Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mambo Peach

Mambo At Two Months
Mambo Ten Minutes Ago
Inspiration comes in different shapes and sizes; that's for sure! Honestly, I could write a book about my canine buddies. It's Mambo's turn today, his birthday. Time has flown by, and he has enhanced our lives beyond measure. Ever since we brought him home at eight weeks old, his only mission in life has been to be by our sides; he was never wild and crazy... just loyal and intelligent. Traveling with him is indescribably fantastic. Walking a couple of miles on the beach turns into a meet-and-greet with so many curious admirers. Children love him, seeming to ignore his size (currently 126 pounds), assuming he is a big, cuddly teddy bear. Well, he is; but I always remind strangers-who-become-friends that they should be sure to inquire about the gentleness of any dog, before approaching him or her.

My youngest recently asked, “Why do people get two dogs?” Well, I sure know the answer to that one!

We always thought ourselves to be a one-dog family; that was, until Mambo came along. Ike was just eight when Joe happened to read the “Pets For Sale” ads in our local newspaper. “Nick, you’ll never believe this... a local breeder has a litter of Black Russian Terriers!” said he.

To backtrack just a tad, we had two Giant Schnauzers, one at a time, when the boys were growing up; they were named Baron and Sly (actually, I’m Sylvester Sly, after the boys’ favorite Rocky actor!). During that twenty-year period, I had seen a photo of a BRT and was enraptured by some of the similarities to the huge Schnauzers we had. A rare breed, there were just a few BRT’s in the States; and they were not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club. That was to change about a decade ago; but still, we had never seen one....

... leading me to say that my response to Joe was, “Oh, I just have to see them!” So, we gathered up our little granddaughter, four at the time, and took a ride to the breeder’s home, where I immediately fell in love. That was on a Thursday night. Five gorgeous, friendly puppies greeted us. As we left, I said to Aubs, “If we brought one home, what would you name him?” She replied, “Peaches,” to which I said, “Hmmm, he’s going to be very big and very black; any other thoughts?” Well, the week prior, we had taken her to see her first big-screen movie, “Happy Feet”. Mambo was our favorite dancing penguin, in the film. “Mambo!” exclaimed Aubs. “Perfect,” said I, “how about Mambo Peach?” And so it goes and so it goes...

Upon dropping Aubs off at her home, my oldest said, “Mom, you don’t want two dogs.” This remark came from his own experience. I slept on it, and the next morning called him and said, “You know, Bri, you’re right. We are absolutely a one-dog family!”

We brought Mambo home that night.

Joe and I couldn’t choose just one; so, we asked the breeder to do so for us. I could hug that Russian man for his choice. He had already taught my pooch many commands in his native tongue. At only eight weeks, Mambo was a very fast learner and soon became bilingual... smile. By three months, he was fetching the newspaper from the end of our very long driveway, and bringing it to us at the doorway. He is always off-lead, unless we are in a public place that requires tethering. He snowshoes with us and will ignore a herd of deer, choosing instead to remain by our side. He understands language (I know, I know; you're groaning) and responds to dozens of commands... requests, actually. He loves praise, people, kids, other animals, snow and the beach... and he still fetches the newspaper every day.

As a point of interest for dog lovers, his breed was developed about fifty years ago in Russia and is comprised of Giant Schnauzer, Airedale, Rottweiler, Newfoundland, and another breed (?) to add “bark”. That’s right; he only speaks for a reason, when he has something to say. Very manly, right? Interesting, wouldn’t you agree, that we’ve had two Giants and currently have our Airedale Ike?! Hmmm; there must be something to analyze there, in our breed desires.

Mambo is three today. Yes, I fell in love with him; he's a real sweet peach and appropriately named, after all.