Let me tell you about my sweet little fellow, Darby O'Gill (aka D.O.G.).
Darby and I met 15 years ago when I moved to Lough Gur in County Limerick, Ireland .. a magical place that has a stone circle as old as Stonehenge, and where the locals still see "fairies" like in the old days. The lake (Lough) is over 5,000 years old and is surrounded by gently rolling hills dotted with cattle, sheep, and plenty of other wildlife. Graceful swans glide over the lake, and geese from Scandinavia come to spend every winter to escape the cold. It truly is a magical place, and it's where I established a Bed and Breakfast business in 1996.
When I moved to Ireland, I was hoping to find a dog to love again before long. One day I was walking up the narrow country road where I lived, and came across a cute little dog with a pup about 3 months old -- he looked like a border collie and terrier mix. I inquired around and found out that the dogs lived nearby, with someone who didn't love them or feed them. A neighbor told me that the dogs' owner often kicked Darby across the driveway. That broke my heart, because he was the sweetest little fellow, and you could tell that all he really wanted was love, and to give love back. When we first met, he didn't want to leave my side; soon after, I brought Darby home, and another neighbor found a wonderful home for his mom.
All of my B&B guests loved Darby and some even asked if I'd let him sleep in their rooms at night LOL! They'd often bring "leftovers" from their dinners at nearby pubs to give to him as a treat. When I returned to living in the U.S., Darby was very brave and flew in his pet carrier in the cargo compartment ... he was scared to death, but he made it! Here's a photo of Darby when he first emigrated to America at age 8 ...
Darby is as smart as a whip -- if you mention "Lough Gur" to him, he throws his head back and starts to cry for "the Old Country."
Darby's been doing really well, but we discovered this summer that he has a problem with his back -- some of his bones have fused (spondylosis), making going up and down stairs (we have many) impossible, so we carry him up & down the stairs, but other than that, he's in pretty good health.
Last night we celebrated Darby's 15th Birthday ... for dinner, he had a juicy filet mignon steak cooked just how he likes it, and it was also sprinkled wtih Guinness -- accompanied by little red potatoes to remind him of his homeland. Darby gobbled it all up in a snap!
Happy Birthday Darby O'Gill -- thanks for 15 years of pure joy that you've brought to our lives!