Moxie came to us from the snow in 2009. He was a Valentine’s gift. The first dog we brought home in Redding. At the time we had two other dogs, our first golden retriever Maverick and our aging black lab/german shepherd mix King. At the time we also had 4 cats and a bird, too. The Cummings Menagerie. Our little zoo.
But Mrs C wanted another dog, a playmate for Maverick to teach and have fun with before he’d gotten too old. And it was a good idea. Maverick was already 7 at the time and the clock was, indeed, ticking. So we searched and found a breeder. This breeder literally lived in the middle of nowhere, off the beaten path, and in the cold, winter snow. I told my friends “this is the address to which we quest to view these pups; send help if you do not hear from me in 3 hours.”
It was half in jest.
Out there, though, this breeder had a wonderful layout and more golden retrievers (of all ages) than I had seen in my entire life. It was heaven.
In a large room off the barn there was this litter. Mrs C had spied her target online, a dark red golden like Maverick. I fell in love with another, almost instantly, or should say one of them fell in love with me. This other dog, “Big Paws” we called him, would not leave me alone. So I sat with him and told the missus we may have to consider Big Paws instead. That changed when the dark red one that Mrs C favored charged into my arms, knocking Big Paws off my lap and out of my life forever.
Moxie and I, we fell in love.
On the way there Mrs C had said “I’ve got some idea for names, that begin with ‘M’.”
Back then we were on a trend of “M” names for our pets. We had Maverick, of course, and the cats were named Muse, Mischief, Majesty, and Marlboro. Mrs C wanted to continue that trend.
So I said, “fire away.”
Mrs C said, “Moxie or …”
I stopped her. It was perfect.
Moxie did something on the long ride home that no other dog had previously done. He slept. He slept during the entire drive home on Mrs C’s lap and slept as we took him on tour to meet our friends. Everyone loved our sleepy little dog.
But we had concerns. Moxie played, and Maverick loved to play with his little buddy, but he slept a lot. He was almost too well-behaved, too low energy at times.
So we took him to our vet, who did a thorough examination on one of those cold, steel tables. Moxie slept through the whole exam. The doctor slid his little body back and forth across the table, and in circles, bemusedly, but Moxie slept through it all. I asked the doctor, “is that normal?” and the doctor exclaimed, laughing, “No!”
Nonetheless Moxie got a clean bill of health. And the puppy energy came. Boy did it come. At one point we took to calling him our little kangaroo because he bounced around so much. To this day he’ll answer to either “Moxie” or “Roo.”
As Moxie grew we realized he was not like Maverick, at all. Maverick was a champion, who loved the ball and the frisbee and the life of action. In fact, if you gave Maverick a choice between food and ball every day, Maverick would starve to death. True fact. Not Moxie. Moxie couldn’t catch a thing. His timing was terrible. He would chase that ball all over the house, knocking it this way and that, before finally securing it and losing interest. He was just not an athlete.
But he was an eater.
For some reason he was gaining weight like we hadn’t seen from the others. Let’s face it, he got fat. We didn’t know why. We figured we must have fixed him too soon until, one day, I was playing ball with Maverick when we noticed that Moxie would finish his food, and then go eat Maverick’s, and then go look to see if there was anything left of King’s. He was not a self-feeder. He still isn’t. Moxie is the reason no dog food bowls stay on the floor at Casa de Cummings.
When King and Maverick passed, Moxie had the distinction of being the first dog we’d had in over 16 years to get all our attention. He was our only dog for two years, and I think he enjoyed that time a lot. Then along came Ludo.
Today, it’s just the two of them. The cats are gone. The bird is gone. Moxie and Ludo. Inseparable. Two golden treasures in our full lives. I can’t imagine life without these guys.
Moxie turned 10 in December. Ludo will be 4 in June. They are the best of pals, and they play off each other perfectly.
In April we’ll add a playmate. Around Valentine’s Day of this year, their younger brother was born. Mrs C has made her initial visit, put down her deposit. Will their little brother be a ball-chaser, like Maverick (and Ludo), or an incredibly well-behaved over-eater like Moxie? Will he be a shit-stirrer like Ludo?
Time will tell. For now, all we have are pictures of the parents (below), and all we really know is that Moxie will be the best big brother ever, again. Ludo? Well, again, time will tell… 🙂