Let’s Paws: Heartbreak and joy on Thanksgiving menu

Every time  I go to my sister’s, I joke that I’m going to Labrador. She has two of ’em, and I’ve explained how they came to be.  One was a a kennel pup, and the other was a disabled dog that came perilously close to being put down.

With her (at the time) three sons.

I think it’s fitting that on the second anniversary of her beloved husband’s passing, she chose to make room for another soul under her roof.

She sprang to action after hearing of a newly divorced guy’s plight. He got possession of the darling dog, a Golden Retriever-Chow mix. He and the dog had been a couple for seven years. The wife might have been out of the picture, but there was no way he was gonna part with that dog if he could help it.

He and his pal hunted for an apartment. But it seems the pet, named Vander in honor of boxing great Evander Holyfield, was too much of a heavyweight for the places they looked at. Dad was repeatedly told his 110-pound son was not an acceptable tenant because he greatly exceeded the weight limit.

Seems the distraught owner was running out of options but understandably couldn’t bear to take his buddy to the pound. Someone hooked him up with my sister. She agreed to look after Vander until another home could be found.

The poor owner showed up at my sister’s door just two weeks ago crying his eyes out, his dad along for support. And a puzzled Vander. Doggy bed included.

Vander’s owner begged my sister to let him know if it turned out not to be a good match. He didn’t want Vander deposited at the pound without another chance at a family.

She assured him that would never happen. And after an hour, my sister knew she was keeping him, no matter what. I’ve now had the supreme pleasure of meeting him, and he’s as sweet as he looks.

The lab experiment is going fine. They’re all getting along for the most part. Though one brother has some jealous bouts and the other is a bit too amorous at times.

My sister’s son, stepdaughters and granddaughter

Vander seemed to like the attention from all of us strangers on Thanksgiving. Not to mention the delectable grub.

I’m not a doggy shrink, nor do I play one on TV. But his body language seemed to say he’s comfy, and these new folks are swell, but when’s his dad coming back?

I’m back home after a quick holiday visit. On the phone, my sister was fretting that he still seems a little too mellow, given the big upheaval. But she says he’s doing the requisite doggy things — like barking at strange dogs walking by — so that’s a promising sign.

In time, let’s hope this good guy truly feels at home in this best of all possible places.

I say that not just because I’m biased. Fact is, he’s got a big yard and plenty of room to spread out, which pleased his owner. All the playtime and gourmet leftovers you could possibly want from a new mom who’s a great cook with a soft heart. It’s no wonder my father always said he wanted to come back as my sister’s dog.

No one can fill my brother-in-law’s big shoes. But Vander’s giant paws and angelic disposition are going a long way toward filling the void.

Glad he and my sister found each other this Thanksgiving.

BTW, I wrote to Holyfield’s office. Thought the champ might get a kick out of  knowing such an adored pet has his name, along with the title of One of the World’s Greatest Dogs.

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