaha! It was all such terrific fun.
There is a picture of her somewhere, wearing an Air Force flyer's cap and regulation sunglasses (there might have been an unlit cigarette in her mouth - our friend's, mind you!). Brandi was exquisite.
And so the tradition has sifted on down through the years. There have been other Goldens, and other funny things they've learned to do. But above everything else, what they did was love us. If you have a doggie of your own, you'll know of what I speak. The endless, loyal, and uninterrupted love of a dog is fairly unparalleled in this world. Sure, they can be a nuisance and get hair all over the house. They bark sometimes when you don't want them to. You have to arrange for their care, and they need a Vet to keep them healthy.
But wherever there is a faithful dog, something else always follows - smiles. Lots and lots of smiles. You can't get away from it. It is the sweetest thing.
There's nothing like the love of a good dog
Continuing the tradition - darling Athena, 2015
And sweet Bear!
Tonight we drove over to see Athena, and to play in the back yard with her. She is growing so fast! Not only physically, but in the wisdom that comes of much training. The lovely daughter and her family of 'dog-whisperers' don't let Athena get away with much. She might try to, but it's no use. She's met her match-es.
See you along the way!