Happy Birthday, Jib

[I originally wrote this on today’s date in 2007.]

Okay, so I’d like to talk about the SPCA for a moment if I might.

As many of you know, I’d been kicking around the idea of getting a dog for quite some time now. I’ve had the “you’re a single guy, have a backyard (of sorts), drive a Jeep, go to the park/beach/camping pretty often…where in the hell is your dog?” conversation more times than I care to count.
So last weekend, I decided to swing by the SPCA and give the matter some practical application to go along with the theoretical.

To be honest, I’d expected this trip to be horribly depressing. I imagined wandering by little fluffballs in cages, all whining tiny puppy prayers for kind people to show up, love them, and finally take them home, wherever that may be.
And just the thought of that was enough to make me mostly cloudy with a chance of lachrymal rain.

When I got there I was completely surprised.

Now it’s true that there were sad puppies everywhere. Yes, they put their little paws and cold noses through the cages, in the hope that someone might stop and pay attention to them.  And yes, this was heartbreaking.

But nearly every time I’d stop to look at their information, they’d have a big red “ADOPTED” stamp emblazoned across the center of their name card.
And this made me smile, kneel down to play with them for a moment, and quietly whisper some variant of, “You’re going home little guy. Good luck.” when I was sure there was no one around to hear me.

Yes, I know. Shut up.

So as I’m ambling along I happen across a pair of the saddest brown eyes you have ever seen in your life staring up at me from a curled ball of black Labrador Retriever.

“Ahoy there.”

A flash of excitement flickers across the brown eyes, but the rest of him stays curled up, having obviously played this game with more than a few people as they passed by.

I kneel down, and this is all brown-eyes needs to get wearily to his feet, and press his nose to the fence.

He looks up at me calmly.
I look back.
And there we are.

Me sitting on my heels, fingers extended between a gray chain-link fence, gently touching the dog’s head and ears.
The dog sighing, his black head lowered pitifully, and occasionally glancing up to give me an “I have no idea who you are, but please don’t go,” look.

Can you see us?

Yeah, I could too.

So, without any further gilding of the lily, I’d like you all to meet “Jib.”

jibfirstmeetingThis was taken at the Houston SPCA, just minutes after we met.

Jib…meet everyone.



And now, 9 years later, here is that very same puppy on the morning of his “birthday.”  (We celebrate the day I brought him home, rather than all the painful stuff that came before.)


We’ve each saved one other’s lives more than once, and I don’t know what my life would look like without this big guy standing faithfully next to me.

I love you, puppy.

Happy birthday.


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