We all grow up in different ways, experiencing different things, and coming to differing conclusions about what’s important, fun and essential. I grew up on a dirt road, that was effectively a dead end, surrounded by hundreds of acres of forest. There was even a pristine reservoir within a mile or so of our home.
I also grew up with an Irish Setter we named “Rusty” and he was a huge part of my childhood, from age 8 until his death when I was 21. Big, goofy, playful and also a hunter, he actually brought a hindquarter of a deer home one day.
As an adult, I have since shared my days with a succession of similar creatures, mostly dark red golden retrievers. My first was Brer in 1980. He died young at age 8 of cancer. Heartbroken, I waited ten years before I added my second, Buio in 1998.
In 2000, Buio managed to get two women who were out walking, to stop and say hello. Two years later I married Veronica, and I have thanked Buio every day since for that favor.
Four years later we added Izzy (pictured as a puppy below).
Buio was hit by a car when he was around two years old, severing the radial nerve in his left leg. It had to be amputated, unfortunately. It never slowed him down or stopped him from doing all his favorite things. He just got tired from the added strain and effort.
Buio passed at the end of a long run at age 14 in 2013.
A few months later we added Blue, a black lab. My brother had introduced me to that breed with his wonderful dog Jack, a cool and handsome boy with a great loyal heart.
In 2019, we added Blaze, yet another dark golden retriever, in anticipation of Izzy’s impending end, which arrived about a year later, in August 2020.
It was great having Blaze get to know Izzy during that overlapped year.
For an entire year we had three big dogs.
I could go on and on about big dogs and why I love them. They are playful, fun-loving, loyal, and forever enticing me to drop what I am doing and be in the moment with them. They love adventure, are fearless and always optimistic and positive, and hungry. They are always at your side with a ready wet kiss when you least expect it, and they work their way deep into your heart, where they will always remain, long after they pass on.
We’re back down to just two big dogs nowadays. But Izzy, Buio, Brer and Rusty remain alive in my heart.