2/19/2012

Lab Tales

Labradors have to be about the goofiest dogs out there. The AKC breed description says a Lab should be "a strongly built, shortly coupled, very active dog. The hallmark of the breed is the "otter tail." The ideal disposition is one of a kindly, outgoing, tractable nature; eager to please and non-aggressive towards man or animal." No wonder they're America's favorite dog and have been for many years. They're personable, eat just about anything, and have low maintenance coats. However, their tails are dangerous.  They also have a tendency to steal food and hearts.

Labs have been in our home for over 20 years. We've had mostly black Labs and one yellow. Our first was a rescue dog we named Sophie. She was an all around family dog. Our girls could do just about anything with her and Sophie was also an outstanding hunter. From woodchucks to muskrats, the  remains of sundry unfortunate critters showed up on our lawn on a regular basis. She faithfully waited under the big maple in the driveway for the bus to arrive every afternoon to greet the girls. Sophie stuck next to the girls when they were home sick from school. Polite and faithful companion, she was the epitome of the family dog.

Buck, our yellow Lab was a gift from a breeder who needed a good home for a retired stud dog.  He was already obedience trained and knew his way around the show ring.  He racked up a lot of ribbons with our daughter Emily at the other end of the leash in 4-H shows and even made it to the state fair. It was hard to rattle Buck, except when there was a thunderstorm. That's when he went berserk. He broke a collar, a crate latch, spread a bag of flour through the pantry, and performed other acts of destruction during storms.

Buck and I earned credentials as certified therapy dog and handler when he was about six. We spent many happy hours visiting an assisted living facility, working in classrooms, and other settings. He  soaked up the attention and did a few endearing tricks. The height of his career was at age 10 when he played Sandy in the Letchworth production of "Annie." He was actually disappointed when the three days of performances finished. He sat by the kitchen door ready to go for a couple nights after it was over. He retired to Arizona with us and was almost 14 when...well, you know.

Clancy, our current Lab is full of personality and quirks. He's a desert dog and doesn't care for rain. He'll swim in the river, but he can take or leave water. He'd rather dig a hole and get cool that way in hot weather. When he wants to go for a walk, he pulls at David's jacket that's hanging on a chair. He sometimes pulls the chair over in his enthusiasm. He carries random shoes around the house to get you to chase him. He doesn't chew them, but he knows that they're forbidden objects, thus fair game.

Clancy's other attention getting ploy is to back up while you're trying to get him to go forward. Very strange. He'll place a demanding paw on your arm to get you off the couch to get him a new rawhide bone. He's a half-hearted rabbit chaser, hates roadrunners, and the only things he's ever caught are flies and bees. He takes the mouth stinging in stride and goes after the next one. He's well camouflaged for illegal activity in the dark, so he sneaks into rooms at night to sleep in chairs and beds.  His tail has taken out cups, flower arrangements, and anything else left on a coffee table. He can tell time and lets David know when it's 9:00pm which is when he prefers his last walk of the evening.

If you have dogs, I'm sure you can tell similar stories. Our canine companions--wet noses, wagging tails, unconditional love, and entertaining antics. Well, it's 9:00pm and guess what Clancy wants?

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Positively encouraging

2/19/2012

Lab Tales

Labradors have to be about the goofiest dogs out there. The AKC breed description says a Lab should be "a strongly built, shortly coupled, very active dog. The hallmark of the breed is the "otter tail." The ideal disposition is one of a kindly, outgoing, tractable nature; eager to please and non-aggressive towards man or animal." No wonder they're America's favorite dog and have been for many years. They're personable, eat just about anything, and have low maintenance coats. However, their tails are dangerous.  They also have a tendency to steal food and hearts.

Labs have been in our home for over 20 years. We've had mostly black Labs and one yellow. Our first was a rescue dog we named Sophie. She was an all around family dog. Our girls could do just about anything with her and Sophie was also an outstanding hunter. From woodchucks to muskrats, the  remains of sundry unfortunate critters showed up on our lawn on a regular basis. She faithfully waited under the big maple in the driveway for the bus to arrive every afternoon to greet the girls. Sophie stuck next to the girls when they were home sick from school. Polite and faithful companion, she was the epitome of the family dog.

Buck, our yellow Lab was a gift from a breeder who needed a good home for a retired stud dog.  He was already obedience trained and knew his way around the show ring.  He racked up a lot of ribbons with our daughter Emily at the other end of the leash in 4-H shows and even made it to the state fair. It was hard to rattle Buck, except when there was a thunderstorm. That's when he went berserk. He broke a collar, a crate latch, spread a bag of flour through the pantry, and performed other acts of destruction during storms.

Buck and I earned credentials as certified therapy dog and handler when he was about six. We spent many happy hours visiting an assisted living facility, working in classrooms, and other settings. He  soaked up the attention and did a few endearing tricks. The height of his career was at age 10 when he played Sandy in the Letchworth production of "Annie." He was actually disappointed when the three days of performances finished. He sat by the kitchen door ready to go for a couple nights after it was over. He retired to Arizona with us and was almost 14 when...well, you know.

Clancy, our current Lab is full of personality and quirks. He's a desert dog and doesn't care for rain. He'll swim in the river, but he can take or leave water. He'd rather dig a hole and get cool that way in hot weather. When he wants to go for a walk, he pulls at David's jacket that's hanging on a chair. He sometimes pulls the chair over in his enthusiasm. He carries random shoes around the house to get you to chase him. He doesn't chew them, but he knows that they're forbidden objects, thus fair game.

Clancy's other attention getting ploy is to back up while you're trying to get him to go forward. Very strange. He'll place a demanding paw on your arm to get you off the couch to get him a new rawhide bone. He's a half-hearted rabbit chaser, hates roadrunners, and the only things he's ever caught are flies and bees. He takes the mouth stinging in stride and goes after the next one. He's well camouflaged for illegal activity in the dark, so he sneaks into rooms at night to sleep in chairs and beds.  His tail has taken out cups, flower arrangements, and anything else left on a coffee table. He can tell time and lets David know when it's 9:00pm which is when he prefers his last walk of the evening.

If you have dogs, I'm sure you can tell similar stories. Our canine companions--wet noses, wagging tails, unconditional love, and entertaining antics. Well, it's 9:00pm and guess what Clancy wants?

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