I have an Airedale-Chow named Chewbacca, Chewie for short. Yes, if you wanted to know, my family is filled with science fiction nerds! Hence, the naming of our dog after the big, shaggy alien life form from Star Wars--which is very apropos, by the way, since he is very shaggy, and he even sounds the same when he whines or growls!

We rescued him from an animal shelter and have had him as a member of our family since I started middle school. He was like my third brother growing up, just less annoying and a lot more cuddly. I loved taking him for walks and just watching him play in the yard. He's got this gorgeous tawny coat that just shines in the sun after he's been brushed, and has some of the most beautiful, intelligent eyes I've ever seen in a dog. He loves being in the snow. He'll lay in it for hours just observing the world pass by around him from his vantage point in our backyard.

He's a very personable dog, so friendly in fact that he'd make the worst guard dog ever, just because he'd beg for a tummy rub from the burglar before he'd bite him in the leg. He's also sort of a local celebrity. The garbage men love him. Tellers at the drive up window to our bank give him dog treats whenever my mom brings him along. The dog walkers in our neighborhood usually stop by for a social visit on their daily rounds. Anywhere we take him he's well received by one and all. My mother took his picture to a science fiction convention last year, and it was autographed by none other than Peter Mayhew himself!

Chewie's personability can be a curse for him as well as a blessing. He absolutely hates it when one of us leaves and is almost always miserable until we return. This is why we'd try to hide our suitcases until a few hours before we'd leave for a trip. Later on, it got even harder for him once my older brother, me, and finally my younger brother eventually left for college. We'd come home for holidays, but he was still becoming as much of an "empty nester" as my parents were.

He's also beginning to show the signs of his eleven years on this earth (for a 56 pound dog, that's pretty old). His joints are weakening, and he doesn't move as fast as he used to. Mom and Dad also tell me that he's acting more attention starved than ever, which is pretty resaonable considering they both have full-time jobs and we don't have another dog. My mom is even considering sending him over to my grandparents' a few days out of the week for "doggy daycare" just so he won't be alone all the time. I think it's a great idea. It's also getting closer to spring, which means that he can take walks more often, and chase rabbits, and sniff his favorite trees, and meet all his favorite doggy friends in the neighborhood.

I've always been wary though, about the horror stories I've heard concerning favorite pets that pass away before their owners come back from college. I'm working on my third year at the university, and with the minor I just declared I'm looking at five years at the very least. I'm praying that something doesn't happen to Chewie before I get my degree, but I also know that he's being well cared for, that he's lived a full life, and that whatever happens ... happens, I suppose.

I'ved loved this dog for a very, very long time, and he's been my best friend for over half of my life. When the time inevitably comes for him to leave us for good, and if my parents decide to get another dog, I would feel very sorry for it indeed. Because that poor animal would have some very BIG paws to fill.

jabberwock72588 jabberwock72588
22-25, F
Feb 24, 2010