My husband and I adopted Radar from our son when college life became too demanding and city life was too restrictive for Radar's canine desire for more territory. We have a big yard- and big hearts- so this is where Radar came to live.
He was the cutest puppy you ever set eyes on! A perfect example of movie star dog. The most photogenic, fuzzy, black and white ball of licks and hugs that you could imagine. You just wanted to hold him in your lap and feed him a bottle -or sing him to sleep- or pet him till your arms hurt.
But Radar grew up. His fuzz turned to shag. His stumpy overly-large feet became thin and narrow and his plumpy legs sprouted out like magic beanstalks. His muzzle morphed into a tiny fox-like mouth that came to a point with a black nose on it. He loved to jump as though he had some amazing hidden springs inside those long. slender legs- and soon there was no couch or bed or chair that he couldn't reign over.
I didn't really want Radar at first. It was like babysitting a stranger. I had things to do, places to go. A dog totally messed up my routine. He demanded food, water, playtime and potty breaks. And besides that- he was
But something happened that still astounds me. Radar became handsome. Oh, not in the physical sense of the word, but my heart dug a soft warm place for him and love began to grow. It didn't matter that his head was too small, his legs too long, or that strangers would ask disgustedly- "What kind of dog is that?" To me, Radar was a special child and I was his mother.
I had company dropping in the other day and looked around the house to see what needed straightening. As empty nesters, we can usually keep the place picked up and fairly neat since there's just the two of us. But, factor in Radar. A dog with a hundred toys. And where were those toys? All over! There was a mangled doggy by the footstool, a ratty lizard by the couch, a headless bunny at the foot of the bed, and a shredded possum in the hallway.
"Radar!" I shouted. "why can't you put your toys back in the basket?" (It would be really cool if he knew how.)
None of his toys have stuffing. They did at one time. For about an hour or so after arriving on Radar's doorstep. But even though he has flattened and gutted approximately twenty victims, he still seems to love them all and continues to play with them daily.
Radar is getting kind of stodgy as the years pass. If he were human, he'd be a cross between Barney Fife and the Professor. He could easily look the part in a tweed jacket and a bow tie. He sometimes sits like a man and acts rather aloof and conceited - as though he's figuring quantum physics in his head while all his dog friends are thinking about kitty cats and snicky-snacks.
I have noticed lately that Radar is getting fat. Plump. Tight like a big pork sausage about to burst its skin. I can't understand why. Or how, Especially since my husband and I have been practically vegetarians since starting our diets. There's no "people food" to graze upon after meals. There's no ice cream or T-bones, or hard salami available lately.
You know, it really wouldn't be a problem if he slept in his own bed. But, he insists on touching some part of our bodies when he retires for the evening. If we curl up our knees to sleep, he nests in the little triangle of space behind our butts. If we lay on our backs with our legs stretched, he plops down between them. And sometime in the middle of the night he works his way up beside us and lays his head on the pillow.
There have been many mornings when my husband and I awoke, only to find Radar laying between us on his back, his feet sticking straight up in the air, and looking at us as though to say "What's for breakfast, my good people?"
Sometimes our pets have a way of blending into our lives so well, that we forget to appreciate their loyalty and companionship. Some days we take for granted their warmth and excitement and giving nature. Radar is the best dog we have ever had and he has brought us joy and humor and something to love.
So, take time today to hug your pet. Talk to them. Give them a treat. Tell them that you love them. Take them for a walk. Play games with them.
They won't be here forever.