If you’re anything like me, sometimes you’re more interested in pets than people. So, meet my guys, Ace and Deuce.
Ace was a golden retriever we adopted from a shelter when he was just 8 weeks old. A certified therapy dog who visited hospice patients, he was our practice baby, a much-loved hospital volunteer and my firstborn child…just the best boy. Sadly, he was diagnosed with lymphoma when he was 6, then he fought the cancer for 10 months. He died in May 2011. He was just 7.
When we learned that Ace was dying we thought we’d adopt another puppy, and we just had to call him Deuce. Though Deuce will never replace Ace, we’re not the same without a dog and we hoped it would make the loss a bit more manageable. Eventually I would need a new therapy partner and I wanted to start training the puppy as I had trained Ace.
When Deuce came home (from a high-kill shelter in Georgia) he was 10 weeks old and weighed 4.8 pounds. We called him the Teacup Labrador. He was the smallest puppy in the litter, probably because he had several parasites hitching rides in his coat and his belly. With lots of TLC, several visits to the vet, and consistent, loving training he’s become a cherished member of the family. Fortunately he had Ace, who was always polite and well mannered, to teach him the ropes.
Deucey is almost 1 now and he’s a 65-pound handful. He eats Freshpet puppy food — and shoes. He gets into trouble in two shakes of a puppy’s tail. This week’s casualties include one pair of my sandals, numerous rope dog toys (his favorite to shred) and several action figures, toy train cars and stuffed animals. Hopefully, Deuce will chill out enough to pass his therapy-dog evaluation in a year or so. (Or two years. Or nine. Fingers crossed.)
Deuce loves to come to work with me at Freshpet. He has his own bed and dozens of refrigerators filled with healthy, fresh dog food. It’s doggie Nirvana! Now I just have to teach him not to mount the CEO’s leg.
I must say he’s smart as a whip and he picks up tricks and commands immediately. He’s strong as an ox and likes to prove it on our walks, but we’re working on that every day. He has mastered the sit, stay, wait, down and leave-it commands and he sleeps through the night and rings a bell to go out. I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship.
He’s a cute little bugger, don’t you think?