Steve Wacksman
Cave Canem!

I've been a dog afficionado for quite some time now. I grew up with a keen interest in animals and as an adolescent made a pet out of just about any animal that colud be contained in a tank or cage. Our family dog was a black and tan Dauchshund named Tootsie Roll ( credit should be given to my parents who let my then three-year-old sister affix that sorry handle to the poor creature).
After relocating to NYC I found that my schedule and cramped living quarters did not lend themselves to pet ownership. As I was barely able to rub two dimes together the prospect of providing sustenance for another living being wasn't particularly attractive either. Finally my roommate and I decided to visit the local shelter and bring home a cat. This, we decided, would make our apartment more 'homey'. In fact it had quite the opposite effect as Logan was a foul-tempred and boisterous beast. He'd pace and yodel angrily at the door and swipe at your hand without provocation. My ardor for pet ownership thus cooled I lived without animal companionship for many years to follow.
But as time went by the bug once again bit me and a visit to the local animal shelter was inevitable, In no time at all I found a new companion- Jinx, a Siberian Husky. Jinx, in turn, found Junior.
One day at the local dog park Jinx honed in on a tremendous male Rottweiler. I was, like many people, wary of the breed but Jinx seemed oblivious to my prejudices and amorously followed the behemoth around the park, playfully nipping at his neck and trying to win his affections. Eventually it worked and the two became fast friends.
In short, Junior found himself in need of a new home and I campaigned relentlessly until I was eventually awarded the position. Junior was the perfect companion: quiet, confident, and always by my side. He was as trustworthy and sweet as any dog could be, yet his size and menacing appearance would be enough to keep any potential trouble from my door. I loved him with all my might and the feeling was clearly mutual.
Shortly thereafter Junior met The Veal at the park. The Veal was a scrappy and energetic Boxer bitch. The Veal's owner was a comely lass named Sofie. Sofie and I eventually got to talking. I must've said something she liked as Sofie and I are now looking down the barrell of our 10th wedding anniversary.
Eventually our dog pack died off as dogs will do. One by one they went - first Junior (spinal paralysis) , then The Veal (cancer) and lastly Jinx (time).
I had been dreaming of another big dog- I like their calm and gentle demeanors and doleful expressions. I somehow convinced Sofie that a Dogue de Bordeaux would be a perfect fit. Much research and many phone calls to various breeders throughout the US finally led us to Charles River's Mighty Oak- aka Okie.
Okie's first year.

Sometime after the birth of our son I managed to once again convince my wife that we needed another mouth to feed. And so came The Champion, a bristly and malodorous Boxer with a taste for mischief. And so the circle closes, at least for now.
Personally, I'va always wanted a Bullmastiff.

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