Saturday, March 9, 2013

happy 5th birthday, radar!

On this day, 5 years ago, my best friend was born on a farm in rural Pennsylvania. I had planned on getting a dog after I graduated from undergraduate school but instead of adopting from the SPCA as I planned, kismet happened. I was doing a performance with choir in Scranton and my parents happened to take a back road on their way to see it. At one point, they drove past a sign that said "Corgi Puppies for Sale", and they took down the information. It turned out that their working farm dog Corgis had puppies unexpectedly, and they were looking to find them homes. I called and spoke with them, and went out with a group of my friends to go pick one out.
They were all adorable. I really liked a tri-color one, but he was already huge. My friend Noah really liked the one that the owner described as a "devil dog". But one puppy was calm but loving, small but not weak. He licked your face and curled up on your lap. He was the one. I named him Radar and then had to leave him on the farm for the next 4 weeks while I finished school.
Radar quickly became the best thing in my life. Nothing makes you feel better about yourself than the constant attention and unconditional love of a dog. He really was my constant companion, too. I had planned on being strict about training, diet and routine but that went out the window pretty quickly. He slept in my bed, above my pillow, rather than in the kennel. I gave him bits of the meat I was eating, rather than strictly no people food.
When I wasn't working or at classes for Graduate School, we were always together. We went to the Dog Park and made friends (including a Corgi that we think was from the same litter), we went to training classes, we went jogging, we went to visit friends, we snuggled and watched movies... everything together. He's the best companion for a day out- he doesn't fuss and cause problems, and he doesn't get tired.
My car winders were (and are now) constantly smeared with corgi nose art, the effect of his wet little nose running across the glass and leaving a trail. He loves car rides, even though he whines through them. He has his own idiosyncrasies that are adorable and annoying at the same time- he constantly wants to be touching you. Yes, even now as I'm typing this post, he's right next to me, cramping my space, and occasionally nudging my hand because I'm not petting him. In the morning, he flops onto his back and rolls around on the carpet like a maniac. He's always underfoot in the kitchen, just waiting for something to fall- one time, I dropped a piece of paper that was separating slices of cheese and he caught it on the air and ate it before I knew it. He is a true character.
When I first met Ed, Radar was skeptical to say the least. Ed tried to take him to the Dog Park, and Radar ignored him- including when it was time to go home. That dislike last all of about a week. Ed liked to go to a State Park near our school called Caledonia, and we took Radar to go play one afternoon. He convinced me to let Radar off leash (something I was terrified of doing), and that won Radar over.
Radar discovered a love of water in Caledonia State Park, and to this day, he'll go out of his way to run through puddles while we are on walks.
I started to think, after that day, that Radar might like Ed more than he liked me! I was Mom, with rules and constraints, and Ed was the cool Dad who let him do what he wanted. Extra food and treats while Mom was away, run around the park wherever you wanted, and being lazy on the couch all day.
We would eventually adopt Link, and then Nora and Radar would have permanent playmates. He sometimes pretends to dislike them, but we know better. He's calmed down a bit from his crazy puppy youth, but he's still the same Radar. Always ready to play tug of war or fetch, always ready to cuddle, always ready to chase his brother and sister around the yard. He's my best buddy and I wouldn't trade him for anything. I love you, Corgi-man! Happy Birthday!