When [Pete] bounded into our lives on a snowy February day 11 years ago he was 7 months old and already weighed 85 pounds. My son Dan had wanted a dog for so long that he had even come up with a name for him: Bilbo, after his favorite character from The Hobbit. But Pete, named, like his brother Mack, after a truck, had learned one moniker and he was not about to adopt another. Bilbo didn't stick. Pete was Pete, and that was that. In most other matters, he can be very accommodating.Whenever the kids went swimming, Pete would circle them anxiously, swimming round and round, never taking his eyes off them. Luckily none of them ever needed to be pulled from the drink, but one day, on a walk up the road, Pete spotted a beagle who had gotten over his head in a small pond. Something deep in his ancestral roots summoned Pete into action, and he charged across a field (he could still, back in those days, outrun any of us), leapt in and nudged the tiring little hound all the way to the shore.Each summer Pete and the rest of us spend a week in a little cabin on the shore of Otisco Lake. In the mornings I like to swim out to the middle of the lake and back. Before Pete, I had to wait until someone woke up who was willing to take the rowboat out so I could swim alongside. Once Pete came along he became my swimming companion and lifeguard all in one. Pete was (still is, for short stretches) a swimming machine. He motored alongside me, and when I turned my head I could see his massive paws and his webbed feet churning through the water.
easy to care for a pet, especially when caring means paying large bills. “Certainly if animal owners are contacting us, they care about their animals. They’re trying to do the right thing,” Pomilio-Mulcahy says.
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