My Best Westerman

Wesley in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario - Feb. 3, 2011

Today, Wes turned 11.

It was the summer of 2000, living in Atlanta, when I adopted Wesley from the Golden Retriever Rescue. He was abandoned by some fool outside a convenience store when he was little more than 6 months old. Since then, I have seen Wesley touch so many people’s hearts, make them smile, and invite even the most timid child to play and pull on his ears. He goes with me everywhere, never complains, and is always eager and curious. He is a sensitive soul who will go to the other room if I raise my voice. And yet, Wesley will find peace and contorted comfort in the tightest of spots.

Wes has swam on both coasts and in all the famous rivers—upstream, just to show off. He has chased geese tirelessly on Mirror Pond in the dead of winter; jumped in after a lobster trap in Maine; went skating on Lake Louise; walked down Bourbon Street during Mardi Gras; kissed hundreds of girls; peered over the edge of the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls; tried to pee in the Yukon at 40 below; seen bear, snakes, moose, elk, coyote, and armadillo; and been the ring leader at every daycare he’s ever been to. He has the most gold stars.

On behalf of the best dog on the planet, I can tell you that he’s doing great. He’s a wise old dog now, but in excellent health and still quick to smile—greeting all his friends with the same excited kindness he’s always shown. Wesley has been the best friend and road dog to me for more than 10 years now, and this trip is no exception. He loves to travel and has his own motel routine. A) Quick sniff around the perimeter of the room. B) Big drink from the ice bucket. C) Grab his bone. D) Jump on the bed, roll around, and knaw away the evening. He’s partial to Best Western, for obvious reasons.

Wes sprained his right paw about five days ago on our way north to Minneapolis. It was a long driving day and his bones may have grown a little stiff. When we stopped for a break, he pulled up a bit limp after jumping from the truck. So, Wes has been resting and a little bored these past few days. Most of today was spent in Duluth, then driving along Lake Superior, through Grand Marais and up to Thunder Bay, Ontario. We saw some wolves crossing the quiet road.

It’s below zero now, but Wes is sleeping soundly here at the Travelodge on Memorial Avenue.

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