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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Our Canine Companions

This last week my best non-human buddy, a mostly beagle and terrier mix with a dash of dachshund of dubious parentage, “Copper” managed to get hurt out at the ranch. The Vet isn’t sure if he got kicked by horse, tried to jump on something and fell, or just managed to harm himself in one of another million ways. We tried asking the Vet and Copper, but so far no definite answers are forthcoming from either.
My sister found him as a puppy trying really hard to avoid being run over along an interstate, and brought the mess of a canine that would come to be known as “Copper” to Dawn and me to “watch him for a few days.” As all of you realized before I did, that dog was never leaving our house. He has now been a loyal family member while I was in Iraq, and through our move to Idaho and back, and has been a very good companion. Well, other than getting in the trash on occasion and that one time he snagged two perfect lamb chops off the counter in a caper worthy of Mission Impossible.
He is not a guard dog; in fact, for a treat he would probably help carry out the TV. While I had high hopes he would make a good rabbit and squirrel dog, I think he made a deal with the little critters, “Look guys, if you stay hidden for a couple of hours, I will bark like crazy every so often to make it look good. Then he and I will go home where I will get a treat, he’ll take a nap, and you guys won’t get shot. I don’t think he can hit the broad side of a barn, but let’s not take a chance. Do we have a deal?”
He gets his spot on the bed at night and Dawn and I get what’s left over, but if your heart is heavy or you are sick he is right there next to you till you feel better. He is always good for a laugh, and when he does something bad he can look so sad and pitiful, it’s hard to get mad at him. Copper definitely lives by the great American humorist Josh Billings’ sentiment, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” This alone made the 300-dollar vet bill a non-decision even though we still don’t know what is wrong with him.
I wouldn’t think of trading Copper for any pure bred dog, no matter how high dollar. Please consider carefully whether you have room in your life for a pet, then make sure you have your pet spayed or neutered. Try adopting your next pet from the local animal shelter; they always have animals in need of adoption. “If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.”- Mark Twain

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