Three years ago a little lady by the name of “Big Nosed Kate” gave birth to a litter a six puppies and one Harlow, on a tiny farm in southern Kansas.
Can you guess which one is the Harlow? In true form, he’s the one on top of the doggy pile, and the only one actually posing for the camera- preparing for his life as a dog-blogger I assume.
Two months later when I would go to the farm on an unusually warm November afternoon to look at the puppies, I had no idea what I was doing. I’d simply responded to an ad I saw one night while I couldn’t sleep. My only intention was to surprise Chris with a dog after I’d heard him once briefly say, “Vizslas are a pretty cool breed.”
The puppies were all running in circles and chasing each other, except for the little guy who stood off on his own just kinda staring at the sky- daydreaming I assumed.
“This one is a bit of an outsider,” Frank the sweet old farmer told me, “and he’s also got the white diamond on the chest.”
“Is that a good thing?” Was it some sort of gang symbol I wondered? Or was it a sought after thing? Then again, what couldn’t be good about a permanent diamond necklace?
“Not exactly, some breeders don’t like the marking. And you’ll never be able to show him.”
I’d heard enough, I wasn’t worthy of show as a baby either, but my parents still loved me. “I’ll take him.” And as if little Harlow heard me, he suddenly came barreling over.
And so for the past three years, myself and the little “outsider” have gotten along quite well. He’s the one guy always willing to jump in the car and go on a nine hour trip to Nebraska with me. He’s the best kind of passenger always willing to listen, and an even better sharer of road trip snacks (Combos and jerky are his favorite.) He wakes me up in the morning for the days I am ready to tackle, and he wakes me up in the morning for the days I’m not so ready to tackle. With a swift nudge from his nose he reminds it’s time to get going and there’s nothing I can’t take on, and he’ll be right there beside me.
He sits by the window to see me off, and waits by the door for my return. Whether I’ve been gone five minutes or five hours, he’s always anxious for me to walk in that door and tell him about my day. Even though he’d preferred to go, he’s happy just to hear about what I’ve been up to, never the less.
I heard a quote once that was along the lines of “You can tell a lot about a person by the way he treats something that can do nothing for him,” and it was referring to the way a person treats their dog. And it’s funny, because I’ve thought about that quote for years and always found it to be incredibly wrong. Because Harlow does more for me than I do for him. Sure he might not sit in public when I tell him to, and yea he might have knocked my phone into the toilet last night. And if he sees a squirrel or rabbit any and all rules go out the window immediately. And so what if he’s taken up a new fascination of lifting his leg when he goes #2 in an attempt to drop “it” into the neighbor’s potted plants? None of it matters.
What matters is that Harlow loves unconditionally without asking for anything in return. Harlow makes a loner like myself not feel so alone. He laid by my side all day long when I was un-expectantly laid off from a job I actually enjoyed last year. He sat at Chris’s side for three days after his appendix almost burst, knowing he couldn’t come too close, yet he shouldn’t go too far either.
Because Harlow is a dog, and he loves everyone else more than himself. I told Chris last night the only thing that makes me sad about Harlow’s birthday is knowing this is the last year we will be younger than him. After this year, time will start to speed up. The puppy inside of Harlow will start to tire out. The runs will become shorter and the sleeps will become longer. The white on his chin will turn into the white on his face. And slowly but shortly Harlow will turn into the wise old dog and not so much the crazy young pup.
But luckily for us Vizslas tend to live long healthy lives. He’s got another fifteen in him, at least. So happy birthday to my Harlow. Even though the Bears aren’t playing today I’ll go ahead and let him wear his new bday jersey around the house like he’s been insisting.
What can I say? The dog loves athletic fashion.