Our First Baby

Chester with a stick.

Early in our marriage, my husband brought home a golden ball of fluff.
We named our puppy Chester, after my grandpa. He loved to talk and would happily converse his every waking hour. We roughly translated his favorite phrase into, “I wuv you.”
To which we always responded, “I love you too.”
A month after joining our family he experienced snow for the first time, a lot of snow. The big Halloween storm of 1991. The heavy accumulation left us snowed in for four days. We owned one shovel that we had recently acquired and put it to use on our long, long driveway.
The snow soon grew beyond what his puppy legs could hop through. Then, the snow grew beyond what our car could drive through. What trucks could drive through. We put Chester in a backpack and hiked out to where the roads were plowed.
Our family grew. First one son, then two. Pigeons, chickens, and kittens too.
Chester came with us everywhere, up until he grew too old to go hunting. Body unwilling, but heart still in the game, he refused to talk to me all day after my husband left him behind. He would pointedly turn his head away from me when I sat near him. On day two he forgave me.
The average life span for a golden retriever is ten years. Chester made it to seventeen.
Tough and kind like his namesake, our first baby, is very much missed.

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