In 2006, my friend Jerry brought Moose into our lives. Moose, a German shepherd, became our best friend and protector, our laughter and sunshine on a rainy day — and he was smart and he loved us unconditionally.
He’d come from Kansas, where both his parents were show dogs. Of course, to us, Moose was more than a dog. He was a person inside a German shepherd’s body.
As soon as Moose came into our lives, we saw how very intelligent he was. Jerry trained Moose to speak, stay, lie down and even do a high-five sign, his paw in the air hitting your hand. Moose learned things in two hours that it would take other dogs months to learn.
Moose was so smart that one morning he hid Jerry’s work boots to prevent him from going to work. He hid them on the side of the bed, wedging them against the radiator pretty tight. Once confronted — Jerry asking him “What did you do?” — Moose went into please-forgive-me-mode: ears down, eyes on Jerry. Eventually, we found the boots.
Moose would make us laugh by similarly “hiding” his stuffed toy raccoon. He did bury half of it — the other half was sticking out of the hole in the backyard. No matter to Moose; he was very proud of what he’d done.
Moose’s taste in food definitely was humanlike. When he was a puppy, I got him to eat vegetables with his food. Later, he developed a taste for cocktail hot dogs, potato chips and pretzels. He also liked tuna fish, even herring. Every year for his birthday, he’d have apple or peach pie since he loved both.
Moose was a very trusting dog. I was his “mommy,” and he would let me clean his ears; he would eat out of my hand and let me take forbidden things out of his mouth.
Moose’s love was expressed in superhuman terms. He didn’t care if you were short or tall, heavy or slim, he would be there for you. When one of our family was sick, Moose would be right by their side.
We thought we’d have Moose until he was 11 or 12 years old, but three years ago this month we lost our beloved Moose, who had to be euthanized because of severe hip and leg problems. Yet our love for him will never die; Moose will always be in our hearts.
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