We used to have a dog named Bob.
Bob is a beautiful, friendly, hulk-of-a-dog Golden Retriever, and we love him to death!
Here's his story:
We brought Bob home in summer of 2000 from a breeder who lives nearby.
Here's a picture the breeder took of us with Bob and Bob's mom. Look at how little My Boy and My Girl were! Look at how little Bob was! Look at how skinny I was!
Bob was cute, and roundish, and reddish, and my kids were in a Veggie Tales phase, so they named him after Bob the tomato.
Bob grew and grew and grew into a gorgeous, loving family pet. You couldn't ask for a better pet for small kids -- so patient with them tumbling around and over him! Always there for a rub (you rubbing him, that is).
Bob loves living at the lake. He loves hunting for box turtles, and barking at Blue Herons.
His favorite lake pastime is fishing. On a given day, he will stand in the water up to his tummy, and stare in the water watching for fish swimming by. For hours. And hours. He won't come out when called. He won't come out for bribes like hot dogs. He never tries to catch any of them, he just enjoys watching. And watching.
For some reason, Bob no longer likes to swim. When he was younger, he loved retrieving sticks and tennis balls in the lake, but at some point he grew fearful of it. If you would throw a stick in the lake, he would jump around on the shore, and run out onto the dock, and he wanted that stick so badly. But he would not go in after it, no matter what. It's still a mystery to me what happened to him to cause this change.
Another thing Bob loves about living at the lake is the socializing. We live on a quiet road that is very sparsely populated. There are homes on our road, but most of them belong to weekenders, whom we only see in the summer. The rest of the time, there are just a few of us around. So we feel free to let Bob visit the neighborhood as much as he likes. He is free to walk around and say hi to whomever he can find on any given day, and everyone on our point knows him and loves him.
He became the Neighborhood Dog.
Through the woods, there is a home of "year rounders"-- two women who share a very nice lake front house. They run a business of some sort from their home, so they have folks in and out quite a bit. They also throw some really loud parties on weekend nights in the summer. Bob, being the socialite he is, loves to frequent those parties and visit those ladies quite a bit.
One night, a few years ago, we got a phone call that Bob had been at one of their parties and a thunderstorm came up. (Now another of Bob's quirks is extreme fear of loud noises like thunder and fireworks. We had to tranquilize him every July 4th because so many folks shoot them here at the lake.) Anyway, when the storm hit, Bob got so upset that he burst through their screen door trying to get in the house (all 105 pounds of him!) and he wouldn't go back outside.
You can imagine our embarrassment -- this was the first time we'd ever met these people, and it was because our dog had just torn through their screen door. Yikes!
Anyway, as the days and months passed, Bob began spending more and more time over there. These ladies had 2 black labs, both getting up in years, and they spoiled those dogs. When Bob came visiting, they spoiled him, too.
They regularly cooked chicken and rice for their dogs, and gave some to Bob. When they cooked steak, they cooked enough for all 3 dogs, too. They left their downstairs door ajar so the dogs could come and go in the house, and the dogs slept on a leather futon.
To make a long story short, Bob decided he'd rather live where he got homecooked meals every night, and slept on a leather couch - he's surely not stupid! It got to where he was spending so much time with those folks, we asked if they'd like to adopt him. They jumped on the chance.
Not much has really changed, though. Bob is still free to roam the neighborhood and visit whenever he likes. Now, though, we're not home base. We're the ones he visits.
And we still see him from time to time, though his visits are not as frequent. He's getting white in the face (he's almost 9 now) and he slowly meanders up the road where he used to trot at a brisk pace.
But we still love him to death! Whenever he comes by, we all go out and hug his neck and give him dog treats. But since I don't offer him our chicken and rice, he goes along on his way.