To start out “Animal Delight”, the first story comes from the author of Animal Culture, Kalie Lyn. She shares the true-life story of her freedom-loving dog, Juno, and to what lengths he will go to play outside.
Extremely intelligent and having a mind of his own, Juno, my family’s 12+ year old American Eskimo/Bishon mix is a dog with lots of character. Having added him to our family when he was only a few months old, Juno is a very special member of the family due to the fact that we raised him from a puppy.
He spent his youth running carefree around our 10 acres of land, chasing and wrangling our farm’s alpacas, and cuddling by the electric fireplace. His whole life, even to this day, has consisted of nothing but open field, different animal buddies, and lots of human love.
Recently though, Juno’s mind has been going. Because of his age, he is sometimes found wandering aimlessly down the long curved driveway, sometimes getting as far as the main dirt road. When we call his name he only stares blankly back, an expression on his face like an old man saying “what am I needed for now?”. And since he has been losing the majority of his running ability, due to arthritis, his favorite hobby has now become one thing: eating. This habit has transformed his once athletic physique into a large, round ball of fur, and has since changed his nickname from “June-Bug” to “Sausage”.
Though Juno has enough fat on his body to feed a small village, this winter’s brutal polar vortex has forced him to stay indoors, something he despises. He lives for the outdoors, so during one trip to the pet store, he vowed to reclaim that freedom back.
My father, step-mother, and brother were with the two dogs – Juno and Teddy, our Great Pyrenees – at the local pet shop. They browsed around for dog food, cat food, and some bird seed, even stumbling across a winter doggie jacket. Fitting it on Juno, they cooed over him and this winter jacket, a simple outfit that really complimented his hefty figure. However, as so often happens, our Great Pyrenees Teddy stole the spotlight as a pet shop employee came over to marvel at Teddy’s gigantic size. Juno, used to the sudden change in attention from him to Teddy, wandered off around the store.
Minutes later, after my family had paid for their dog, cat, and bird food, they left the store with both the dogs and their groceries in tow. Getting home, they realized it was the pets’ dinner time, and calling Teddy and Juno’s name, my step-mom placed their food on the ground waiting for the boys to wander in and eat.
Suddenly, she burst out laughing as Juno waddled up, his tail wagging and a smile on his face. Covering his sausage figure was the winter dog jacket, the same one they had tried on him in the store but had gotten distracted before they remembered to take it off of him. The pet store employees had been too consumed with Teddy and his size, and my parents and brother had overlooked Juno as he left the store with the unpaid jacket on.
After eating his fill, which was the whole bowl of food, Juno, the thief, trotted outside in the cold. He had a nice thick jacket to keep him warm in this polar vortex. Nothing could keep him from outside now!
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