This past week, Leonardo turned six years old.
It’s hard to believe that my best beloved furry friend turned six. I can remember it just like it was yesterday when I brought him home for the first night, giving him a strict warning that if he wouldn’t potty on the bed, he could sleep next to me forever.
Six years later, Leo takes up more of the bed than I do.
It’s Leo’s world, we just live in it.
Every year I plan something for Leo’s birthday. Cake. Balloons. A trip to Jacks to get some French fries. Laugh all you want, but you never get over the dog who got your through the dark days, the good days and makes life better. So, you celebrate each year.
What do you purchase a 120-pound yellow Labrador for his sixth birthday? A new chew toy? A bone? No, for a six-year-old dog, that is so hyper and active and wants to go, go, go all the time you don’t just get him a new chew toy. You relinquish your rights to birthday gift buying and let your husband pick the gift.
You see, Tractor Supply has a tennis ball launcher that shoots tennis balls, or so it claims, up to 65-feet. And it seems that every time we go into that store to get dog food, my husband talks about getting Leo this tennis ball launcher. So, for his 6th birthday, along with his slice of birthday cake and plenty of belly rubs, Leo received the tennis ball launcher.
Earlier this week, in the middle of the pouring rain, Drew, Leo and myself assembled this tennis ball launcher and let Leo play his heart’s content out. Stick the tennis ball in, pull the launcher back and then pull the trigger and watch the tennis ball fly. I’m not going to say that it flies a full 65-feet like advertised, but it does have some force behind it. It could shoot your eye out.
We will have to tell the Wizard he can only aim this toward the trees or the grass. I can foresee some broken house or car windows in our future if we are not careful.
Leo is smart, too. He knows if he brings the yellow tennis ball back to Drew and run off and wait, soon that ball will fly through the air and he can go running.
It’s the little things that make Leo happy. Best part, before he went to sleep the night of his birthday, he followed me outside. On the way back in, Leo snuck his tennis ball back in the house. A little while later, I found him snoring, on his back, his feet in the air, with the tennis ball tucked right next to him.
Laura Pitts is a former Daily Mountain Eagle reporter. She currently serves as director of the Scottsboro Public Library.