March 9, 2007 was the day I adopted the mutt known as Ace.

My mom and I picked him up in the little farming town of Ada, Minn. It was a Friday, and I had the day off. One decade ago.

I wanted to write this post for a few personal reasons.

First, to honor the best dog in the whole world who is the reason I have this blog and business.

Second, to mark time. 10 years is a long time, but it goes so fast.

Many of us don't get to have the same dog for a decade. I know I'm lucky Ace is still here with me.

We get comments on our walks now, like, “Wow, how old is he?

Or, “He looks older than you!

People mean well …

They also think it's “fun” to guess my dog's age. “Let's see, I bet you're … 12?”

Ace is 11.

I adopted him when he was 12 moths old. His first owner told me his approximate birthday; she'd gotten him as a puppy.

My other dog Remy is now 1 year old (his birthday was Feb. 18).

I'm so lucky to have these two dogs—a generation apart in age—overlap in time with me.

We don't get to have all that many dogs in our lives, my friend Maren pointed out. (Think about that, and choose your dogs wisely.)

I got Ace when I was 23, he and I just kids! Here I am 33. Still young, but somewhere along the way my best buddy grew old.

I know better than to compare any two dogs, but now that Remy is the exact age Ace was when I adopted him, I do look at their lives in comparison.

Ace was far better behaved, calmer, more “mature” at 12 months. Even though he didn't know a basic “sit” or even his name.

On the other hand, Remy has experienced so much more than Ace had at 12 months, two totally different worlds.

Remy has gone on hundreds of walks by now. He knows the basic commands, gone off-leash hiking. He's traveled to Yosemite National Park and took a 750-mile roadtrip to visit family where he got to be a “ranch dog” living around a horse, mules and chickens.

He's been exposed to guns, road in the back of a pickup and went on a snowmobiling adventure chasing us 2 miles up a mountain. He's taken 4 obedience classes, seen the ocean dozens of times, visited urban coffee shops, restaurants, bars and a brewery.

That's a lot for a young dog in 1 year!

Ace had a good life in his first year too, but it was basic and limited.

He knew love and security, but there was no training and no walks. No adventures or the kind of companionship I seek with every dog I call mine.

I wish I could contact his first owner now, to tell her thank you for giving her dog to me. For trusting me. But all communication was by phone and I've lost her number, can't remember her name.

Lately, I find myself taking pictures of my two when they're napping together. They do this late afternoon, as the sun settles low.

I know I won't have these two dogs forever or long enough. Ace was very ill one year ago, so sick that I spoke these words to our vet: “I'm ready to give up.”

He bounced back.

And I know to appreciate this extra time we still have together. (Even the drool and the constant dusting of black hair.)

Boy do I love you, Ace of Spades.

Happy birthday, and happy “adoptaversary.”

 

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