As most of you know, I used to have a yellow lab named Moose. You may also know that I considered Moose a good friend more than a dog. Pretty much every song I sang had some (or all) of the words replaced with some form of Moose, Moosey-boy, Moo, and so on. For example:

He’s a mooniac, mooniac on the floor…

You get the picture. Well, I had to put Moose down early last year. He’d gone deaf and his legs were causing him trouble. He lived for 13 1/2 years, though, which is pretty good for a big ol’ lab, in my book.

We’ve missed him, but apart from the moments and days after he was gone, we haven’t been sad. It was a good life for a dog, maybe even a great one. We look back and smile, I still sing songs in his name, and we tell stories.

This is one of those stories.

I was never one to give a lot of treats. My motto has always been that time is the most precious thing, so if you give yours to someone else, that’s the gift. But still, with a dog you have to have treats on hand, and so we kept bones and rawhides around the house and doled them out when Moose and/or Rudy deserved a little more. I can’t remember where we kept the stash before, but I do remember that Nic moved the stash to the back of one of our under-the-counter kitchen cupboards. This particular one has a shelf in it, so you can basically throw something back there, pile in your other crap, and forget it’s back there.

So went the dog treats.

But dogs have those damn noses, you know? So I’m going to go on conjecture here, and say that Moose and Rudy probably waltzed by that particular cupboard a hundred times a day, thinking, “Man, what is that faint smell of awesomeness? I’m picking up a gravy and hide mix… but I’ll be damned if I can find the source.”

I don’t know how many weeks went by like this, but it must have been torture for them, Moose in particular.

One day Nic and I are standing in the kitchen and Moose comes moseying along with a look like he’s effing had enough. He stared at that cupboard like he might punch it in the face.

Nic and I exchanged a glance.

And then Moose emptied his lungs. I mean, this dog breathed out for so long and so hard you would have thought his insides were collapsing.

Nic and I exchanged another, more fearful glance.

Moose finally reached the end of his incredible exhale, and we thought he might fall over. Nope. He put his nose up to the edge of that cupboard door, right beneath the upper hinge, and started breathing in.

Sniffing, as it were.

He must have had it in his mind that he was going to breathe every stinkin’ cubic inch of air inside that damn cupboard, and finally, without equivocation, know what that awesome smell was.

So he started inhaling, inhaling, inhaling, and we started laughing.

Inhaling, inhaling, inhaling.

Laughing, laughing, laughing.

Inhaling, inhaling, inhaling.

By now we were laughing so hard we were bent over, crying, slapping our knees, spinning out and away from the madness. It was just absolutely incredible.

Inhaling, inhaling… and done.

Moose looked at us like, what’s so funny?

Nothing, bud. You want a treat?

He smiled.

… and he’s sniffing like he’s never sniffed before.

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