Brennan: New puppy brings obligations

By Tom Brennan |

The experts are saying the worldwide hunker-down should be over by spring.

Of course by then the murder and suicide rate caused by hunkering should be high enough that the world population will be lower and we can have a little elbow-room out there.

Kidding aside, the pressures generated by the pandemic and the measures necessary to keep it under control can have serious consequences. With that in mind we should all try to reach out to our friends and neighbors who might need a morale boost.

My wife and I have been fortunate in that we have good friends and great neighbors who have reached out to us.  One wonderful couple has offered to send over Thanksgiving dinner which takes the pressure off deciding how to celebrate that popular holiday. This year we will have a lot to be thankful for.

Among the few items that we are not happy about, we lost our 2-year-old goldendoodle to a heart attack a few weeks ago, a terrible shock. He was out playing and chasing balls in the backyard, walked into the living room, laid down and died. Young dogs aren’t supposed to do that, but Baxter had a weak heart that either I didn’t know about or blocked out of my mind. 

Losing him was very difficult but we are about to bring a new puppy into our lives. Our 6-year-old doodle Bonnie dearly misses her buddy and I wish I could somehow tell her about the puppy that is coming her way. It will be a few more weeks before the new guy can come home, but we will be ready for him.

Over the years, I have had many good dog friends whose friendships I have cherished. For a long time I had Labrador retrievers that I worked with to train them for retrieving ducks. Watching retrievers work in the field was a delight and made the expense and effort of hunting worthwhile. Those included chartering aircraft and maintaining a remote cabin since the best hunting is on the fly-in country of Cook Inlet.

After I lost my last retriever I tried hunting without a dog but the experience wasn’t anywhere near worthwhile without one. I decided to make that my last hunting trip since going without a retrieving dog just wasn’t the same.

We switched to goldendoodles because my wife liked the idea of a dog that doesn’t shed its fur. Doodles just keep growing their fur until you take them in for a haircut. So no more retrievers until now.

Our new puppy won’t have that no-shed feature so I guess I will have to learn how to operate a vacuum cleaner or one of those broom thingies. Shouldn’t be too difficult.

In the meantime, we really miss having a young dog around the house. I think about it every time I look at Bonnie, which reminds me of Baxter and his sudden demise.

One of the difficulties of having a dog is the problem that their lives are shorter than human lives and we often must deal with the pain of their passing.

I have had many great dog friends over the years and look forward to bringing another one into my life. I know there will be disadvantages as well as the joy of nurturing a young animal.

Guess I’d better check to see if that vacuum cleaner has operating instructions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For information, sizing, and rates of banner advertising space we have available, please e-mail Mark Hopkin at, or call him at (907) 276-4262.