… on a decade of service

Today is HRH The Princess Bunny Blaze’s tenth birthday.

I was not there on the day of her birth.

But I was there, three months later, when nearly thirteen year-old Gabe chose a female German shepHerd puppy as his birthday present… just as his Dad had done for his thirteenth birthday, 33 years before.

And that’s how, approximately 508 weeks ago, Blaze walked into our home and lives… and took over.

Even as a tiny puppy, wearing her brand new purple color-of-royalty collar, she was never really… a dog. She was this confident, furry, tiny sentient being with Agency.

And she didn’t just have to convince the house’s seven (and a half) humans that she was the new boss. She had three other dogs, including Grampa Monty – a 132 pound Bernese Mountain Dog – to sway.

What is the Dog World equivalent of ‘hold my beer’?

Not even Marshal Dillon Dingle – the puppy, the myth, the legend – who came onto the scene later, ever questioned who was in charge.

Part and parcel to possessing and wielding a high level of power and respect is the fact that Blaze is decidedly unsilly. She has jobs, and she is very serious about them. That is who she is.

This is so well known (and accepted) in our family that, whenever Blaze decides deigns to engage with another Dingle dog in play, or wants her belly rubbed by one of her humans, we will stop everything. We will actually call others into the room just so they can bear witness.

I should note here that Blaze has two belly rubbing modes. The first, and we can tell when she is doing this, involves her putting up with someone rubbing her belly. Oh, she’ll expose her belly if you ask her too – but with an accompanying side-eye – that indicates she is getting no joy out of this activity, and is participating only as a favor to you. The second mode is when Blaze actually WANTS her belly rubbed. The latter is quite rare and wonderful. That said, the former is hysterical.

We Dingles have had five German shepHerds, and one rescued collie-shepHerd mix, over the years. So we knew the drill when, two years ago, our veterinarian declared Blaze a ‘senior citizen’ (I did, however, cover her ears and give the vet quite the chastising glare).

Based on our personal experience, the estimate of somewhere between a 9 and 12 year lifespan for a German ShepHerd is a reasonable one, and I know we’re in that window now. But I’m going to look out a different window for as long as Blaze lets me.

Partially because I need to, but also because – though her muzzle is grey with wisdom, and her getting up takes a bit more time than in years past – her heart is still strong and her eyes are clear.

There is a place nearby where a long, dirt road passes a pond surrounded by woods and logs and ledge. When we head over there with Blaze and Belle, our rescued Oklahoma hownd, we unclip their leashes and get to witness their version of Heaven on earth.

Belle-ah’s ears fly back behind her as she performs leaps and hairpin turns through the woods while Blaze rushes along the road in parallel, checking in with us, ensuring we know that she knows where that crazy hownd is at all times.

Our – Blaze’s and my – nests emptied at the same time, when Gabe headed out into the world. It has since become clear to me that we are both the beneficiaries of a fairly cliche bit of advice for empty nesters:Why don’t you get a dog?

I think Blaze agrees that adopting Belle-ah was a good idea, no matter how many side-eyes she gives us when this quirky little hownd… you know… hownds.

Come to think of it, I think Blaze might even be capable of more responsibility. In fact, I’m certain of it.


I wonder how she would do with… oh I dunno, off the top of my head …chickens.

I’ll ask her in the morning.

And if she’s game, I’ll let her go ahead and inform JoHn of the plans moving forward. Because if there is one thing I know, it’s that Blaze gets what Blaze wants. And I’m all for delegating up.

Long may the Princess Reign.

Thanks for readin’.

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p.s., This has been pinned up in our kitchen since Blaze was about five month old. That’s puppy Blaze in the photo.