Of Dogs and Men

The end of the year has special meaning around the Cummings house. As we end the Christmas holiday we celebrate the birth of our olden golden, Moxie, on the 27th, my own half-birthday on the 29th, and now the half-birthday of the growin’ golden, Ludo, on the 28th.

Don’t pretend you don’t celebrate half-birthdays, too, you party animal. It’s an event.

At times like these I like to reflect on how far we’ve come, these beautiful boys and I. Forty-eight-and-a-half is quite a journey, in what was – to me – a momentous year.

Let’s start with the house elder: Moxie. As of last year, he surpassed me in age for the first time and became the man of the house. How so? Well, as you know, dogs age at a factor of 7 compared to humans so on his 7th birthday he became 49 at a time that I was still 47. Now he’s 56, relatively speaking, while I’m still back here at 48 (and a half!). It takes a lot of pressure off of me now that he’s in charge.

We brought Moxie home when he was about 7 weeks old. We drove out to Oak Run to see the breeder – a wonderful family on a snow-covered road with goldens running around of all ages and sizes. A veritable winter wonderland for those of us with a golden fetish. Heavenly, to say the least.

Moxie was my second choice in a litter of twelve, I’m ashamed to say. Suzie had already picked out Moxie (and his name!) from pictures before we had arrived. He was the darkest red in the bunch, an easy choice for her. There was a lighter, fatter golden in the bunch with the biggest paws I’d ever seen on a puppy and the face of bewildered wonder. He took a liking to me and sat in my lap. The dog that would soon be Moxie didn’t much appreciate that and he knocked that angel off my lap and claimed me for his own. The rest was fate. I used to threaten Moxie all the time that I would take him right back to the breeder and get “Big Paws” if he continued to act up. I think the last time I did that was November.

Moxie slept the whole way home, the only dog to do that so far. We took him into both our work places to meet our families, and he was so docile. Even the vet couldn’t wake him during his initial examination. We thought we had a defective dog. I’d give anything if Ludo were as defective as Moxie now.

But if Moxie had grown to be the official “best dog we’ve ever owned” then Ludo has proven it. I haven’t had a dog as anxious and disobedient as Ludo since our first dog, the long-remembered mutt named Mickey. Ludo talks back when scolded (literally!), pulls on the leash when excited, tears the covers off the couches when we leave the house, bullies Moxie incessantly, and never ever ever sits still between bed times. Ever. I love that needy little tyrant so much.

Yesterday I compared Ludo to Donald Trump in a conversation. Just like Ludo, Trump will come along and make his predecessor look like the best ever in comparison. It takes the bad ones to truly appreciate how good the good ones were. 😉

So I guess that leaves me. Moxie turned 8, Ludo 1 ½, and me 582 months old. I won’t take the time to recount the roughly seventeen-thousand four hundred and sixty days I’ve been alive but I will say this: in many ways I’ve just completed the best year of my life. I’ve got some complaints, certainly, but most of those are about things I cannot control. I’ve been taught by every guru that matters to only concern myself with the things I can control. Where it concerns my sphere of influence, my world is brighter than it has ever been.

The rest of the stuff, about me, you’ll read here every week. That’s what Tom being Tom is all about.

I hope your year has been as wonderful as mine. I hope it’s been even better. If it hasn’t I can only give you one bit of sage advice: change what you can, accept what you cannot, and live free as the person that you are. No matter how many days are behind you there are many days still ahead. Make each one matter in the ways that matter most to you.

And forgive your youngest son his daily sins.

I’ve had to learn to do that, too. 🙂

6 comments on Of Dogs and Men

  1. Moxie and Ludo provide the proper balance to life. One is calm, measured, wise, and, without exaggeration, flat out amazing. The other is the wild, untethered, unruly, and a constant reminder of how easy it is to forget what it was like to be a kid in a world full of ‘adults.’
    I love you and Mrs C, and your golden boys immeasurably. May you all prosper in this odd numbered year. Cheers brother.

    1. Thank you, Mr Andersen, for the kind words; you know we love you, too! There is a kind of balance to these guys, isn’t there? I mean, if they were all Moxie he would just be a regular dog. 😉

      Let’s take this world by storm this year, brother! And by storm I mean let’s slow down a bit, read more, and stop and smell the roses. That’s about all the storm I have right now. 🙂

  2. Your walk down memory lane is making me cry! This was almost a year ago, and man, was ’16 a great year.

    Ludo. Well.

    One of Mrs C’s favorite movies of all time is Labyrinth, from the 80s. One of the characters in that movie was a cuddly, rock-controlling monster named “Ludo.” So, she always had the name on the back of her mind. When it came time to name our new child, we wrestled with many names. I wanted “Marvel.” But, we settled on Ludo.

    Only afterwards did I find out the character in the movie was named after an English game on the shelf of the girl in the movie, which was named for the Latin word for “I play.”

    So, whether “ludo” means “I play” or “crazy” I have to say, he is aptly named. Our Ludo is one crazy golden, who never doesn’t want to, and force us to, play.

    That’s my funky dog! 😊

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