Rhodesian Ridgebacks

“Alright, I’ll shoot him when I get home.”

Ginny, never quite sure if I was serious or not, was always back to her normal protective self when I walked in the door a few hours later. But those calls during the middle of the day were always hard, with her crying over the latest deed of destruction our new dog had wrought.

That was 25 years ago.  We had two toddlers, one income that hardly covered the sparest basics, and a very young Rhodesian Ridgeback.

We had much to learn.

Zuri grew up, of course, a treasured part of the family.  For the next dozen years he colored everything in our lives, spinning memories of constancy and affection and laughter along the whole shank of our boys’ childhoods.  His exploits were legion, turned to legend.  Even today I carry a picture of him in my wallet and cannot think of him without a smile.

After Zuri came Zindika.  Surely the sweetest animal that ever lived.  Ridgebacks are known for their incredible hunting prowess, their indomitable courage, and their utter fearlessness.  Zin was the exception.  She loved everything, and would hurt nothing.  The only exception was if she sensed danger to us.

Her devotion was so remarkably selfless that you just knew it came from a special place.  That God himself had made of her a gift.

And like Zuri before her, she left us with countless priceless memories.  I can still see her heading off down the driveway in Ginny’s pickup as they headed off to work, her head held high next to Ginny.  The joy she felt so apparent in her delighted bearing.

Cancer took her early.  And so we buried her in the circle, between the tree and the rock, next to Zuri.  Close by the house, where we can still talk to them.

A couple years have gone by.  Long enough to slowly lose that sense of presence – the gladness – that always enlivened every entrance, every time you came home and walked in the door.  Long enough for Charlie, our cat, to slowly adjust to it just being us and him.

Long enough.

And so now here is this little guy.  Just eight weeks old.  A little fellow who in his first 24 hours here has already shown us a glimpse into his character.

He’ll create his own stories, write his own book.

Not many things in this world are better than that.

a hunter's instinct

A Hunter's Instinct

Some Words from Mom

Some Words from Mom

Tuckered Out

Tuckered Out

Some more images can be found here:

http://www.jeffreyhughes.net/family_&_friends/family_&_friends_photo_galleries/web_gallery_new_rhodesian_ridgeback_puppy/index.html


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3 Responses to “Rhodesian Ridgebacks”

  1. Snu says:

    I loved Zuri. Zuri made me laugh. Zuri chased two cocky football players to a parked van and they’ve never run faster since…Zuri didn’t eat Lou for dinner when he stole the heater in the living room that day, and I’m still not certain why Lou was spared…well, maybe Zuri sensed the moment for us all…Zen was a peace loving hippie. She co-mingled with deer and just liked to play; and we loved that too. I think God has just provided you the icing on your cake…a little of layer one and a little of layer two. Hide the crayons and the turkey and pass the biscuits. Love to you all and welcome home sweet nephew.
    Note to my nephew: Daddy eats bean dip every Tuesday…try to develop a fondness for it and lap it up every week when he’s not looking…I’d really enjoy hearing about that!

  2. Martha says:

    OMG there is nothing like a puppy for pure love, is there?! This guy looks like a treasure – can’t wait to hear his exploits a.k.a. raising the perfect dog. Aunties get visiting rights, right??!!! XO to all M

  3. Nancy Hoadley says:

    Jeff,
    What a lyrical tribute to your loving companions. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the copy Susan Huff took to Amissville, so I had her forward it to me at home. I wanted to share it with David. With the forwarding I also received the pictures. The new puppy photographs beautifully.
    Nancy Hoadley

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