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My One-of-a-Kind Dog

Bashert was my wife's dog before she ever met me. Bashert is a Yiddish word that means "my chosen one" or "meant to be." In other words, Bashert was my wife's first bashert. At first, I thought Bashert was overbearing. For one thing, he was used to sleeping in my wife's bed, which I did not like. I mean, he is 75 pounds and sheds. Second, he and his best buddy, Foster, the neighbor's dog, would go ballistic whenever we gave the slightest indication that we were going out. They always wanted us to take them along. Third, he had this reckless habit of racing towards people, and the sight of a 75-pound dog charging towards you is scary. Now, six years later, I realize that Bashert is a one-of-a-kind dog, and it will be difficult to ever replace him.

One reason I think so is he is loyal. Just the other night, I was working late in the basement. Bashert stayed down there with me. He lay down on the thin rug even though the basement is crowded and cold, even though the rest of the family was sleeping upstairs and his round, soft bed was waiting. He waited until I finished, turned out the lights, and headed upstairs. Another example of his loyalty happens when we put Korina to bed at night. She gets upset when she is alone in her dark bedroom, so we command Bashert to stay with her. He waits patiently until she falls asleep before he joins us downstairs.

Another reason that he is irreplaceable is, even though he is big and might look scary to strangers, he is actually gentle. He welcomes us at the door when we come home and licks Korina and Daniel's faces. Korina complains, "no licking, Bashert." He loves when people pet him. He loves the company of people and hangs out wherever we are in the house. He backs away from his food if Korina fusses with it. Sometimes Korina acts rough with him. She pulls his tail, or sits on him while he is laying down, or tries to ride him like a horsie. We tell her to stop, but don't always notice. Bashert tolerates her without even so much as a growl. At most, he whines, which reminds me to tell her, "leave him alone, Korina. Be nice to Bashert."

A third reason that Bashert is one-of-a-kind is he is fun. The highlight of his day is when I take him to the field to play catch. He is uninterested in the other dogs. Nothing makes him happier than racing after and retrieving the ball. I taught Korina, and Bashert listens. We say, "Sit, Bubba!" and he sits. "Good boy," we say. Then, we throw the ball as far as we can. Bashert takes off after it like lightning, and races back to us. While he chases it, we shout, "Go, Bubba! Go, Bubba! Go, Bubba!" He drops it at our feet and waits for another turn. He will play catch with anyone who wants to play, for as long as they are willing. Many children at the field play catch with him until their parents call them to go.

I am not one to give animals human characteristics. I stay sensitive to their animal instincts and behaviors. Nevertheless, Bashert is an important member of our family. We are grateful for the time we have with him. He is irreplaceable.