"First impressions can say a lot. Lance Johnson will never forget the day he went to the Kalamazoo Animal Shelter, and walked past rows and rows of dogs barking and yelping. There, amidst all the hubbub, one particular pooch stood patiently waiting. Lance asked him to sit, and he sat. He put his hand to the cage, and the dog outstretched a paw. One shake later, Lance knew his new friend had adopted him, and Probie knew he had found a home.
When Lance arrived home with Probie, he and his roommates at the time "must have played for a week straight," Lance remembers. Probie loved every minute of it, of course, so happy to have a family of his own.
Probie was named after Lance's favorite hockey player, the big, bruising Bob Probert, but his new canine companion couldn't have been further from his namesake. Probie was the gentlest of dogs, so friendly, easygoing and lovable. In fact, he was so friendly, Lance often wondered if he'd protect the house from burglars, or show them the valuables!
Probie wasn't any particular breed, but he was undeniably cute, with his tan coat, black face and bushy white tail. And he always had a smile on his face, too.
What he lacked in appearance Probie more than made up for in smarts. He was a very intelligent dog, and could shake, sit, lie down and roll over upon request. And just like that first day at the shelter, Probie was always well-behaved, and never needed obedience school or special training. In fact, Probie used to race out the door, ready to go for a walk with Lance. Once he raced out the door, and over to Lance's neighbors, who were standing at their mailbox. Lance simply called to him, and Probie came racing back to his side, and to the neighbor's amazement!
Probie loved his walks with Lance, whether it was around the neighborhood, or especially to Millennium Park, his favorite place, where there were so many animals and people to say hello to, and so many interesting smells! Probie always got along with other dogs, too, especially his neighbor dog, Charlie, who "ran the fence" with him almost daily.
Probie always got along well with everyone, and vice versa. Whether it was Lance's friends, visitors or mom and dad, Probie was always a very attentive and caring host. Normally attached like Lance's shadow, Probie would pay plenty of attention to whoever was visiting, almost like Lance wasn't even there!
Probie wasn't, however, fond of loud noises. Once, Lance and his dad were working on a project in the backyard, hammering and sawing and drilling, making plenty of loud noises Probie wasn't real happy about. When Lance and his dad took a short break, Probie sauntered over and sat down right in the middle of the project, his way of telling dad he was done for the day!
Every night, Probie had his special spot to sleep, on the living room couch looking out the bay window, doing his "guard dog" duties. Lance would get every morning and be greeted by Probie, and if Lance didn't get up in time, Probie would sound his woofing alarm to wake him.
Probie had many things he loved, especially pig's ears, potato chips, and the extra-special occasions when he got hamburger or even steak! And while Lance took him to SuperPetz Plus on Westnedge Avenue in Portage for grooming, Probie always preferred it when Lance or his grandma would give him a bath at home and then brush his coat by hand. He loved being brushed, that's for sure.
Sadly, Probie began having some health problems, and Lance took him to his vet, Dr. Smitely at the Millwood Animal Clinic. Probie didn't trust Dr. Smitely at first, but eventually they got along just fine. He was such a smart dog, he probably knew the doctor was trying to help him.
Probie needed surgery on his hindquarters, and had to go to Chicago for the operation. Lance worried all day about his best friend, and when he picked him up from the hospital in Chicago, "I don't know who was happier, Probie or me," Lance recalled. Even though Probie had to be hurting, he was still smiling at the sight of Lance.
His life after the surgery wasn't an easy one, and he needed to use a cart to get himself around. Lance also had to expel Probie's bladder, and clean him up after he used the bathroom. Probie took to sleeping near the TV room, so he could still see Lance in the morning. And while he didn't enjoy his walks as much, he did love to lie in the grass in the backyard with Lance, just being together.
Probie and Lance were truly best friends, and taught each other so much in their years together. Lance taught Probie what it meant to have a loving home, and Probie taught Lance what unconditional love really was.
Probie would have loved for Lance to be home all the time, and was always so lonely when Lance went to work. Sadly, Probie is gone now, and Lance was lonely without his best friend by his side. But Probie's memory lives on. What started with a good first impression, made such a lifelong, unforgettable impact. Probie will be greatly missed, and never forgotten."