Thirteen years ago, I was newly engaged, planning a wedding, and looking for a place to live with dear soon-to-be hubs. Thirteen years ago today, a family in a nearby suburb became the proud ‘parents’ to a litter of 10 labrador puppies. Busy with wedding plans, looking at houses, working, and having fun (I was in my early 20’s), I did not know on this day 13 years ago that one of those little labbies would change my life forever.
Fast forward to Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend thirteen years ago, and I decided that WE must get a 2nd dog. Yes, we already had an adorable beagle that was dear hubs’ pup before we met, but I felt we needed a puppy together. I wanted a boxer and dear hubs wanted a lab, so I knew what I had to do in order to get a puppy. I looked for a lab puppy.
I found the aforementioned family with the 10 pups, 3 human kids, and mom and dad lab on the premises. Later that afternoon, I was riding home with a tiny lab puppy in my lap. HEAVEN. Smiling from ear to ear, I will never forget the moment. Cassius joined our family that day, and as I wish him a Happy 13th Birthday today, I know we are for the better because of it.
The beagles seem to have multiplied around here, but I always say THE calming force, THE glue, THE voice of reason is Cassius. As a puppy, he was hyper and nuts like all lab puppies, but Cassius matured into a distinctive and generous adult dog.
From standing between the stroller and ANYONE who wanted to get close to his human babies to sleeping under the crib to still running to the door when we get home with arthritic hips, Cassius is the shining protector of our lives. Cassius also spent years as an ambassador of this family as a Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Pet Friend. One of a small group of dogs, well-trained enough to visit chronically ill children in the hospital, Cassius wore his official badge with honors.
Cassius has taught me A LOT about life, love, devotion, and being a parent. I will not be cliche’, but I will say I learned a great deal about life & parenting from my dog:
No really means check back later. Do not take ‘NO‘ as rejection, but rather as ‘Not Now.‘ Looking for an under the chin rub? or a treat?, and your owner cannot do it right now, no worries…..Come back in Ten.
Get to know your baby in your belly early. That’s right, for 9 months X 2, Cassius laid with his keppy on my belly, and each time I gave birth, he knew who was coming. There was a bond from the beginning.
Protect your most precious belongings. From tennis balls to the boys, no one ever comes close when Cassius is around (A hand never reached into the stroller because Cassius was always in the way).
Give back often. Whether visiting children in the hospital or laying by one of our feet when we are home ill, Cassius knows being kind feels good. Not to mention it usually results in a lot of TREATS later.
There are always a few annoying people (beagles). Just walk away and mind your own business, and they will typically leave you alone.
Age is only a number. Thirteen years young and grey means nothing….Get up and go every day.
True Love is a rare and precious commodity. Cassius is sleeping at my feet as I write this, and I know that he will not be with us forever, but we are so lucky with each day. After all, who else loves you with snotty noses, smelly feet, tummy aches, no makeup, sad, happy, pregnant, during miscarriages, after basketball tourney wins and losses, pneumonia, falling off your bike, and no matter what? That person or dog is rare to find….
I am too teary to proofread and write anymore.
Please share if you learned from your dog? cat? fish? turtle?