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Happy eighth birthday! by Jenny Lindahl
 

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  • We went to pick a puppy from a double litter of 17 rhodesian ridgebacks. They were all sleeping in a big pile, four weeks old. You were the only one that found it in you to crawl up on tiny, wobbly sticks for legs, all the way to us, to bite Emil in the hand, with your little razor sharp puppy teeth.

    - We want this one, we said.

    Four weeks later, we came to pick you up and bring you home. As you were let loose on the yard, you ran up between the legs of your dad and hung from his balls by your teeth. He bravely and silently took the pain.

    One should really not have a ridgeback puppy. Their teeth, jaw pressure, energy, character. It's like raising a little wolf.

    On your first year you missed out on a lot of your puppyhood because of a giant seroma on your back, surgery on several occasions, treatments and visits to the best veterinarys to get help for you. Eventually, they suggested we should consider putting you to sleep. Instead, we stopped going to the veterinarys, and just let you be a wild, crazy, annoying puppy. Without surgery, treatments and bandages.You turned out all right.

    On your second year the mean stray cat moved in. He still won't let you sniff his butt. But i've seen you cuddle when you think no one is around.

    On your third year, we taught you to be home alone for at least an hour. Before that we could hardly leave you at all. We also learned that you can't stand children.
    You learned that with your mighty bark/roar (that still gets me startled every time), you can send any kid running and screaming instantly.

    On your fourth year, I got pregnant. I trained you to tolerate the presence of children, and to stay passive while we watched children in the playground. You got pseudopregnant, supporting my pregnancy by getting milk in your teats, preparing to be helpful.

    On your fifth year, you got a new best friend, even though it seemed to take forever for him to learn anything, like being house broken, walk and play.

    On your sixth year, you recovered from metritis and another surgery. You needed constant cuddle for a whole summer. We had to cancel our summer vacation plans.

    On your seventh year, on one summer evening, when we were harassed by a terrier on a walk with the stroller, you ran home so fast you teared the skin off the pads son all of your four paws. You had to walk with ointments and shoes. And a lot of painkillers. It didn't really heal for like eight weeks. We had to cancel our summer vacation plans again.

    On your eight year, we found that you finally grew up to a responsible, almost calm, mature lady. One should really not have a ridgeback puppy. But nothing can be nicer than an eight year old ridgeback lady.

    Happy birthday. We love you Coco.
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