Thanksgoating – Day twenty-two. Carpe Canum

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Carpe Canum – Seize the dogs.

When I was five years old, we were seated at the dinner table when the doorbell rang. My father asked me to go see who it was. I opened the door and Santa Claus was just standing there with his sack of goodies. I was trying to process what exactly was happening and Santa said, may I come in for one moment. I replied, ‘ummm… sure?’. Santa came in and put his sack down. Out came an eight-week-old English Springer Spaniel. Santa said, ‘I heard you wanted a puppy. Merry Christmas’, then walked out the door.

It blew my f’ing five-year-old mind.

I picked up the puppy and returned to the dinner table and my dad, with a complete poker face asked, ‘who was that?’. “uh… it was Santa.” And my dad said, ‘looks like we have a dog now… you’re going to have to name it”.

I was completely elated, and in the moment, I said Happy! Happy was my first dog. A wonderful stupid dog who loved to eat rocks and chase squirrels.

Today, I am thankful for dogs of all shapes and sizes.

I found out some time later that our neighbor across the court bred spaniels and was also the guy who played Santa and rode on the firetruck around the neighborhood throwing candy canes to all the kids right before Christmas. Friends down the street bought Happy’s sister. She was Sassy. So Happy and Sassy spent of lot of time playing together. It turns out Happy was the product of two AKC championship parents. She was officially registered as Happenstance.

Happy died when I was in high school. It really broke my heart. Dogs bring you so much love and joy, but when they pass, there is a debt that must be paid. I’d like to think it’s worth it.

Six months later my dad found a breeder of labs across the state. Again, the parents were two champion dogs and my dad had to agree to have the dog spayed so it couldn’t compete against them or breed. We drove forever to pick up the new dog and tried to figure out a name on the return trip. I was a teenager and my suggestion of ‘Metal Head’ was quickly shot down. We landed on Mousse since she was a chocolate lab. Amazing dog… strong as an ox. She put my mom in the hospital once because on a walk she saw a squirrel and took off… pulling my mom’s shoulder out of the socket. I spent a lot of time creek jumping with Mousse. Loved that pup.

Then I went a long time without a dog.

My wife and daughter were both terrified of big dogs. My Jenny, due to an encounter in her youth and my daughter because we had a neighbor with an untrained retriever who would just run my daughter over when she was two.

About five years ago we were at an end of season softball party, and I was talking to another parent, and she told me they had just had a litter of labs and wondered if I was interested. I said no. And followed that up with the worst question I could ask. “Do you have a chocolate female?”. They had one.

And now we have Luna.

Luna is like no other. Brilliant dog. Knows boundaries. Communicates by sneezing. Orders lunch with a spin, bow, spin. We never trained her to do that, it just has evolved over the years. My girls adore her and she is very much a part of the family.

My Irish wife has always wanted an Irish wolfhound. When my daughter was young, I told my wife that when Caitlin left for college we could get a wolfhound. That was me just kicking the can WAY down the road for future Josh to worry about. Now my daughter is in high school and I’m going to need to figure that one out.

Woof!

Lemme see some doggo pics!