2016 was not a good year for me when it came to animals, early in the year we lost our 18-19 year old cat Oliver, just due to old age.

At the time we had another orange cat, Lucky, who was just starting to act normal and happy again after having a broken leg, but a couple of days after Oliver died, he passed away too. Then a few months later my amazing 17 year old yellow lab, Jazman, was accidentally run over in the driveway by a visitor when she couldn’t move out of the way in time.

She was a great dog, a good hunter, always happy and cheerful, a bit of a goofball, and had so much heart it was hard to watch. What I mean by that is that even when she was old, out of shape, and couldn’t run more than a minute without getting tired she always wanted to keep playing, or jump in the truck every time we went hunting, she recovered from a broken leg as a pup, and even with a leg that had multiple pins in it she could keep up with the best of them. She also had a thing for really big sticks.

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This happened maybe four or five months ago now, and I’ve been feeling better, but finding these pictures and actually writing about it is making me sad all over again.

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Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed everybody (sorry about that) I do have some good news! My wife and I got a new puppy!

That’s my mom in the picture, not my wife.

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Her name is Josie, and just like Jazman she is a pure bred yellow lab. She’s around 8 weeks old and already doing really good. She’s already retrieving very well, is sleeping through the whole night without having to go out, and after only a week and a half at home is starting to pick up on the whole don’t pee in the house thing, and is starting to listen to commands. In the next week or two (or once it gets to be bearably warm outside) I plan to start training her for pheasant hunting.

Having a new dog is definitely making me miss Jazman, but having a new pup is very exciting and a lot of fun. She already likes riding in the truck, after having to be in my lap for the first few minutes looking out the window she curls up right next to me, and she’s already getting acquainted with the shop, so hopefully she’ll be an awesome shop dog as well.

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Just finished up this new platform which is an entryway/kennel, the whole thing is 4' x 10' x 30" tall, and underneath she has a 4' x 4' play area, and a 2' x 4' fully insulated kennel/sleeping area. This summer I’ll add a doggy door that goes out to our fenced in yard so she has a lot of room to run and play when we’re at work. My parents also have an acreage 8 miles from us that I’m going to bring her to very often.