Happy Birthday Sydney

Eight years ago today, life on planet earth got a whole lot better.  That was the day that my Sydney was born.

When I got back from Iraq, my brother-by-another-mother Scotch Ellis Loring told me that his and Todd’s Labrador Rosebud had made her way to doggy heaven.  Rosebud had been a member of the family and I was so sorry for the loss my friends had suffered.  Much in the same way that Sydney was family to me before Adam came along, Rosebud was family to Todd before he met Scotch.  To give you a little example of how committed Todd was to Rosebud and what a good owner he was, Todd was once about to buy a home in the Hollywood hills, they were all but moved in.  But when Todd discovered that Rosebud (who was getting on up there in years) had trouble navigating all the stairs in the beautiful home, he called the whole thing off.  Even though Todd really loved the house, if it wasn’t suitable for the whole family, it was suitable.

So when I got back from Iraq, Scotch told me about Rosebud’s making her transition.  He, of course was just devastated.  We cried together as brothers do when bad shit happens.

When they had had an appropriate time to grieve and the Loring-Hollands decided to welcome a new four-legged into the family, Scotch called me and asked me to go with him out to Altadena to look at a new litter of pups.  The woman who was the breeder had been the breeder to Rosebud all those years ago.  “Okay,” I said, “But I am not coming home with a puppy.  Just so you’ll know.”  “That’s fine.” Scotch smiled, knowing damn well I probably would.

When we got to the lady’s house, and went inside, it was floor-to-ceiling dog kennels.  There were dog toys everywhere and tons and tons of high quality dog food stacked on the counters.  You could tell that her life was completely wrapped up in these dogs.  The place will probably smell like dogs long after we’re all gone.  I learned that she had been breading English Labs for thirty years.  She knew just about everything there is to know about the breed.

She took us out back to a little pin where the new pups were.  They were just about as cute a site as I had ever seen.  The mom was inside having a meal so the puppies were just sort of piled on top of one another taking a nap.  All except for one.  There was one perfect little lab off to himself in the corner.  “Hey little guy.”  I said quietly and I swear he looked up and smiled at me. I bent over and picked him up and help him close to my face.  I could feel my heart start to glow bright warm magenta just as his did too.  We were connected from that moment.  I told the woman I’d be taking Sydney home.  She said she’d only sell him to me if I promised not to neuter him until he was at least three years old.  Breeds that have a propensity toward hip dysplasia need their testosterone for skeletal development.  I promised that I would abide by that rule so she took my check and we were on our way.  Scotch made his pick too so Valor became a part of their family that day.  It was great letting the two brothers play together while we still lived in LA.  That was one of the many painful things about moving to Salt Lake, separating the brothers (Scotch and me included).  But at least they got to spend their puppyhood together.  That’s more than most dogs get.  And Scotch and I at least have the liberty of talking on the phone.

These eight years with Sydney have been wonderful.  I love him so very much.  He has been by me through good times and bad.  I swear he knows me better than I know myself.  He can sense when somethings wrong.  He’ll come and sit quietly by me and press his body against mine.  I love the way he smells.  I love how obedient he is.  Other than the few little things he chewed up when he was little, he’s never been a bit of trouble.  He gives unselfishly of his love and asks for nothing but love in return.  I know most everybody thinks their dog is the best but mine really is!  Our friendship makes my quality of life exponentially better.  Thank God for Sydney!

While I’ve been typing this, He’s settled in for the evening. I’ve stacked both dog beds, one on top of the other so he’s doing a little “princess and the pea” thing tonight.   Willie’s still out at the duck club with Pawpaw so Sydney’s had to celebrate his birthday without one of his pals.  Dennis has stuck close all day though.  That’s really nothing unusual.  I’ve never seen a cat who loved a dog more than Dennis seems to love Sydney.

And we love him too.  Many happy returns pal.  I’m glad you’re part of our family.

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