You were our first. Our sweet boy. Our Missouri dog with the Baltimore name. As a 12-week old puppy, you peed on me as I held you in my lap during the drive from St. Louis where we picked you up to Columbia, MO where we welcomed you home. I considered myself forever marked as your Momma. You were easy to train and eager to please. You developed a fondness for chewing cloth–towels, sheets, pillow corners–but you weren’t a destructive dog. Although you were a Lab, you viewed yourself a lap dog, preferring to lie on us while we held the end of a bone so you could better chew it. You were friendly by birthright as all Labs are, but you really loved other people and were quick to show them affection with kisses. Lots of kisses. And you were a wagger. You wagged that tail all the time. Such a happy boy.
You loved tomatoes and apples and bananas and peanut butter. You could even eat an apple like a person so long as one of us held it and turned it for you. You loved sleeping on your back and using a pillow for your head. You loved being sprayed with the hose in the summer, trying to bite the water as it showered from the nozzle. You loved to play by jumping in and out of the tub, thankfully when it was empty. You loved playing hide and seek and had so much fun when we would jump out and yell, “RAH!” You loved to chew on sticks in the yard. You loved Greenies and rope toys. You loved that soccer ball you found in the park during a January snow day, carrying it all the way home yourself so no one could take it from you.
You loved to travel (just like me). You road-tripped with Daddy, going coast to coast one summer. Lots of people can’t even say they’ve done that! You had a “summer home” in Eugene, Oregon one year and took a spring break trip to Oklahoma. You even lived in two states.
You learned new things throughout your whole life including not sleeping in our bed anymore when you were 6 years old. You also learned to no longer get up on the furniture…except on your corner of the couch. When you were 8 years old, you learned to climb a flight of stairs when we moved to Nebraska into a house with a second floor and basement! And most of all, when you were 10 years old, you learned how to open your heart to welcome a new family member, Peter Parker. You weren’t thrilled with that 7.5 week old puppy at first, but you grew to be Parker’s brother. You showed Parker the ropes and allowed him into our pack.
And now…well, now, you’re still our first. Still our sweet boy. Thank you for 12+ years with us. Thank you for all the kisses, all the snuggles, all the “RAHs.” Thank you for your complete and total unconditional love. You taught me so very much.
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