Thursday, December 24, 2015

A dog-less Christmas Eve

Baby picture (March 2002)
December 24, 2015

For the first time in many, many, many years I'm without a dog. My beloved Jett left us back in May, and with one thing and another, I've not yet found a pup that strikes a chord inside me. It may seem strange, but I know if I hold a pup and that special lightning doesn't strike, he's not the one for me. 

Gimme a kiss, Mommy! (2002)
Jett was very special. The first time I picked him up, he didn't want back down with his litter mates or seem interested in his sudden higher perspective on the world. He gripped my arm with his stubby legs (and big paws) and held on. Then he cried when I tried to put him down. He wanted me. And so began our thirteen year journey. 

I'm pretty sure Jett didn't care much about the whole Christmas-time-of-the-year thing. Let's face it. Everything in the living room, including his bed, got moved around to accommodate the tree. And his stocking? He wanted his treats and toys NOW, not on Christmas morning. Oh, yeah. Don't forget the roasted turkey skin. He had dibs on that, too. I think it's safe to say the mutt was a bit spoiled.

Jett was the first Lab I had. My family has always raised hounds and setters, and acquiring a dog was as easy as telling my uncle, "sure I'll take a pup from the next litter." Now having had a Lab, I'd like to share my life with another. I'm just not sure paying upwards of two thousand dollars for a dog is a sound idea. Two grand will buy a lot of kibble and cover a lot of vet bills. Two thousand dollars makes it about the money, not the fact I can provide a good home to a dog. 

I can hear folks saying, "get a rescue Lab!" and if I didn't have an older cat, I'd consider it. If the cat was still a young lion, that would be different, too. Since he's not, we need a young puppy who will learn right from the start that the cat is the boss. A pup grows into the rhythms of the household. They watch and learn so much just sitting in the middle of the floor observing their humans.  

One of my Christmas Eve traditions is to walk a few of the old trails that crisscross the mountainside above my home. Only a few times in my life have I done so without a dog as my companion. Lovely Raven with her long setter feathers, noble Callahan whose bright coonhound soul shone in his eyes, and my beloved Jett - each knew the way out and back. 

Maybe next year I'll show a new companion the way to the secret pond. Maybe next year. 

KC Kendricks

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