Live Like a Labrador

If you told me 10 years ago today that I’d be on this path my life has taken I probably would have laughed and asked why I wasn’t playing for the Yankees.

That I would lose my faith in God.

That I would pack my bags and travel.

That I would fall in love with a girl named Julia, from Germany, in Australia.

That I would lose my best friend and find him doing the only thing he loved to do, hunt, off on his own. That I’d pick his body up and carry him back to my truck, crying the whole way. That the sky was just full of clouds that day. But as soon as we drove home, from Blairsburg with him in the back of my truck one last time, the sun managed to find its way through.

Tears flowing, I regained my faith in a higher power. Tears flowing, I managed to make it home. Tears flowing, I said my goodbyes to my beautiful dog Joe and told him I’d see him up there.

It’s weird how much of an impact a dog can have on a man’s life. I’ll tell my grand kids stories about that dog one day. I’ll tell them he would jump for joy every time the gun cabinet opened, loved Julia just as much as he loved me, and always managed to find out who had cookies in Blairsburg. There’s a big hole in my heart with Joe’s death but I’ll someday fill that hole with another dog. And that dog will leave a scar just as big, when that one passes. Loving a dog and that dog loving you becomes a big part of who you are as a person. Never a dull moment, always happy to see each other, and die doing the only thing that makes them happy. More people need to live like Joe did.

10 years ago I was in my first year of driving and Joe would ride in the back of my truck any chance he could get. 10 years ago there was a beautiful girl in Germany who loved dogs just as much as me. 10 years ago if you told Julia she’d date a guy from Iowa she’d say “Where the hell is that?” (That’s not really fair, change Iowa to America, and even then she’d ask “What? You mean Hollywood?”. Yes, my imagination even has her talking in English to her friends in Germany.) Both of us never saw this coming. And I would choose this path over my planned path any day of the week. Every time I see Julia's smile it makes me feel like I am the starting shortstop for the New York Yankees anyways.

Here’s to failed athleticism and finding the right path for yourself.

Here’s to having more nights just like our first, officially as a couple.

Here’s to it being one year since we cruised the Yarra River after eating Rocket Burger.

Here’s to the best year of my life.

Here’s to happiness.

Here’s to Joe.

One love.

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