National Dog Day. A big WOOF to all of the dog lovers and dog caregivers out there. And a double-big WOOF to all of the canines who provide companionship to us humans.
Readers of this blog know that The Calvinator holds a very special place in my heart. Through an odd series of circumstances, I took ownership of him in Spring of 2004. At the time, I didn't have time to be a dog owner. You see...
I had a job that required me to travel during the week and sometimes on the weekends. I was presented with the options of him going to a shelter, going to live with my parents in Ft. Worth, or him becoming my pet. At this point in Calvin's life, he had already had two owners which did not include his foster parents.
This dog is so full of love I couldn't have him start all over again. Plus, his second owner had changed his name from Eddie to Calvin. So...there I was with a new companion. He had major separation anxiety issues but I soon learned the value of a Kong, Cheez Whiz and peanut butter. And just for good measure, throw in Frosty Paws.
The first time I left him with my parents for an extended period of time, I was told he sat my the front door waiting for me to return. He soon attached himself to my dad because this was the person who would feed him, take him for walks and let him hang out outside. Calvin isn't dumb.
When my dad died in November of 2011, there was one night that I couldn't find him in my parent's house. It's not a big house and I know where Calvin likes to hang out. He was asleep by my dad's closet. I still tear up and get a lump in my throat when I think of that night.
The previous year in November, my mom's sugar level had dropped to a dangerous level during the night. I was awakened by my dad trying to figure out what was wrong. When I realized the severity of the situation and that we would have to call an ambulance, I picked up Calvin and put him a room with Frex and shut the door. They knew something was wrong but never barked or whimpered while their was chaos in the house.
One of my biggest regrets was bringing him back to Houston in September of 2005. He had been with my parents in Fort Worth while I was traveling. I returned from the trip and immediately drove to pick him up. While I was en route, I received information that a major hurricane was heading toward the upper Gulf Coast of Texas. I should have left him in Fort Worth because a few days later he and I became a part of history. We participated in the evacuation of Houston. It was the first time so many people tried to leave at the same time and it created major gridlock. What is normally a 5 hour drive took 27 hours. Calvin was a trooper. So...
Three years later when Hurricane Ike started heading toward us, I decided to stay in Houston and hunker down. When the hurricane made landfall we were housebound. He wasn't able to go outside for about 17 hours. I stayed awake through most of the storm and had carved out a bunker in one of the closets. I kept him by my side the entire time and he actually slept through most of it.
We were fortunate that we were only without power for about 6 days. It was long enough and an inconvenience but once again, he was a trooper.
Compared to humans, dogs have a short lifespan. I thought I was going to lose him last Fall when he became very ill. I'll never be ready for the day when I have to say goodbye to him but I know that he knows I love him and will always look out for him. I hope in the afterlife we end up together because it's hard to imagine an eternal afterlife without my closest companion.
Today on Facebook I asked, "Have you hugged a dog today?" Guess what I'm doing when I get home tonight?
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