Holding my eldest daughter Brooke in my arms for the very first time was one of the most terrifying yet exciting experiences of my life. I was ecstatic that I was going to be her parent, friend, mentor and provider. I was officially a dad.
The day I first picked up my dog Boulder, he shook in my arms – a little, energetic ball of white fluff overwhelmed from the journey he had just taken to get to me. By any measure, Boulder was a fantastic puppy. Chewing was minimal (only one pair of shoes and a small corner of a carpet). Accidents were few and far between.
Yes, I was once again a dad!
Being a pet parent is a little different though.
It was awesome to see Brooke’s personality traits, mannerisms and capabilities emerge (yes, even the bad ones she gets from me). But Boulder’s personality came out much more quickly, which was a lot of fun! Sweet, happy and loving, Boulder is my shadow.
While the feedback you get from a child is much more complex, both are full of joy, heartbreak and love. Boulder is an amazing role model to me. His unconditional love reminds me that regardless of what kind of day I have, he is always there to greet me with extraordinary enthusiasm. He is never down and always gives, gives, and gives some more. He reminds me to appreciate the basic things in life that make me happy, like going for a hike with the whole family.
But more importantly, he always lives in the moment, with zero reservations. Well, except when crossing a stream is involved.
You see, Boulder is afraid of the water.
Boulder, an English Retriever, is scared of the water.
If we are hiking near water, he will sit at the edge and whimper. He might let out a bark or two, but no way is he getting in.
And that’s okay. Part of being a father, whether to Brooke or to Boulder, involves loving them for who they are and providing support when they need it most - even if it means carrying my full-grown English Retriever across the scariest of inch-deep streams.
This article was originally published on Pet360.
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