Happy Trails

Twenty years ago while living in Virginia Beach, Virginia,  I was so seriously considering leaving the Navy when my enlistment expired in April, that I was looking for a dog to adopt.  I had this idea that I would drive from place to place in my pickup truck with a dog sidekick.  I had been a fan of the Steinbeck Travels with Charley and thought that a dog would prove to be more loyal than my human relationships.

You can imagine my joy when looking one Friday afternoon in the animal shelter, I found a black Newfoundland / Lab puppy.   When I took him home,  he had a horrible case of puppy mange on his hind quarters.  The vet I took him to said that he would need  several treatment of a medicated skin treatment that would run a Sailor into the poorhouse.  Imagine my surprise, when the only shampoo-like thing I had in the house was this organic Amway product — one of my shipmates sold it to me as a detergent.  Whatever.   But the darn stuff CLEARED UP Happy’s mange in a WEEK.    Of course the poor dog had a bare behind for a month until his hair grew back.  The Amway guy did NOT like my testimonial for some reason.

So here I was  – I tried to think of great burly-dog names,  literary names, names of mariners, and nothing quite fit like — Happy.  He was a happy dog for all of the next 16 years.   And he did accompany me everywhere.  When  I re-enlisted and was going to be transferred to San Diego,  he came with me.  That’s how I came to live in Lakeside, California, east of San Diego and where my next transition — to married life – happened in a series of events that I believe was part -dog story, yet undeniably a God-story too.

Happy (1995 -2010)

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