Giving thanks for my steadfast friends

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I’m grateful, beyond what words can express, for the companionship and health of my near-perfect “heart dog” Otto, a six-year-old scruffy mixed breed. Our early years together were a challenge but worth the effort, and I count on him to behave well in all sorts of circumstances and he *almost* never lets me down. He always seems to know when I need to take a break from the computer for dog hugs and petting, and when I need to take a break from the office for a mind-clearing, heart-opening walk in the woods – and he knows exactly how get me to comply with either recommendation. He helps me train the various foster dogs and dogs who belong to friends who are having trouble with said dogs, and guides all of them forward on the trail, and unfailingly, back to me when I call.

Giving thanks for my steadfast friends

I’m also grateful for little Tito, the Chihuahua my husband and I agreed to care for, “for just a little while,” a couple of years ago. He came to us too-skinny and hand-shy, quick to growl menacingly if he perceived a threat. At 10 pounds, he couldn’t possibly defend himself in any meaningful way against humans who meant him harm, but he wasn’t going to go down without a fight. Today, most of that behavior is gone, replaced by a quirky, funny, happy little dude who greets everyone he meets like people he knows. . . and if he HAS met you before, you get the “OH MY GOD I AM SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU AGAIN!” treatment. He loves tennis balls and swimming more than your average Labrador, and can hold his own on any cross-country hike that can deflate much bigger and more athletic dogs. Despite the fact that he knows only one behavior reliably (“Sit”), he blends in and behaves so well that we tend to think of him as well-trained.

Tell us about the dogs you are grateful for this Thanksgiving week!

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