**just a heads up: this post is going to be intensely self-indulgent. And long. But it’s my blog, and I'll gush if I want to.
Let's just shoot straight. I'm a sucker for my dog. Every message I preach, every post I write… If I weren’t such an exemplar of self-control, it would all have something to do with Jack, my four-year-old golden retriever.
We grew up with dogs. It started with a collie named Lady. Then, when I was in elementary school, our family picked out a golden retriever puppy. Rusty was the quintessential family dog. The best memories are of him in winter. My brother and I would grab a sled and load it with snowballs. Then we’d jump in with Rusty on the leash and throw them in front of him. It didn’t take long for him to figure out the gig, and for a couple of years while we were little, we had ourselves a sled dog. (You know the neighborhood kids were jealous.)
The day we put Rusty to sleep is burned into my memory like the YouTube video of the dude doing the Beyonce dance. Like a train wreck. It was years later when I was in college. I carried him to the car. My dad and I sat in the vet’s office and cried like babies. And I made up my mind that I was going to get my own golden as soon as I could.
So a little over four years ago, my parents gave me a puppy for Christmas (straight out of a Norman Rockwell, right?). We went down to a farm and I picked out the biggest puppy in the litter. I got exactly what I was hoping for.
(Huge thanks to my friend Ryan Ricketts for this pic. We enjoyed a legendary cabin trip in Michigan a while back.)
He eats everything: socks, sticks of butter from the counter, my roommate’s vehicle title, and books. He makes noises like Chewbacca when people come to the door. He has never stopped humping, though he was neutered at four months. His head is the approximate size and weight of a bowling ball, and he’s convinced it belongs in your lap. He thinks my twin bed is the perfect size for him and wonders where I ever got the idea that it’s meant for my use.
Jack first partied with Aspen, my parents’ husky. Recently, some buddies got a black lab puppy. Magic – all of 14 lbs – isn’t sure about Jack, but Jack – about 100 lbs – is crazy about him. (And those buddies have been asking where their shoutout is on the blog. Here it is fellas. Dave, Terry, Bolt, MT, Tut, Dagan, JC, Cory… consider yourselves shouted.)
And that’s it. It's out of my system, and we can get back to more productive things. I’m not going to tell you how Jack teaches me about God’s love. That’s dumb. (I mean, he does, but you don’t want to hear about that.)
All you need to know is that Jack is the greatest dog that has ever lived, and he’d love to meet you if the opportunity is ever presented. Brace yourself.