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Chapter 27


I hope everyone had a Blessed and Happy Holiday Season. Gabe and I sure did. Santa brought him several supposedly indestructible chew toys. We shall see how long they last after constant love from a Chessie. Gabe’s favorite new toy, however, is a stuffed Chesapeake Bay Retriever (CBR) named Libby. 

I was very happy and somewhat surprised to find a stuffed CBR because they are a relatively unknown breed compared to their wildly popular cousin, the Labrador Retriever. You can find stuffed Labs everywhere. The stuffed Chessie was the brainchild of Country Music Star Miranda Lambert, who modeled it after her own Chessie, Libby.  

As soon as it hit the stores, stuffed Libby flew off of the shelves. Chessie lovers from across the nation just had to have one, grateful that someone was bringing visibility to this wonderful breed. I have had dogs for as long as I can remember:  Border Collies, Australian Shepherds and even Chihuahuas, but between the 18  years I had Molly and the two years of Gabe, I have had Chessies for exactly half of my life. When the time comes to get another dog, I hope I don’t have to settle for anything less than a Chessie. 

That’s not to say that I don’t love other breeds of dogs as well and they seem to like me. In fact, oftentimes out in public, dogs come over to me wanting to be petted. After securing the owner’s permission to do so, I gently pet the dog. Some like the French Bulldog I met while Christmas Shopping in  Asheville wanted to jump in my lap while Hank the 145-pound Redbone Coon Hound at Myrtle Beach nearly knocked my wheelchair over in his enthusiasm. Every time I go to cover a ballgame at Gardner-Webb, I take time to pet Bo the English Bulldog, who is the University’s live Mascot. Of course, I always keep an ample supply of Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats on hand to share while relating Arin’s inspirational story. 

No matter how many other dogs I encounter, however, It’s always nice to come home to Gabe. His hugs, ear licks and face washings can not be topped. Since the weather has turned colder and Gabe has started to  calm down (slightly), we have turned him in the house some at night to visit. I have discovered that most Chessies, particularly Gabe, don’t lay quietly next to you on the bed. They must be sprawled on top of you at all times, in constant contact with their person. It’s hard to get any sleep underneath a 75-pound curly-coated wiggling blanket. On the bright side, I am in no danger of getting cold the nights that Gabe comes in the house. The only trouble is getting him to go out again. I have to tempt him with Arin’s Good Girl Dog Treats. 

As the calendar flips to January, there is no telling what adventures await Gabe and me. There will be good days followed by some that are not so pleasant, but that’s life. One thing is for sure though, life with Gabe is never boring and we can’t wait to go on each new adventure together. 

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