I got Badger on December 17, 1999 from a family that didn’t want him any more. He was almost a year old when I got him. It had been several years since I had a dog and for quite some time I had been wanting to get a chocolate lab and name him “Badger”. When my sister heard about a neighbor of hers that had one and didn’t want him any more, she told me about the situation. When I first met Badger his energy level was off the charts, running around like he was chasing rabbits (or something)! He soon settled down and warmed to me. I felt good about him and he felt good about me, so I took him home that day. He settled in to his new home and our friendship began.
Badger was a handsome chocolate lab. He had long legs and was tall, long-bodied and lean. He had beautiful gold colored eyes that showed his kindness and affection. He had big feet, wavy hair down the middle of his back and a bushy tail that I referred to as his “fox tail”.
Badger was real vocal, very expressive. He was quite the talker. He didn’t bark much, but he sure did “talk” a lot. Badger was also very friendly and sociable. Not a single person that met him didn’t like him – everybody liked Badger! He liked to roam & explore on his own a lot. This particular trait definitely strained our relationship because I would worry about him so much. The last few years of his life we lived in the country and he got very good at sneaking off – he could tell when I wasn’t keeping a close eye on him! Did I mention he was a smart dog? Most often, he would visit the neighbor’s dog across the road. Badger really liked to swim and about a month before his passing he snuck off to the lake behind our house and went swimming. At the time, I wasn’t very happy about having a wet dog come home but, looking back, I’m so glad he got to swim one more time. Most nights when I sat in my easy chair he would sit beside me and I’d pet him. He really liked to have his ears rubbed. He had a good heart. He was loving & gentle. I wish I could be more like him. Badger smiled a lot and always lifted my spirits. He was very smart & a real joy to work with. Through him I learned all I know about dog training.
We walked & hiked a lot together – year-round, even in the snow. Badger loved the snow! In the summer we’d hike in the evenings after work; sometimes in fields near the house or in the foothills a short drive away. Through Badger I learned field training for bird dogs. In time I started hunting again and we hunted together. It was so great to see him doing what he was bred for, something deep down in his DNA. I hope to continue bird hunting. I like it a lot and I’m thankful he led me to rediscover it. Badger was playful but was always gentle even when rough-housing. The times I liked best were simply sitting with him by my side while I stroked his soft fur and talked to him.
Badger was a special dog; he was my constant companion & best friend for over 10 years. He was there with me through a bad marriage and many other ups and downs of life. Dogs love unconditionally and it hurts so much when they pass. He was a great dog and a great friend.
Every night before going to bed we had a little ritual. No matter what happened that day – no matter what he or I did – I would gently stroke him and say: “Badger, I just want you to know you’re a good boy and I love you very much. I love you because you’re such a good boy. It’s bedtime now, I gotta go to bed. So goodnight buddy.” On the day he died, I spent the whole day with him, sitting by his side, gently stroking him, telling him what a good boy he was and how much I loved him. When the time came, I told him it was bedtime and that he had to go to bed. Goodnight buddy. I will forever miss you.
February 5, 1999 – June 7, 2010