Last year at this time, I would never have believed this day would come. I was at a Guide Dog Puppy Raiser Fun Day smiling in wonder at all the beautiful dogs and their calm, loving trainers. I saw Golden Retrievers bouncing happily and lying down calmly while their people talked. There were black and yellow Labrador Retrievers trotting along watching all the action.
On that day, I hoped and wished that one of those puppies in training would be mine. Six months later, my wish was granted and Darby came home with me.
As I’ve written here before, I was smitten with Darby at once. His slightly lower left ear gives him an air of curiosity. His bouncy, ‘tigger’-like energy lifts me up everyday. Really I wish I could get a video of him popping up with all four feet in the air next to my bed each morning.
Since joining our family, Darby has learned to pass other dogs without pulling, leave food on the counter where it belongs, bark on command using a hand signal, follow me off leash to get the mail, get into the shower for baths, come when he’s called.
We’re still working on greeting people and other dogs in a calm, gentle manner and not tearing down the bamboo. But he is still just a two year old after all.
But he’s also a 70 pound, two year old.
So his sense of space and his coordination are still developing. But that’s one of the most adorable things about him.
When he plays, he PLAYS. His whole body and mind and soul are one bubbling unit of fun. He can’t wait to get that ball. Greet that person. Sniff those strawberries(and eat them, of course).
It took awhile for him to trust that the big blue circle on the lawn was his very own pool. He loves the hose. He doesn’t just want to drink from it, he wants to leap at it, get sprayed with it and run around the yard at full speed.
And he’s a tease. Yes, just like every other 2 year old, he definitely knows what he’s not supposed to do. But he does it just to get my attention. And even though I have to correct inappropriate behavior, I love him all the more for it. I try not to show it, but I know he knows.
I love this sweet birthday boy.
Today, he got a poached egg after his kibble. He got two new peanut butter bones which he loves to chew. He got his walk to the park and many more stops in new places for him to sniff. And he got his pool refilled and the hose to jump for and his favorite fetch toy bounced in and out of the water until he was soaked.
Now he’s happily snoozing here beside me. You may think that he’s one lucky dog but I know the real truth: I’m one lucky human.