Todd: A higher level of devotion

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According to the American Kennel Club 2012 dog registration statistics, Labrador retrievers are the most popular dogs in the U.S. Second on the list are German shepherds and third are golden retrievers.
Newspaper people must be a trendy bunch. The Plaindealer staff has one of each of the above.
This week, however, we lose our chief mascot, Bogey, to cancer. Eleven years ago, Beecher and I weren't looking to get another dog, just months after losing our longtime pet. We thought it would be nice to take a few years off. We had two young boys who left plenty around the house to clean up after without adding a new source of stink.
Then our friends Bob and Connie called. Their Lab was kind of a wimp, Bob said. He was getting beat up by their other two dogs. They had taken him to the vet several times to get stitches after he got pummeled by the other two dogs. They tried everything to protect Bogey, even building separate pens to keep the dogs away from each other. But Bogey, who Bob explained was "one over par" because he hadn't demonstrated a lot of sense, decided one day to dig out of the pen. When he emerged on the other side of the fence, he found he had escaped into the other pen. Back to the vet for more stitches.
Bogey needed a new home, and Bob and Connie sensed a need we had concealed. Not only was our house void of a pet, but we had two young energetic boys whom Bogey needed. We took the boys to see Bogey and told them we might take the him home if they liked him. What were we thinking?
They fell in love.
Bogey didn't reciprocate. Not right away. He was leery of his new surroundings. We would let him outside and he would keep his distance. Move closer, he'd move further. Once, I found myself several blocks from the house and Bogey kept his distance the entire time. It was frustrating, and we were about to give up.
Then, one day, it just clicked. I suppose he trusted that we weren't going to rip his skin apart like his former "housemates," and from that day on he never left any of our sides.
When a dog falls in love with you, it's forever. There is no divorce. He'll love you on days no one else would.
That's a tough level of devotion to replace.
Thanks, Bob and Connie and Bogey.

Alan Todd is publisher of the Ouray County Plaindealer.