It has been said many times that man's best friend is his dog. Here is mine. Her name is Abby and she is indeed my best friend.
|Say Hello to Abby|
My Lovely Wife and I were new in town, and we were about to move into our new home on an acreage in a week. She was phoning around for alarm systems when someone told her that she'd just be better off with a big dog given our remote location. Our friend gave us directions to a pet store, but since we didn't know the city, we went to the wrong place. Happy Accident #2.
It was very much love at first site, despite knowing nothing about her breed. We looked it up in one of the books at the pet store and it described Chesapeakes as "large, solid dogs". Indeed, she weighed 18lbs at eight weeks of age. We didn't know it then, but the size of her knees were a giveaway that she would someday fit the advice given to us by the alarm system salesperson.
We took her home a week later. Our new home was about a half hour drive away from the store. We were within a quarter mile of the new place before she turned her head towards me and threw up all over my jacket. Happy Accident #3.
Over the years, Abby would grow out of her car sickness and grow in to her knees, tipping the scales around 82 lbs at one point. We brought her with us when we picked up and drove 2000 miles to our current home around eight years ago. One of the prerequisites in picking our new home was some place that would be dog friendly. Chesapeake's were bred to retrieve game fowl from the icy waters of the Chesapeake Bay on the U.S. East Coast, and when a nice place right on the river came along... well...
|Less Icy In the Summer|
|Abby On Bush Trail Patrol|
|Not Such A Good Idea, As It Turned Out|
While she has many Chesapeake qualities, her German Shepherd side comes through in several ways as well. The coloring around her muzzle is one obvious spot, but another one a little less obvious is the Shepherd instinct to always walk a little bit ahead and lead the way. This has an interesting side effect: she is in every picture we have ever taken.
|Abby Hamming It Up... Always|
Story #1: A year after we got Abby, we had a visit from some friends whose daughter was maybe a year old at the time. She was just getting good at walking but was not yet at the point where she could build a lot of speed. Somehow, this little girl quickly built a connection with a dog that was much taller than she was and many times her weight. The little girl would toddle out from the kitchen table to the living room with Abby walking slowly behind. They would switch around at the coffee table in the living room so that Abby walked in front on the way back to the kitchen with the little girl following behind. They did this once or twice before anybody really realized what was going on. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen.
Story #2: My Lovely Wife plugged a kettle in before heading upstairs to take a shower. Abby started barking soon after. My Lovely Wife yelled at her to stop but Abby keeps at it. Finally, My Lovely Wife heads back downstairs to see what all the barking is about before starting her shower. It turns out that the cord on the kettle was shorting out and the kettle's base was starting to smoke and melt down. My Lovely Wife was able to unplug it before any serious damage was done. Abby just might have saved our house from catching fire and burning down.
Story #3: Not that long ago, a group of people came in to our yard to sell us some religion. They rang the front doorbell and Abby went crazy. My Lovely Wife mistakenly answered the side door. She was busy and didn't have much patience for what she knew this crew was here to do. She was holding Abby by the collar at the side doorstep as Abby was working hard to pull away.
Them [nervously]: "My! HE's a big one! I hope HE isn't hungry!" [Abby gets called a HE all the time because of her size].Abby decided to answer the only way she could, and she did so with the timing of Bob Hope.
Them: "Oh, I can see you are busy. We best get going now."And they drove the hell out of our yard at high speed.
I think you get the idea. My Lovely Wife and I believe that Abby is a very special dog and we love her will all our hearts. She has certainly slowed down over the years, and I know she won't last forever. But neither will I. That is why Abby's will bequeaths everything she owns to me, and why my will bequeaths everything I own to her. Until that fateful day comes to pass, I cherish every day with her. Every single day. And that is no accident.
Happy Birthday Abby, and many more.
P.S. If you'd like to know more about Abby, My Lovely Wife keeps a diary of her various adventures here on Dogster. There you'll find many more stories and pictures that will be sure to get a laugh. Skip anything related to garter snakes if you are squeamish.