It was a cold day in January when we met Bagger Vance for the first time. We had lost Maggie just a few months prior, so our hearts were still tender. Yet, even from seeing his picture the first time on the website, we knew. I didn’t so much grow up with dogs – we had cats instead. I loved our pets. When I met my husband, I fell in love with his Golden Retriever Maggie first. When I visited his house, Maggie would follow me and when I sat down, she would lay down beside me and put her head in my lap. She was the best dog, so sweet and loyal. Yet she was still playful too. She was a senior dog even then, so losing her wasn’t a surprise, but I was surprised at how hard it was for me. She was almost 13 years old – ancient for a big dog. But she’d spent the summer before she died in the fall playing in the pool and hiking with us. She kept up like a dog 1/2 her age.
Falling in love with another dog was easier than I expected. Surprising even to me. Bagger Vance, our now Golden Retriever is the best dog. (I know that I said Maggie was the best dog and she was. So is he.) We found Bagger through the local Golden Retriever rescue group and knew when we saw his picture that he was the dog for us – don’t ask how, sometimes you just know. As a male dog, he’s different and just has a different temperament. However, like Maggie, he’s an attention hound, completely loyal, and fiercely protective. He drives me crazy because he sheds like crazy, eats everything he can get into his big mouth, and he howls even when he just thinks that he’s been left alone.
But I wouldn’t trade him for any of a hundred other dogs. He reminds me to be enthusiastic when I see my people for the first time in a while. To sit near those I love – preferably touching them in some way. Bagger teaches me patience (although sometimes poorly) and to forgive quickly. Certainly, he teaches me the value of a devoted friend. I don’t want to be a dog, but I really love the idea of loving like a dog. Unconditionally.
Are you a dog lover? What has loving a dog taught you?