Thoughts on Petra’s Birthday?

Jeff Zablow and his dog, Petra photographed by Jenny Jean Photography

She turned 10 on May 30, 2020. A milestone. Petra is a pedigreed pup, a Black Russian, born of a litter of 9 in rural (very) Lumberton, Mississippi. We drove down there to select from 5 females that the Sire (male)’s owner had for sale, and I chose Petra, partly for she so closely conformed to the American Kennel Club Standard for Black Russians.

Though she was the smallest of those 5 happy go lucky pups, she’s now a healthy 98 pounds, so being the smallest no longer matters. She’s often just like a 3-year old, and that’s much for such a large dog. She sure is what I was also looking for (after those years in Brooklyn when criminals began coming in homes on our street, at night, through windows), for if someone did do that now, all they’d see would be a set of BIG white teeth, and I suppose they’d cautiously back out the same way they came in. I am a man, and that’s how we think, TBTold.

Most folks stay away when I walk her, something about the made in Germany collar she sports. In those 10 years, she’s never once used her teeth, never. Early on I called Elena in Lumberton and asked her about why dogs in Pittsburgh’s Frick Park (who many times charge her from as far as 300 feet away, but never never assault her) never physically bully her. Elena said many reasons, and that Black Russians experience such.

We try to brush her often, and on walks, I am pleased to have been told 400 times that she’s a “Beautiful dog!”

She good at the groomer and just as well behaved at the Vet.

I was always a loner as a kid, sure I played all the sports, and I was better than average, but the yet undeveloped lots in Brooklyn, back then, beckoned me, and none, not one of my many friends had zero interest in that. Today, working trails, I am almost 99.96% of the time alone. I grew up alone and usually carried cold steel, and Petra so fits into my life, the guy who gardens native for butterflies, came up hard (and broke) and loves sheer beauty, whether it habitat, butterflies, insects, snakes, herons, flowers, blue sky, arroyos, Ardea herodias, Hop tree, reptiles, and all that esthetes see and love.

Petra is at my side, concerned, loving and for this kid (poor) who went by subway from Brooklyn to Madison Square Garden to see the annual Westminster Kennel Club show (I managed the bus ‘n subway fare and the admission charge), having a fine Black Russian, now, here in Georgia, is a dream come true. Really


4 thoughts on “Thoughts on Petra’s Birthday?

  1. Your article reminded me of how much I love and miss our rescued pit bull (“pibble”), Bear… he died last year, at the young age of 10, and I miss him SO very much… People were scared of him, but he was THE most loving, gentle dog either of us have EVER had in our lives- that dog was So full of love, and lived simply to give kisses & snuggle & be held and cuddled… That, I truly believe is A Dog’s Purpose…


    • Joanne, My wife at the time like the name ‘Petra,’ partly for the ruins in Jordan and otherwise she like the name. Since then I’ve heard of several woman named Petra. It’s an easy name to say, and for her to respond to. Thanks.


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