Who knew that the journey begun in 2005 on a farm in rural Maine—whelped among Devon cattle, Nigerian dwarf goats, Katahdin sheep and miniature donkeys—would take Tavish (and us) so far in exploring not only the United States but also the profound meaning of friendship?
By phenotype, Tavish is a Hungarian vizsla, officially described by the American Kennel Club as “gentle-mannered, demonstrably affectionate and sensitive though fearless.” He’s all that. But he’s also part whirling dervish, part couch potato, part mischief, part clown. An athletic hiker. Enthusiastically food-driven. Sometimes vocal. Comfortable in front of a camera. A deep sleeper but vivid dreamer. A good listener. A living, breathing heating pad and a crucible for empathy from which most people could learn a thing or two. He wiggles with a puppy-ness that belies his years; his tail wags with an intensity that invariably elicits comments about harnessing it as an alternative energy source. There seems to be no proverbial “bad day” with Tavish, and he stands ready to brighten yours with a hand nuzzle or quick lick on the ear, maybe even a paroxysm of unbridled joy: the full-on pummel. He’s easygoing with other dogs and the cats with whom he has shared a home, but it’s people he gravitates to most, seeking an invitation to lock into their orbits and, once firmly established, remain unconditionally loyal.
The millennia-old bond between canines and humans is cited in everything from scientific journals to reality TV. And these days, given the growing, multi-billion-dollar pet services industry, cherishing one’s dog is hardly unusual. To tout Tavish as “the best” would diminish all the other great relationships people so fortunately have forged with their pets. Yet Tavish is our best, and we’re lucky to have found so steadfast a companion: an intrepid pup who’s been our co-pilot in all seasons to parks, museums and monuments across the United States and in and our nation’s capital. Eager to take on the seashore, the mountaintop and all the woodland trails and urban jungles in between, Tavish has made roadtripping more fun, gotten us to realize it’s as much about the journey as the destination, and challenged us to be more observant along the way. To quote a famous Dr. Seuss book, “Oh, the places we’ll go!”