I cannot believe I have been remiss in writing about Tom’s favorite dog, Croi Mehaffey. Croi came to us as a foster puppy back in the early summer of 2016. When he arrived, he was a sort of sad little fellow – about 9 months old, with patchy fur loss, too thin, and a shy, though sweet, personality. As he settled in, his personality started to grow and he got much braver too. He is just the most unassuming dog. He loves to be near his people, and when he gets excited, he will smile – showing all his pearly whites in a grimace that would make you think he was growling if you didn’t know him and know better! And you are truly special if you get to see one of Croi’s smiles….they are a rare sight saved for a very excited situation – so I’m always honored when he bestows one upon me. But in his daily life he has a calm and gentle personality about him, and is very accepting of all new people and dogs, which is such an endearing quality.
After he was here just a few weeks, Connor, Tom, and I had a conversation in which Connor used his best 6-year-old logic to discuss WHY we should adopt Croi. He said, ‘Mommy you have Harley and Fiona, and Daddy has Sawyer…and who do I have? I want a dog that is MY dog – and I think Croi should be MY dog.’ I just looked at Tom with wide, innocent eyes, and he heavy sighed, knowing that the decision was already made. Our family of 6 became a family of 7. As we discussed what to name him, Connor wanted to name him Love-heart, which we had trouble getting behind that name- so we compromised and looked up heart in Gaelic and found the name Croi, and we all immediately knew that was the name for him.
I am so thankful we kept Croi. Over the next 2 years he was a rock steady comfort as we lost all three of our elderly pups. Having him as a young dog to help balance out the older guys and the sting of losing them in such a short period, was a welcome comfort. I honestly think he knew it too – his strong, steady presence has seen us all through some tough losses, and he is always ready for a snuggle, or to go for a walk or hike, whatever you need to help boost you when you are feeling low. And I swear he knows just when you need him, and will slide up next to you with quiet support.
He has been an excellent teacher to our new crew too, and to our foster puppies. I like to think that he learned from Harley how to be the alpha dog in the house, and it is such a comfort to me too that he got to know Harley and learn from him before we lost him. He has the same way about him with the puppies that Harley did – he will give them a warning growl if they are being too much, and is aloof, but once they settle in and he warms up, he will also play with them. He plays with a goofy bounce in his step and lots of noisy growling and talking. Watching him play with Tully is my favorite though – Tully sticks his WHOLE FACE inside Croi’s mouth and then is surprised and hurt when he bites him. Every. Time. You would think he would learn, but it is this schtick they have I guess, and they must both enjoy it because it is a regular occurrence when they are playing.
Earlier this year when we were in Ireland we inquired with the locals about his name and found out that we have been pronouncing it wrong all these years – heart in Gaelic is actually pronounced ‘kree’ not ‘croix’ as we say it….we had a good laugh about that, and have gone on calling him Croi all the same.
I cannot believe that he is six years old now – the time truly does fly, and our mangey little puppy has grown into quite the man and pack leader. His steady calm presence is such a welcome addition to our family and our pack. He is always everyone’s favorite, and though all those years ago it was Connor who made the plea to keep him, we ALL know, without any shred of doubt – that this dog is 100% Tom Mehaffey’s dog, and no other. A prime example of the man who did not want the dog being the one who is most in love with the dog. But for that I am thankful, he was due for a dog to be his, since everyone else has been mine, and Croi has become the true heart of our little dog family.