In my journey through life I have had the privilege to share the company, friendship and companionship of some really great Dogs. True, honest and real-life examples of the very BEST of “Mans Best Friend.” Growin’ up as a boy we lived in the City of Norwood, Ohio and didn’t have room for a large breed to run. When I was around 4-5 yrs old I begged my folks for a Puppy and was tickled to death when Dad brought home “Spot” & “Streak,” two young beagle-mutt mixed pups named for their respective forehead markings. We had no way of keeping them in the house and I was a heartbroken little kid when I came to find our back fence cut and both dogs stolen just a few short weeks after we brought ’em home.
Upon the realization that our new Pups were long gone, Mom & Dad decided that the best thing to do to cheer me (and the whole family) up was to get a new Dog. Thus began my Mom’s long term relationship with small, Black French Poodles. She had a few really good’ns over the years, “Buttons” being the 1st who lived to be nearly 14 years old. “Bandit,” “BB” and “Bullet” were all smart, fun little Dogs and great additions to our Family. Mom & Dad both loved ’em, as did I, but I had always had a fascination with larger breeds. Labradors in particular just struck me personally as the most handsome, smart, good-natured and loving Dogs on the face of God’s Green Earth.
For several years I had a Black Lab/Great Dane Mix named “BULL.” He was really somethin’ else carrying the size of a Great Dane with the abundant energy and heart of a Labrador. Looking majestically regal with his black coat and white crest on his chest, he carried himself as the King of the Castle and had more in common with the gait of a thoroughbred horse than his canine brethren. I lost Ol’ “Bull” to an inoperable Cancer several years ago but his spirit lives on and I carry his memory, name & paw-print with me tattooed on my right inner forearm. I know the Ol’ Bull is still watching over me and looking out for his master. He sure was a Good Boy!!!
After a few years without a four legged friend to pal around with, I decided it was time to pick myself a new partner. I’m the kinda man that NEEDS a Dog. A true Best Friend by my side no matter what through good times or bad. That lead me some 6 and a half years ago to Noah’s Ark Animal Rescue in Sardinia, Ohio. I responded to an add they had for Labrador/Great Dane Mixes. Once I got all the way out to the shelter (after blowing a tire and having my Brother Zack Heflin pick me up in his Taxi to make sure I made the appointment) I was initially disheartened to find no Lab/Dane mixes. Only pure-breds of each. I decided to look anyway and boy am I glad I did! After visiting with several of the Dogs that were available for adoption and not finding a connection, I happened upon a small, black bundle of energy that literally bowled me over when he bounded out of his kennel. I knew immediately that I had found my NEW BEST FRIEND. The lady at the kennel said his name was “Yanni,” and I was surely not gonna keep it as that, reminding me of that new age piano playin’ fellar on the late night TV infomercials. I thought of the name “JOHNNY” and then blurted out the name “JOHNNY CASH THE LAB IN BLACK,” and he came and sat by my side as if we had been friends forever. We’ve literally been inseparable ever since (save for the dates when I am on the road and he stays with his “girlfriends” at Best Friends Pet Care/Grooming & Boarding). We’ve went through our life waggin’ tales and howlin’ at the moon like the Ol’ Dawgs we are. When I got a little heavy, Ol’ “Johnny” was puttin’ the feedbag on as well and it was getting the weight off of him at our Vets recommendation that drove me to get myself in the best shape of my life. Whether we are on a walk, a run, playin’ in the nice big yard of his new palatial hacienda or just layin’ around being the sorry hounds that we are and drivin’ his Mommy Mrs. Moore crazy (we are BOTH good at that) I know I have my BEST FRIEND right by my side. The old sayin’ goes “Every Crow Thinks Theirs Is The Blackest” but Ol’ Johnny Cash truly is the BEST DOG IN THE WORLD!
I’ve also gotta mention “Kate The Great.” She belongs to my Father In Law “Wild Bill” Murray and is the best Bird dog I have ever seen in my life. She literally runs circles around every dog in the field and at 13 years of age had her last hunt last season. She has settled into a life of leisure campin’ out in Wild Bills E-Z Chair. We are sure gonna miss her when hunting season comes around, and I’m sure we’ll have a much harder time bringing home our quarry without the expert help of “Kate The Great!”
Gimme a holler and tell me YOUR “Dog Tales.”
See Ya Down The Road……