Do you remember your first dog? I remember mine, Speedy, a soft, spotted bird dog of some sort big enough for me to ride. Later, he had a lovely female companion, Ladybird, a smaller, more feminine version of himself. Both were hunting dogs.
Speedy’s life came to a tragic and unexpected end, and I don’t remember what happened to Ladybird. Then my family seemed to go through a series of dogs — Something Else, Fuzz, and Dusty — that were re-homed after they had puppies or because of changes in life’s circumstances. I don’t really remember.
But I do remember everything about my first dog as an adult, Annapurna, a golden retriever, who came to me in my 30s. She was my first forever dog. I knew her mother and met her father. I was there when she came into the world with nine other squirming brothers and sisters. Anna came home with me at 6, maybe 7, weeks old. We went to puppy kindergarten, took obedience classes, tried agility. She saw me through a major boyfriend breakup, and we had many adventures together, including a move across the country. We were together for 12 full years, and she remains in my heart, which, by the way, happens to have plenty of room for Wiley, my current canine companion. Funny how that works.
This month, Kelly Gorman Dunbar zeroes in on that phenomenon and recalls her first puppy love, writing a heartwarming remembrance about her true-blue pal, a Sheltie she named Charlie Brown as a plucky 5 year old. Her tale begins with a defiant moment in which she doggedly insisted that this one wiggly-wriggly pot-bellied puppy was the one for her. How lucky she was to have found such a good and loyal friend.
And we’re lucky, too, to have another year for hanging out with our furry friends. Make the most of your 2020. Trainers Beverly Ulrich and Chad Culp have some solid advice about the types of New Year’s resolutions that might work out well for the both of you. Finally, cat guru Clifford Brooks doesn’t want you to leave out your kitties in all the New Year’s hullabaloo, and he has some ideas for feline fun this year. Happy 2020 to you and yours.
Above, Wiley as Wile E. Coyote on her first Halloween with me in 2018.
Main article photo by: Photo by Stephen Buel