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The Yankee Express

Two in the Queue

Up for adventure, only weeks before his passing.

By Amy LeClaire
Lincoln brought our family so much joy. Nothing will compare to his smile, his expression, and the easy way in which we understood each other. It has been said that dogs are a lot of work. Partial truth. Dogs, indeed, are a lot of work, but with just the right dose of adventure. Sometimes it’s hard to know the difference between work and play. Here, Lincoln blurred the lines. He made work feel like play.  He even found a way to have fun on rainy days, his least favorite. Well, with my help that is. 
“Want to play Hide and Seek, Lincoln?”
Nothing is more depressing than seeing a happy (energetic) dog defeated by a grey day. Just as he’d pull me out of funks, so did I, him. I’d hold up one of his Kong balls and rotate it in my hand like a planet. “Mummy will hide the ball and Lincoln will go GET it.” His spirit lifted to the mere review of game rules. He propped his head up and stared at the turning ball. Could this really be happening? An indoor game of ball? He snapped from the nook beneath the counter. “I’m in.”
“Sit.” He sat on command. “Lincoln – Staaaayy. Wait until I tell you.” I stretched out the word stay to emphasize its importance to the game, and also, because learning to stay was more difficult for him. He loved that ball so much, and needed to rescue it. “You have to wait until I tell you.” He couldn’t resist the occasional head start. “Wait until I tell you.” I’d lead him right back to the same spot. 
Then, like a burglar with a ball, I tiptoed to the front of the house to choose a hiding spot: in the big mouth of Daddy’s shoe, beneath the corner of his dog bed upstairs, or beneath one of numerous accent tables. Occasionally I’d provide a game challenge, hiding the ball downstairs yet emulating the sound of footsteps by drumming the bottom step with my palms. “Sounds like she went upstairs.” Seated on the edge of his seat, Lincoln waited for the go-ahead. I needed to move quickly. He needed to rescue his beloved ball.  I could sense his impatience. 
“Go get it!” Like a bloodhound wearing a Golden Retriever costume, Lincoln weaved his way through all of the hot spots, nose to ground. Meanwhile, I encouraged him. “You have to go get it!” He would look down at me from the foyer at the top of the stairs. “I know. I’m trying to find my ball!” Then came the moment of truth, the profound “AHA” when he’d grab that ball, slosh it around his mouth, and retreat beneath the dining room table to be alone. “You’re not getting away from me again.” 
He’d chew on the ball for a while before coming back to me. “Lincoln – do you want go get it?” Dogs, like humans, learn from repetition. A second game felt as refreshing as the first. As if both of our moods hadn’t been lifted enough (I do believe dogs are natural anti-depressants) the game offered an added caveat. I showed him my iPhone recording of him playing so that he could watch himself on video! “Go get it!” He’d listen to my voice repeat the whole game, tilting his head curiously, reliving the moment. “Is that me looking for my ball?” Sometimes the taping would make him uncomfortable and jittery, as though spooked. He’d dash to my husband’s office. “Mom’s phone is possessed again, Daddy.”  
Dogs innocently remind us of life’s subtle, humorous, and joyous moments. Their lives are far too short, yet the happiness accrued within their life is so very potent. How does one quantify or place a value on a dog’s positive influence on our lives? I’ve considered the math and come to a conclusion. Dogs provide so much joy. When considering getting another, why not make it a double?  
The pain of losing Lincoln is not directly proportional to the joy spent with him. Joy spilled over our days, saturating them as would a napkin, red punch. The joy of owning a dog is exponential. Two puppies, like two cocktails, are happier than one.
Such was my rationale when, after struggling to (first) find an experienced and caring Golden Retriever breeder and (next) be accepted onto their list; two doors opened up, one following my husband’s research, the other, mine. Both breeders accepted my family as a happy home for their upcoming puppies. How could we say no? Now we’ve got two in the queue and we couldn’t be happier! 

                                               Lincoln enjoys happy times with friends

In honor of Lincoln, during the winter of next year (Jan/Feb 2022), we will take home Puppy #1. Fast-forward four to five months later, and puppy #2 shall follow. So - we have two in the queue! Are we spending too much money? Most definitely. Are we adding on too much work? Possibly. Will there be too much joy in the house?
Not a chance. 
Stay tuned for more on Living On with Lincoln. 
To my faithful readers – just as the joy of having a dog is immeasurable, so is the gratitude I have for all of you who have written me in the past five months, following Lincoln’s passing. I have saved every word, every card, every e-mail, every thought, and every gift. You are all in my heart. Together, as Dog People, we will always be connected. 
Write to me [email protected]