The Best Dog Ever

This boy loves to fetch. In his youth, he'd chase and return twist ties, pipe cleaners, and cotton swabs all day long. He is a master athlete.

When middle age set in, we advanced to plastic drinking straws. He prefers the bendy kind because they make the most exciting noise when they're repositioned into the fascinating '7' shape.

We don't fetch much now, but the house rule stands, plastic straws are stocked by the hundreds so a fresh one can be introduced into his domain often. He likes that. He forgoes his naps several times around the clock to prowl throughout our habitat, stalking this prey.

A roar of victory will soon be heard in the distance, several rooms across the house. And here he comes, with his most recent find clenched in his teeth. He halts at my side to show off the *kill* -- and, to express our appreciation for his fine hunting expertise and unparalleled value to our pack, he gets a frisky head tickle and the cherished full-throated chin scratch.

For all of his blue-eyed manliness, he doesn't much care for vehicular travel or medical strangers. He prefers to go out and about incognito, as seen in this recent photograph on his way to an appointment at the clinic.

Ironically, this is as he looks on Halloween, costumed as D'Artagnian of The Three Mouseketeers.

We've never known the exact date of his birth, but he did arrive in April, for certain, and into our lives a few short weeks later.

So, today, we say "Happy Birthday" to our nutty Professor Kelp, a few short 19 years later.

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