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Saturday, July 31, 2010

Tanner and Us

5 years ago on July 31, 2005 we brought Tanner home. We'd been without a dog exactly 4 months as Lucy had died on March 31, 2005. Tanner was an adorable puppy. His limbs and paws were loaded with the growth that would ensue at a lightening quick rate and he had so much energy I wondered if I my life would ever be the same! Tanner was the first thing that Doug and I named together as Lucy had already been named when we got her at 9 months. And since we never had children...this was our first shot at picking a name for a living being! Finally after considering a mile long list of possibilities that included both Swedish and English names, we landed on Tanner because of his rich golden color and our love for tanning and being in the sunshine! Many Swedes have subsequently asked us if we named him after the American professional tennis player Roscoe Tanner but before those questions began, I had never heard of him! We subsequently learned that a friend of ours has a daughter named Lucy, our first dog, and a son named Tanner! The name suits him well and nicknames have of course followed: Mr. Tan Man and Tanner bananer (bananer means bananas in Swedish and he acts so nuts at times, it's fitting!) are the two most common.
I had not had an 8 week puppy in my life for a very long time. He was cute and cuddly, but also possessed razor sharp teeth and as a retriever had his mouth on everything. I ended up with lots of cuts from his teeth and I was utterly exhausted. I wanted to cash in on my parental leave since we'd never had children but the Swedish insurance system didn't buy it! We did crate train him which was the smartest thing we've ever done. Doug's patience and assurance that never in his entire life had he had a puppy who didn't learn to pee outside finally gave me enough peace of mind that acquiring another dog had not been a mistake! When he was awake, it was full speed ahead. And then he'd just collapse in a heap and recharge his batteries! Truth be told, we'd collapse too and do all that we could to extend his nap times!The first day that he was home with us, he discovered our living room table, which had all these nooks in it. At one point he decided that it would be fun to slither through one of the openings! It still amazes me to this day that he could actually fit through those tiny openings! Now he stands taller than the table and at times, I wonder if he looks at the table and remembers when could fit through those little openings!Of course, the love affair that has ensued is obvious if you follow this blog or look on Facebook! Tanner is a fabulous companion and has helped us see the city in all kinds of weather. He loves to sleep in, swimming is his favorite activity, boating comes naturally to him, and he is a warm, cuddling presence when you are a bit down.I never thought I'd love another dog quite like I loved Lucy...and yet, here we are, 5 years later, so overjoyed with this crazy, gigantic (42 kilos at last weigh-in, that's 92.5 pounds), lovable, reasonably well behaved with some occasional deviations from such good behavior, joy-filled, beautiful presence in our lives.I know not everyone is a dog lover and I respect that, but for those of us who are...pet love is a special kind of bond. I love my Swedish dog...this crazy mix of Labrador/flat coat retriever that isn't too common in the US. I hope I'm still going on and on about him when we celebrate bringing him home 10 years ago.