There was Bibs, who jumped up on people and bit them.
There was Freezer, who jumped up on people . . . and bit them.
There was, I don't know, about three more dogs, who jumped up on people and bit them.
Then there was Gracie, a beautiful pointer, who . . . went crazy, chewed through a chain link fence and ran for the vet's office.
Like all dogs do.
Chris has had a dog or two in his day too. But they didn't jump on people. Or bite them. They just ran away, never to be seen or heard from again.
So when Chris' uncle called this spring with news that he'd found two puppies in a cardboard box on the side of the road, I fully expected to say, "Meh" when Chris suggested he go pick one up.
After all, dogs jump. And bite. And shed on people. And poop. And pee on people's perfectly good rugs.
But Blackjack was a cute little puppy, and telling myself he'd forever stay that size, I may have petted him.
A little. And possibly even held him.
Maybe. Don't believe everything you read. See.
But puppies don't stay puppies forever and by this summer, ole Blackjack was all grown up and big enough to be slurping steak juice off the plate all by himself.
(Those are not, I might add, plates that humans eat off. Do you know where his tongue's been? Eesh.)
He also started answering to a plethora of names.
He's an outdoor dog (we're farm people after all) who must have some lab in him. He loves rain, snow, sleeping on a pile of rocks instead of warm straw, running, fetching, roughhousing, and running some more.
Growing in age and stature, but not maturity, his new favorite game is to run up and down rows of cows and lick their noses.
When steak juice is short supply, you simply learn to make do with what's close at hand: cow snot.
The cows don't mind him. He's been hustled out of the way a time or two by a cow who gave him the stink eye, and sometimes they just saunter away from him, all like, "Talk to the hoof, dude."
But every now and then, he finds a cow that will lick him back. And when he does?
Well, that's dog bliss right there.
One thing hasn't changed though.
Even if he looks ridiculous while doing it.
He also loves Chris. And small children.
But mostly Chris.
It's not uncommon to look out the kitchen window while doing dishes and see Blackjack and Chris rolling around in the front yard, playing tug-of-war or with the Frisbee.
Blackjack is very protective of Chris.
And small children.
But mostly Chris.
And if you promise not to admit it to anybody, I'll let you in a little secret:
I might just like Blackjack a little myself namely because, well, he doesn't jump up on people and bite them.
And he stays outside. And doesn't shed hair on me. Or poop and pee on people's rugs.
And when Chris isn't looking, I totally slip him bacon scraps or a leftover meatball.
Because while I may not be a dog person, ole Blackjack is sure as close as I'll get.