I make no bones about it; I'm a dog person. My favorite dog is the Golden Retriever.
JoJo was faithfully at my side for almost 14 years. After she was born, the breeder put a purple string around her neck to identify her from her siblings. I knew she was royalty then and she didn't disappoint. Golden puppies are a magnificent ball of poofy, reddish-blonde hair. And like all puppies they stumble and fall over one another in a flurry of fur. That's how they get you.
JoJo's tail was constantly wagging. Except when she was sleeping but even then there was an occasional thumping that I hoped was a rabbit-chasing dream. She loved to go walking and whenever the leash came out there was an excitement that could barely be contained. She was great with kids who ran to her like bees to a flower. And that soft coat could make a cashmere sweater seem scratchy.
The only health problem she had was her thyroid gland that misfired after she turned a year old. Daily pills took care of that. As she aged that dark red face turned into a soft amber blonde that begged to be cuddled. With all dogs there's poop to police, baths to be struggled over and the occasional open fence which, when you have their nose, can lead to all kinds of trouble. For JoJo it was an afternoon in the McDonald's dump bin.
As I write this my eyes still well up. It's been three years since I lost her. When you become that close to an animal the relationship becomes almost human. She was a hell of a lady.
This is National Pet Month. Many shelters across the Upper Midwest are oases for far too many dogs, cats, you name it. Local businesses are offering drop boxes for food and pet supplies. Please give what you can because lots of little donations add up to big benefits for shelters