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It was nearly 10 years ago. I can remember standing in the middle of a yard with several Chocolate Labrador puppies scurrying around, except for one. One puppy shivered at my feet on that day in October. That was the one.
He was born on Sept. 2, a small fuzzy thing that looked like a little bear. He was a purebred dog so he had to have three names to register him. As I rode home with this brown fuzzy puppy curled up in my lap, the name just came to me, Baloo Bear (technically Boo Boo Bear Baloo for his registration papers).
By the second or third night, I realized I had been conned. This sweet, shy puppy that shivered at my feet turned out to be the Tasmanian devil. It was about five years before this crazy dog started to calm down. But the strange thing was his nutty antics grew on me. They began to be a part of his personality that became something I liked about him.
He ate most of my pillows and blankets, not to mention the vinyl flooring.
I once bought him a harness to use as a lead instead of his collar. It took him a grand total of ten minutes to destroy the thing. I’ve chased him across the countryside when he’s gotten loose and fished more valuables out of his mouth than I can count.
But as the years wore on he started to calm down a bit, at least for me. He still is way too anxious and hyper when people come over to stay in the guest room without having them leave covered in slobber.
His pace has slowed but his mischievous nature remains. In his younger years he would steal the remote for a great chase to begin and I would run around the house to get it away from him. Now he takes it into the bedroom and sits at the end of the bed with it. If I don’t notice he walks through the room a few times so I see he has it. If I still don’t notice he usually lies down next to the remote and falls asleep.
He gets most of his exercise these days chasing Duke the Corgi around the house for a couple laps.
His routine now is to sit at my feet, no matter where I am. In the kitchen he sits on the floor and waits for me to drop something. When I’m at the computer he sits at my feet and huffs until I’m done. He even sits next to the bathtub when I take a shower, the great protector.
Most nights, he can be found curled up on the end of the couch, often one paw stretched across my foot. If he’s not there he’s on the floor next to the couch.
As he’s matured his demure has become sweet and careful. Giving that big dog a hug around the neck is the best therapy anyone can have. They truly do become your best friends. He doesn’t understand a word I’m saying but looks closely at me when I talk, as if he takes in every word.
He’s even a bit famous. When I attended this summer’s Cecilia Days festival at least 30 people asked me what he had been up to.
I marvel sometimes about how well Boo fits into my life. About how I put up with his personality probably longer than other owner would have to find the sweet and caring pet inside. Isn’t it amazing how God creates pets to fit so well with their owners, like they were made to be together?
On Sept. 2, Boo turns 10, a great accomplishment for a Labrador. The average life expectancy of a Lab is 10-12 years so each year now is treasured. I’ll get him some presents, and yes he knows what they are and actually rips the paper off himself. He'll have some treats and maybe I'll even take him over to a friend’s house so he can run around in their fenced-in yard.
We’ll do the big 1-0 up right and give this crazy ham all the attention he deserves. He’s earned it. The gray has grown a bit more around his mouth and eyes but the giant puppy spirit remains inside him.
I love that silly old dog.
To become a fan of Boo go to www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Boo-and-Duke/109510752432562.
Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741.