Well, the best Good Boy in the world has made another trip around the sun. That’s right. My Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Gabriel Noel Conley, is two years old. Over the past 24 months, Gabe has grown from a tiny ball of energy, stubbornness and love to a 75-pound version of that puppy, exhibiting those same qualities.
That’s not to say Gabe has not changed any over the past two years. With the help of Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats, he has advanced well past the basic commands of sit and stay and now has learned to shake howdy. Gabe’s favorite command, however, is “Give Hugs”. Upon hearing those two words, he will raise up on his back legs and put his front paws around my shoulders. I always make sure to be sitting down when I tell Gabe to give hugs so I can reciprocate by wrapping my arms around him. He still gives a few unsolicited hugs when I am walking, but those can be dangerous if I lose my balance. Thankfully he is getting better about not doing that.
Not only has Gabe been a good companion for me over the past two years, he has become invaluable to the rest of the family as a farm dog, as well. No, he does not round up the cows or the sheep like our Border Collies and Australian Shepherd used to do, but he does chase the deer out of the garden, sniff out rodents like rats, mice and moles, and on one memorable occasion, Gabe used a special bark to alert us to a Copperhead (snake) curled up under our deck. Gabe got extra pets and treats that night.
Even though Gabe is only two, he is getting a few white hairs in his curly brown coat. At first, I thought he might be trying to copy me as my beard is also flecked with white before turning 40. Then I checked the Chessie support group on Facebook. It turns out that Chessies get white hairs before most other breads, usually starting around three or four years old. A few owners have said their dogs have started at two but those are the ones with excessive energy that never grow out of puppyhood. It seems as if Gabe is squarely in that latter category.
A lot of Chessies are duck-hunting dogs and they love working so much that their owners have to retire them at five years old or younger to keep the dogs from wearing themselves out. I am slightly worried that this will happen to Gabe. He lives life to the fullest every day, never slowing down for a second. I am not sure how to make Gabe “retire” when the time comes. I think he will always run ahead of the golf cart at top speed during our adventures, chase my cat Peaches around the yard, (Don’t worry, If Gabe ever catches Peaches, all he does is lick him), or continue to do the many other things I have talked about in this blog. At some point, I could try to make him stop or at least slow down, but I’m not sure that I will. Owners say that the hardest thing they have to do is not take their Chessie on a hunt. The dog is confused, depressed and doesn’t know what to do with itself. I think I will continue to let Gabe be Gabe and live his best life for however long that may be.
So happy 2nd Birthday Gabe! Thank you for being the best Good Boy anyone could ever ask for. Now let’s go celebrate with a Birthday Bone from Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats.