We are celebrating the birthday the odds said would never come.
Brandi, the shelter mutt whose "kennel cough" turned out to be a life-threatening case of distemper, is a year old today. More or less. This is the birthdate his doctor and I arbitrarily assigned to him when we decided to"throw the book" at his ailment rather than "throwing in the towel."
Our five-pound runt is a 57-pound guy now, a boxer-shepherd who runs like a greyhound, eats like a horse and repays us a thousand times a day for the long hours spent nursing and medicating him.
Each of our dogs has been special in his or her own way. (Dog people will understand this. It is our fate to "give our hearts to a dog to tear," as a poet once put it.) But Brandi, having cheated death with our help, is beyond special, and so is his first birthday.
If it were in my power, I'd capture a jackrabbit for him, or find him a lifetime supply of the most succulent chew bones, or even reverse his neutering for a single day so that he could just this once know the Joy of Sex. Something, you know, spectacular.
But that isn't really necessary. He already knows he's my one, true dog.
In the finest hour of a magnificent fall day here in the desert, we'll sit by a favorite rock overlooking a favorite canyon and watch the setting sun paint murals on the mountains. I'll stroke his ears. He'll nuzzle my cheek.
What a perfect birthday, eh Brandi?