Fair warning: things are about to get a little (or a lot probably) sentimental.
The month of October is special and it’s not just because of Halloween. This month there are two very special birthdays, and the first one (we’ll get to the second one later in the week) is my Grandpa Sal’s birthday.
This year he turned 91 years old! Although if you asked him he’d tell you he’s only 16 and never been kissed, which he accompanies with a cheeky smile 😉
Now, during this time of Halloween fun there is also the Mexican holiday of Dia de los Muertos. It may not be celebrated by everyone, but the decorations are more commonplace these days and I think it’s a reminder (to me at least) to remember my family and friends both past and present. I think about loved ones I’ve lost and ones that I still have, and simply encourages me to appreciate my family and friends in general. (Also, it makes me realize that Thanksgiving will be here before I know it and I have no idea what I’m gonna do!)
So, this year with my Grandpa Sal’s milestone birthday I thought I’d reflect on what he has taught me, and specifically what he has taught me about dogs.
You see, my Grandpa has always loved dogs. As far back as I can remember he’s had a dog with him, and he was the kind of person that took his dog with him everywhere and anywhere, even to work! In fact, when he retired and started doing landscaping work just to keep busy he would actually turn down jobs if the customers told him he couldn’t bring his dog Lucky with him. He has always had a great relationship with his dogs throughout the years, and what’s crazy to me is that he never formerly trained any of them. Rather the trust that he established between him and his dogs was all he needed to have a great relationship with them.
The earliest dog (that I remember at least) was a Beagle named Andy and he was the sweetest dog ever. He was small with giant ears, and my favorite past time was watching Scooby-Doo cartoons with him in my grandparents living room.
Then there was Cookie who was a Springer Spaniel and giant in my memory, although that could be due to the fact that I was just a kid when my grandparents had him. Cookie loved playing fetch (early practice for me as now I have Simon who loves playing just as much) and would only relinquish his tennis ball to my Grandpa. He was an energetic dog that, despite his size, loved sitting on my Grandpa’s lap.
Finally, there was Lucky, who was particularly special to my Granpda Sal since he was the dog he adopted after my Grandma passed away and pretty much became his best buddy. For Lucky my Grandpa would do just about anything, including going to the grocery store to buy a steak or piece of chicken just for Lucky. These two were two peas in a pod and never went anywhere without each other. Sometimes they would even go on drives around town just because my Grandpa said Lucky wanted to. In turn, Lucky was just as devoted to my Grandpa and on their daily walks would make sure he never got too far ahead (my Grandpa never put him on a leash because he claimed Lucky didn’t like it) of my Grandpa.
I grew up watching my Grandpa with his various dogs and was always in awe of the trust he was able to build with each one. Observing him with Andy, Cookie and Lucky throughout the years showed me how special and significant dogs can be to us humans. Dogs (or any pet really) aren’t simply just pets, but they’re family members that can end up meaning so much to us!