See you soon Crosby…

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    Crosby – h/t Staci Orbell

    No one will ever know when the first wolf pup wandered into camp. It might have been the other way around, a hunter, perhaps a young boy found a stranded wolf pup and brought it back to his parents.

    While the origin of the first domesticated dog is a mystery, what isn’t a quandary is the relationship man and dogs have shared for a long, long time.


    It’s a sad fact that we usually outlive our best friends. When they pass, it leaves a hole in our existence that never fully closes.

    The same is true in reverse. How many of us have seen someone pass away, leaving behind a favorite pup that never gets over the loss? The connection between dog and man is perhaps even more binding than between man and dog.

    We lost the third and final member of the “Pups” today.

    Crosby, named after Sydney Crosby, my daughter Staci and son-in-law Adam’s favorite player on the Pittsburg Penguins, made his appearance in a litter of German Short Hair pups from Sue Powell in 2010.


    He was the half-brother of the lead dog of the Tucker Shorty clan, Samson, who was born a year earlier. Their sister, Shoni arrived from Colorado while the kids were still living in Laramie.

    The “Pups” with infant Crosby, Samson and Shoni – h/t Staci Orbell

    Crosby, aka “Crozer” “Crozy” “The Coyote” and H.G. was the smallest of the three. Sam in his prime was a blazingly fast 70-pound hunting dog. Shoni had the instinct, but her mom didn’t want her hunting and she tipped the scales close to 100 pounds. Crosby was never more than 45, but it was all muscle, speed, acceleration, and jumping ability.

    Sam and Crosby both exceeded 35 miles per hour in a flat-out sprint. They were capable of long jumping about 40 feet and were very “birdy” as pheasant and upland game bird hunters refer to their charges.


    Crosby wasn’t a hunter unless you count stalking a piece of bacon, stealing food off an unprotected plate, or sneaking a little snack when no one was looking.

    He hated car rides. His nervous instincts kicked in with excessive drooling and a little bit of a neurotic outlook when he was in the car.

    At the dog park, he was the king. Faster than any other dogs in the Irwin, Pennsylvania area, he would race for tennis balls, sometimes drop them for another run, and at other times play hard to get.


    He wasn’t the most social canine you’d ever encounter. His favorite trick when a new dog was in the park was to sprint up to it at top speed, slide to a halt, then bark vigorously in the new dog’s face before retreating behind Adam and carefully looking around. He was a character.

    I spent many an evening with Crosby in my lap as we all played games or watched a movie. Shorty’s think they’re lap dogs, no matter how much they weigh.

    His favorite place in the universe was his kennel next to Staci and Adam’s bed.

    The best of times easily were the summer nights in Adam’s parents Dave and Darlene’s backyard. Adam hit tennis balls with an old racket, the girls played on the swing set, chased fireflies, or raced across the lawn with Crosby and Shoni running to exhaustion on each swing of the racket. It was all set to the soundtrack of ’60s Golden Oldies played on Dave’s ancient boombox.

    Those three pups predated our three granddaughters Jayne, Norah, and Morgan. They were our “grand dogs” for eight years before Jayne arrived in 2017. They remain so in our hearts.

    When Adam and Staci decided to move from Laramie to Pittsburgh, it broke up a genuine friendship between Samson, Shoni, and Crosby. We’d haul Sam to Laramie and they’d take the other two to Riverton on long weekends.

    Me under attack from Crosby, Shoni and Samson – h/t Staci Orbell

    When they were placed in a luxury kennel in front of our house, they played the sad puppy card to a T, looking forlornly through the wire gate before retiring inside to a thick foam mattress, tons of snacks, water, and in wintertime a heat lamp. Yes, they had it rough.

    The two-day trip across the Heartland to Western Pennsylvania was trying on Crosby, but we found a couple of dog friendly motels and Staci mapped out dog parks along the Interstate Highway where they could run for 15 or 20 minutes several times a day.

    It was a great experience as we switched drivers, passengers, and pups between the kid’s two vehicles as we crossed Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio before reaching their new home on Ann Drive.

    Crosby had a penetrating bark that we could hear all over the neighborhood when we took the girls for stroller rides, and later for walks around the Markvue Manor neighborhood. Markvue’s friendly mailman Randy, always smiled through the picture window as Crosby defended his home every day against the U.S. Postal Service.

    Jayne and Norah loved those two pups, they loved Sam and Dixie, our dearly departed miniature dachshund as well.

    We still have Hugo, the friendly 12-year-old Labrador, and Molly, the often uncontrollable Shorthair that carries on the tradition started by Sam in 2009.

    We don’t like to see our children or grandchildren suffer, and make no mistake, losing a beloved pet is suffering in its purest form. But another side of me knows that the girls need to experience this. Life isn’t all sunshine and roses. Most of it is delightful, but learning to deal with the hard times is a very important part of growing up.

    Losing a pet is horrible, it’s one of the worst things we can experience and the pain is every bit as real as if it was a family member. That’s because when a dog is cared for properly, it is a family member.

    Staci and Adam as well as Brian and Katelin have gone the extra mile for every one of their pups, spending thousands of dollars to get them the best and not wavering at the cost of top-notch veterinary care.

    Crosby has crossed the rainbow bridge. In my mind, his best friends Shoni and Sam are waiting for him. Maybe he’ll finally get to meet Dixie. That might not go well since she was so overly aggressive as many small dogs (and people) often are.

    Saying goodbye is never easy. When we leave Pittsburgh or the girls leave here, it’s always emotional for all of us. I tell Jayne and Norah, we don’t say goodbye, we say I’ll see you soon.

    See you soon Crosby.


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