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Chapter 07

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But what about gifts for dads on Father’s Day in June? They are much harder to buy for. Tradition says you should give your Dad a tie, but we do not live in a black and white “Leave it to Beaver '' world anymore. Therefore, I suggest a gift that fits your Dad’s, or special father figure’s, personality. For my Dad, it is usually something that involves cows and farming. Yours will most likely be different.

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As a matter of full disclosure, I have never had any kids… or… children. I have had plenty of baby goats (known as kids) over the years. I do feel like a father to all my animals, however, particularly my ducks, cats and of course my puppy, Gabe. Just like other proud parents, I show everyone pictures of Gabe and if they in turn show me a photo of their dog, I am completely biased and think that Gabe is much more handsome.  
Being a “Dog Daddy” is a lot of hard work, especially when you are trying to raise a Chesapeake Bay Retriever. Chessies are known as high-energy, stubborn dogs with minds of their own. As someone said in a Chessie group on Facebook, they thought they were getting a sweet, curly-haired Lab and wound up with a Tasmanian Devil with A.D.D. Sometimes Gabe can be that way, too. If he gets bored, he will find or create some sort of trouble to get into.
Many of his antics seem almost human. For example, he always seems to misbehave when someone comes to visit. If I get an important phone call while I’m playing with him, he barks so loudly that I cannot hear. There is also a sibling rivalry of sorts between  Gabe, the ducks and my cats. They all think they deserve 100 percent of my time and affection and they are jealous of each other when I have to split it between them. Gabe also thinks he deserves a vanilla wafer every time my Mom’s donkeys get one.
The benefits of being a “Dog Daddy” to Gabe far outweigh the cost of vet visits and the time and trouble it takes to correct childish/puppy behavior, though. I’m repaid ten-fold every time he stands on his hind legs and puts his paws up on my shoulders to give me a hug, washing my face and ears in the process. Even at seven months old and nearly seventy pounds, Gabe still likes to sit on my lap to be held and petted. I hope I can still hold him when he is fully grown.
Gabe gives me those gifts of his love and affection every day, not just on Father’s Day. One way I repay him or reward good behavior is with Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats. While he has to earn most of them by being a Good Boy, sometimes I give him a few for no other reason than just being Gabe. Gabe does not have to earn my love. My life is better with him in it and I am excited to see him continue to grow into adulthood. To me, that’s what being a Dad, Dog or otherwise, is all about.