Today on Valentine's Day, I pay tribute to one of our dogs, Cowboy. Two years ago on Valentine's Day, I was asked to foster a senior Golden that was picked up as a stray, and was on his "last day" in a shelter in West Virginia. Here was fate again....Carl and I just happened to be off work the next day and could meet the transport that was bringing him to our part of Virginia; so that made it easy to say "yes."
When we first saw him, he was leashed to a tree in a backyard. He stood up and started happily barking at us, as if to ask where we'd been. With the leash in hand, he walked right to our van and put his front feet up on the open side door, a signal for us to help him in and to get on with his adventure! Of course a couple of people suggested we name him something associated with Valentine's Day. But I named him "Cowboy" for a couple of reasons--He had on a rope-like collar, and with bow-legs bent because of age, a few missing teeth, all reminded me of an "old" cowboy--The name just seemed to fit him.
As we got to know Cowboy, I thought he was sweet old fellow (aren't they all?) and I thought it was a bit endearing that when he wagged his tail, it went in a big circle that never seemed to stop going. We found him to be a happy, big goofy Golden with a little bit of laryngeal paralysis that causes him to have a raspy old dog bark that is always telling you when he wants something--If his barking doesn't get your attention, then he'll grab your hand, your shirt, or whatever he can and pull you to what he wants, which is usually something related to the kitchen.
I've no idea what Cowboy's past was like, and of course we have no idea how old he really is. But what I do know, is that we couldn't love him anymore if he'd been with us his entire life. I feel that with Cowboy and all the other senior Goldens, that when I look into their eyes, we have been given an extraordinary gift to love, and to be loved unconditionally in return--For me, it's the perfect Valentine's Day gift!
Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!