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giving thanks for dogs on thanksgiving

24 November 2011
Thanksgiving dog and turkey dinner

od gives luna a bit of lovin’ at the thanksgiving table as the turkey awaits round two

American Thanksgiving: a Day for Dogs?

In order of importance, the four-day American Thanksgiving Weekend is about shopping for bargains on flat panel TVs and video game consoles, college football, and turkey. Dogs (even Great Danes) don’t really figure anywhere in the list.

With Thanksgiving Day being one of the few officially observed holidays in the United States, the dog park was packed. The walking paths were busy. People with 9-5 jobs who you don’t normally see in the morning were there in the morning. Luna ran and ran, played with her friends, gave thanks for grass to run through and puddles to jump in. (Her friends probably gave thanks that they have a gentle Great Dane puppy to play with).

When we returned home and were later sitting at the table eating overcooked turkey and the best gravy that MW has ever made (an unexpected contrast), I started thinking about Thanksgiving through the lens of dog ownership. Last Thanksgiving, we were not dog owners. This year, we are. Do we therefore have anything to be thankful for?

1. Finding a Good Breeder

This would be B2. Finding her tops our thankfulness list.

We live in the Northern California wine country where success begins with preparing the ground, and choosing the right rootstock. (For those not familiar with the wine industry, rootstock is the woody stump that you plant in the ground to which you graft the vines that produce the grapes).

Selecting a dog breeder is like selecting the correct rootstock. A good choice greatly increases the chances that the experience, either grape harvest or pet ownership, will be successful and pleasant.

If every service provider in your life is as honest, resourceful, responsive, and caring about what they sell as B2, then you’re extremely fortunate. “World is a better place” kind of sentiment. That’s not hyperbole; we were incredibly fortunate to chance upon her. I’ve just been amazed with her. Whether it was the care in breeding, her pre-sale friendliness, or after-sale responsiveness, she has been exemplary.

The biggest validation is the fact that so many of her former customers return to select another Great Dane puppy when their older one is nearing the end and preparing to move on to Dog Valhalla.

2. Getting a Dog that Hasn’t Destroyed Anything in the House

Comedy is much harder to write when the puppy you get doesn’t destroy stuff in your life with YouTube-worthy abandon. Think Marley and Me. You remember that book? Or the movie? The formal title of the book is actually Marley and Me: Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dog.

A dog animatedly chewing its way through a down-filled sofa is easily worthy of 300,000 YouTube views. A dog that chews table legs or eats popcorn from a bag is simply comedy gold. That’s not Luna; she has turned out to be a really sweet-natured pet, very distant from any “worst” categorization. She’s not moody, aggressive, or destructive. Sure, she steals food from LC’s bowl whenever she can slink upstairs undetected by us, but her mischief so far has been misdemeanor rather than felony-worthy.

Dogs playing and telling jokes to each other

our neighbor zoe cracks up after luna tells her a joke that starts with “an irish wolfhound and italian greyhound walk into a bar…."

3. The Neighbors’ Dogs

I didn’t really pay any close attention to the neighbor’s pets until Luna arrived. I said “hello” to them when we passed in the street but never spent any quality time with either Fergie (English Bulldog) or Zoe (Bernese Mountain Dog). Luna’s arrival in January began my relationship with Zoe and Fergie. They’re good dogs and pleasant companions for Luna. They play fair with her. They don’t poop on our lawn. Having quality friends for your puppy is similar to wishing that your son or daughter finds a good circle of friends at school to hang out with. Helps to ensure that the mischief that your puppy or daughter (OD, in our case) gets up to will be fairly benign.

4. Luna’s Good Health

This is relative. Puppies require all sorts of attention that costs money. Mostly, it comes from a woman in a white lab coat or surgical smock. (For some reason, our local vet clinic is almost entirely staffed by women). You’ve got all of those first-year checkups, vaccinations, nail clippings, etc. It all adds up, and is just part of the TCO (total cost of ownership). Can’t avoid it. What can really hurt, though, is the left-field surprises. That would be the lump that you unexpectedly discover on a front paw. (This just happened to Zoe and required a not-inexpensive vet visit for surgery). Other than a couple of stings during the summer and the revelation that she’s very allergic, she’s been very healthy. The financial hit could have been worse, but Luna hasn’t required any other unforeseen surgeries or mental health counseling.

5. Something to Keep the Bed Warm

Lying down, Luna is easily four-feet long. Her fur is less than ¾ inch long. She radiates lots of heat outward. This is a good thing because it is now November. Winter is almost here. When she jumps on the bed to disappear beneath the duvet, it’s as good as having a large hot water bottle, albeit, one that’s a lot more flatulent.

We’re not thankful for the flatulence but it comes with our dog. It’s a small price to pay for our Great Dane puppy.

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