Hazel (a.k.a., "Beenie Weenie," "Jabberjaw," "Dim Bulb," "Nut Job," "Dipshit," "Loose Cannon," "Big Fat Girl," "Chubby," "Pig-Dog," "Hazelnut") joined our menagerie exactly one year ago today, taking her place within a mostly fur-bearing ecosystem that included three cats, two humans, and another Newfoundland. Tipping the scales at 110 pounds, Hazel is a big girl with a big personality and very little going on in her avocado-sized brain. With exceedingly long back legs, oafy paws, a crooked tail, an extra-wide rib cage, and a tremendous snout that only a mother could love, Hazel is an undignified, awkward-looking creature who would have been laughed out of charm school. If the Westminster Kennel Club featured canine rodeo clowns at its annual competition, Hazel would be an appropriate candidate. She is unpredictable in her affections toward strangers, as likely to tackle them with glee as she is to charge at them, bellowing insanely, swiveling her mighty lumbering frame, loosening the bowels of even the most toilet-trained adults. At home she is immensely clumsy, as her massive skull and prehensile tail cut a pitiless wake of destruction throughout the house, scattering cats and upending glassware; on at least one occasion she has accidentally tumbled down the main stairwell, having rolled unwittingly over the threshold during a dream (I suspect) about plunging her face into a mound of cheeseburgers.
At bottom, however, she is a sweet and jolly hound who has brought tremendous glee to our lives while driving down the property values in our neighborhood. This is her third home, and while two of our three cats would gladly help to find her a fourth, Hazel is here to stay. Happy anniversary, Hazel, you stupid, glorious beast.