Our little girl is all grown up.
Today is Abby’s fifth Birthday. Hard to believe she has been in our lives for almost 5 years (remember there’s a 3-month waiting period to own a pup… only 7 Days if you want a Glock 9 though.)
Anyway, Abby joined our family in the Spring of 2001. I remember it vividly as that was the summer following my layoff from Putnam Investments. The downtime afforded by my untimely downsizing allowed me the opportunity to spend a great deal of time bonding with our new puppy, teaching her the rules of the roost and realizing just how special having a dog can be. Getting handed your walking papers does a number on your self esteem. Walking in the front door and being barreled over by a wagging, slobbering hound picks it right back up and shoots it to the stratosphere. That summer spent bonding with Abby was a great pick-me-up just when I needed it most (what the hell is this – a Dunkin’ Donuts commercial?)
I’d lived 29 years of my life as a boy without a dog. Some cultures – they’d stone the parents that allowed that to happen… and then they’d eat the dog. Seriously though, in living my life without owning a dog, I never really knew how closely you bonded with them – how you looked at them as less an animal and more as a vital member of your family that you’d climb through heaven and hell to protect – that when you looked into their eyes you could convince yourself – even for the slightest of moments – that they’re just mere seconds away from answering your unfocused ramblings of the days events with a comforting “and you told him where to shove it, didn’t ya Ed.”
“Yes I did, Abby. Yes I did.” (Pause) “Now who wants a belly rub – who wants a wittle iddle belly rubbbbbb…” (Ahem)
Abby joined our family shortly after Andi and I were married and has bore witness to the arrival of a sister in the canine persuasion (Chatham) as well as the birth of our children, Colin and Aria. She’s always been there to pick us up. I remember in those hazy, crazy first days following Colin’s birth – Andi and I were just dying for Abby to return home from my father-in-law’s home – as our family just didn’t feel complete. Of course, that’s around the time Andi and I allowed Abby to sleep on our bed for one or two nights – a little bit of comfort food. 913 nights later and I get woken up each morning by the unmistakeable aroma of Snausage breath.
Like any close friend or family member, I have a billion stories to share about Abby. I won’t (I don’t have the bandwidth) but I can drop this little anecdote.
One of those indelible images from the summer of 2001 is from the numerous barbeques we hosted at our quaint Brockton Cape. At the time, we were training Abby to supress some of those puppy instincts and not pee in the house, scratch at the door or chew on furniture. (She and I were on the same 12 Step program). For the latter, we would use this Bitter Apple spray that tastes as it sounds. You spray it on a surface and if the dog goes to nibble, they get an unpleasant bitter taste on their tongue. At one of these BBQ’s – our pal Mook decided to play with Abby and would allow her to lick his feet (he said something about some bizarre sub-culture that was into that sort of thing – I don’t know – sounds weird to me but he says it’s legit… at least, I guess there are websites). Anyway, I digress. Since Mook kicked the door open and allowed Abby to nosh on his hobbit feet – every time he came over – Abby was at his toes, giving them a spit shine. Finally we had to bust out the big guns before he gave my dog rabies. Whipping out the Bitter Apple, we held Mook down as we fully shelacked his kicks. Problem solved.
Anyway – I’ve written enough. Chatham’s birthday is just around the bend – so look for another post on her. I’l probably just take this text, sub Chats for Abby and call it a day. If I’m feeling particularly ambitious, maybe I’ll change the pics.
All I can say is, Abby is a damn fine pup – our little girl, our constant companion, our best friend.
Happy Birthday, Abby the Labby!!!