Grabbing Life By the Lapels

Bozeman was not a quiet dog.

The black lab hooted and hollered after birds. He thundered through his food. And his disdain for leashes could be heard three houses over.

Even when Bozeman was sick, he wasn’t sidelined. His eyes would case the room and his tail would smack the floor like a metronome.

Life was not something that happened to Bozeman. As my father put it, life for that black lab was something to be seized, shaken, and occasionally pissed on.

As much as Bozeman had a philosophy, it was most aligned with Maya Angelou: “Life loves to be taken by the lapels and told, ‘I’m with you, kid. Let’s go.'”

Bozeman was never ours. We were raising him to be a seeing-eye dog. Only 25 percent of the dogs would make the cut. They needed a strong will, strong heart, and the conviction to find a way forward.

It’s not a bad standard for people, either. I’ve gotten caught in reactivity loops, where all I’m doing is taking what’s handed to me.

But that’s not all there is to us. And I know we can muster the will, heart, and conviction to approach life as something to be seized, shaken, and occasionally pissed on.

Bozeman made the cut. He guided a man who worked at a mattress factory in the Carolinas. And the black lab never stopped thundering through his own food.

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