Ode to Vern: Dog, Friend and Food Tester



This is my ode to Vern: a dog, loyal friend and food tester.  Where do I even begin talking about Vern?  I know everyone will say that their dog was the sweetest, but in addition to him taking the cake in the sweetest department, Vern had such a unique personality.  Vern literally loved everyone, in fact I used to tell people that he was a sell out, because if someone broke into our house Vern would lick the robber to death…

Since Vern’s passing a few days ago it has brought out some really great memories, and although you may not have even known I had a dog, I’m happy to tell you he has been in almost every video I have done.  Surely you can see me cooking, chopping, slicing, but little did you know there was always a doberman walking around the island where I was cutting, or he was laying on the ground by my feet patiently waiting for food to drop so he could devour it!  Vern was the ultimate chef companion because he would eat everything he could get his lips on with complete gratitude even if it wasn’t the greatest, except that he really didn’t like bananas or celery, odd I know.

I remember when I first brought Vern home and he immediately came in the house and peed, and then went outside and peed, followed by coming right back in the house to poop on the floor to then return outside to finish pooping!  I’ll never forget the time my buddy Ray watched Vern over Christmas break when I was in college and how excited I was to get back to pick him up and take him back home to watch him quickly hop out of the car to take this gigantic poop thinking to myself that it was oddly massive, only to walk outside a few days later to notice it was my buddy Ray’s size 15 black sock.  The dog seriously ate everything and pooped it out, it was crazy!  I’ll always remember how he just loved to snuggle and could not get enough human interaction, or all the times he got cold and shivered and needed to be covered by a blanket.  I remember my then girlfriend, now wife, told me how she never really liked dogs but absolutely fell in love with Vern the first time she met him, or the time the neighbor kid saw him running and said he looked like a race horse.  Vern was so fast and so graceful when he was running that my wife and I said he was like a lambercelle which is a combination of a lamb, horse, deer and gazelle.  He used to sleep right in between Lindsay and I every night to keep us warm in the winter, and trust me in Chicago it’s always a 3 dog night 🙂  The coolest thing by far was how Vern followed Lindsay around everywhere and we couldn’t figure out why?!  One night he hopped in bed and laid his head right on her stomach and we looked at each other and thought he clearly knew something we didn’t only to find out the next day that Lindsay was pregnant.  The memories could go on forever….

I was really upset after Vern died on Tuesday and not so much because he was sick or was suffering, but because he was so kind, gentle and sweet and then all of a sudden his life was up and gone in seconds.  I know we are only talking about a dog, but it really made me think about my own life and how I have been treated as well as treated others.  I can say that I surely am a sinner saved by a whole lot of grace, but there is no way I have ever come remotely close to loving as well as Vern has.  No matter how mad I have been at Vern for eating my entire Jimmy John’s sandwich when I wasn’t looking, or how I confined him to one room after eating all my socks, no matter what it was, he still loved me unconditionally.  It also made me think about all of the relationships I take for granted, and how I think that these people in my life will be around forever…  I know it seems odd, but Vern has taught me how to love even more and to invest more into my relationships, like with my sister and friends from back home in St. Louis, as well as here in Chicago.  I know God works in mysterious ways, but I can’t help but think that Vern was in my life for a reason, and while I feel as if I have lost a family member, I have to rejoice because I have gained my daughter Olivia.  Maybe Vern was here to prep me for fatherhood or perhaps help me through some lonely times when I first moved to Chicago, or it could be that he has shown me that life is but a minute and that I should be loving the same way God commands us to, unconditionally.   Vern Vern, Verniathon, Venus, Vernacular, Perm, Worm, Herman, Sherman, Thurman and V, we love you and miss you and we will always remember you.  Thank you for loving us so well…