A birthday cake for a dog.As I woke up this morning, the alarm on my pa1m0ne Tungsten C was going off in an attempt to remind me of something. I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and padded my way over to the chest of drawers on top of which my PDA lay beeping. I picked it up and looked and the white screen with a full screen message in blue text announcing that today is Gracie’s birthday.

My first reaction was that of glee. I was reminded that it was this time last year that Gracie found me and that today was her special day (if only to me). Yet in the next breath, I was reminded that Gracie is no longer a puppy and that made me just a little bit sad. That little tinge of sadness only remained for a moment, but it was palpable. For a fleeting instant I quickly went through the statistics of what a dog’s average life span is and how much longer I have with her in my life. Morbid as that may be, the thought of not having Gracie in my life is a thought I can’t bear to entertain. Hearing how Tyler Hamilton had to put his dog down yesterday perhaps put these thoughts more in the forefront of my mind. Whatever made me dive into these doldrums, I quickly shook my head to knock these thoughts loose, because today is a happy and special day, not a sad one.

After spending a year with Gracie, I truly cannot remember what life was like without her. When I come downstairs in the morning to let her out of her crate, I bound down the stairs like a kid at Christmas. I open the door, she stretches and then walks out and immediately flips over for her morning belly rub. While I rub her belly and coo over her as if she were a newborn, she stretches some more and then she’s up and bounding for the door. After a quick walk, now without a leash, we come back inside where I fix breakfast, while she eats hers. Later, when I sit down with my morning manger, Gracie is sitting in “her chair” next to me ready for the errant bite that I share with her. After writing a little on my weblog, or reading one of my current books, we hit the back yard again for another bathroom break. More often than not, Vegas (our neighbor’s dog) makes an appearance and they run around and play while I sit back and watch the show. It’s a beautiful thing to see a dog just being a dog.

She’s my little buddy and this little morning ritual is but one of the many that we share throughout the day. They make my day and when I’m away at client sites, it drives me nuts and I can’t wait to rush home and let her out of her crate and let her run free. If it wasn’t for the fact that she’s a chewing machine, I’d never crate her, but alas that’s simply not an option. Luckily, she like’s her crate and I now have the luxury of telling her “time for bed” and she’ll walk into her crate without objection. She’s just the perfect little dog.

[Cue Michael’s Catch Phrase]

“I love her soooo much.”


Looking over what I’m writing, I realize that this entry is anything but macho. Writing about how I coo over a pet isn’t exactly something we picture James Dean, or Hugh Jackman doing. Maybe Hugh does coo over his dog, but I don’t think he’s going to share that side of him with the rest of the world. So why am I doing it? Because, I just don’t care. 🙂 I’m like a teenager who’s fallen in love for the first time and is compelled to profess his love by carving it in trees and shouting it from the rooftops. In my eyes, Gracie is the most perfect and beautiful dog in the world and I’m completely smitten and I don’t care who knows it.

They say that a dog is man’s best friend and no truer words have been spoken. The past year with Gracie has been one of discovery, joy and wonderment. She has taught me so much about unconditional love and the joy of just being in the moment reveling in who you are, flaws and all. I never knew that having a dog would be like this, but it’s such a wonderful surprise. I just hope that someday I can be half the man that Gracie thinks I am.

Happy birthday baby.