Like a lot of families, mine has a family pet—a yellow lab named Gus. We got him as a puppy eight years ago from a breeder that was one of my dad’s old friends. My dad had visions of a dog that could accompany him in game season and for long treks through the woods—the kind of dog that knew “fetch” as training for retrieving fowl and would sit, stay, and GO when told.
Instead, he got Gus.
Gus is a hundred pounds of puppy. He’ll jump on top of you only to plant fifty slobbery kisses on your face. He has an unlimited amount of joy and tail-wags and he thinks he’s two things he is not: a person and a lap dog. He’s too excited to sit still during “fetch”. In short, Gus is not the ideal game companion. Yet, somehow, Gus and my dad share a strong father-dog bond.
When my dad is in a good mood, so is Gus. They’ll wrestle and play outside. My dad will act goofy (something he’s good at), and my dog will be the perfect partner-in-comedy. When my dad is in a more serious mood, Gus will often be more subdued, planting himself in whatever room my dad is in but not nagging for playtime.
They have something special. My dad thought he wanted a hunting dog, but in reality Gus is his perfect counterpart. In return, Gus idolizes my dad. Their relationship couldn’t be stronger if they really could talk to one another. But then again, how do I know that they don’t?
Author of RAIN, coming in 2010!