A Dogs Life-#3

A Dogs Life #1    A Dogs Life #2

So this is a hard one (sorry Patty). As dog #2 was winding down some friends of mine had a litter of labs. Labs come in three colors, black, chocolate and yellow. Dog # 2 was supposed to be a “yellow” but really he was brunt red, a very handsome boy.

So as dog #2 was slowing down I thought I would get a new puppy and maybe dog #2 could teach it the ropes before he passed away, i.e. keep the new lab from chewing my house down. My friends had two puppies not spoken for both black, a male and a female. I had never owned a female dog and I thought, since I had an old male he would react better to a female and wouldn’t be so territorial. Also, I assumed a female wouldn’t battle his dominance as king of the backyard, but having grown-up in a female dominated household I’m not sure why I thought this. Immediately dog #3 exercised her dominance as the ruling monarch. Keep in mind, this was a freaking 20 pound puppy going up against a grizzled 100 pound veteran. I felt bad and embarrassed for him day one.

The pecking order was established immediately. She ate first and if dog #2 attempted to eat she gave him a ferocious puppy growl. If he was in cow trough cooling off in the water she would jump on top of him forcing him to either slide over or get out. Typically he just got out and watched her splash around with shame. Basically the poor guy was hen-pecked, but I knew that he loved having her company and I know she loved him, in fact she worshiped the ground he walked on. I didn’t keep him in a kennel and I bought one for her just to give him a break from all her “love and affection” at night.

As she grew I realized there was something very special about this dog. She never barked, which for me was a new sensation given that dogs #1 and #2 were barkers. The second thing was that she was smart, sneaky smart which you discover is the worst kind of smart. I would find random stuff in my yard like screwdrivers, hammers, a hatchet, shoes, really odd stuff. This went on for weeks. Then one day I was home for lunch and looked out the window to check on my flock and only saw dog #2. I walked outside and called dog #3 and her head popped up over a six-foot high fence on my neighbor’s side. She was climbing on top of our wood pile, over the fence to my neighbor’s wood pile, stealing his stuff and bring it back to our yard. In a word, I was amazed, I couldn’t believe this creature had figured all this out. I was forced to reduce the wood pile and add three feet to the top of the fence but even doing this didn’t stop her from trying to figure out a new route.

What I didn’t tell you about the death of dog #2 was that dog # 3 was cuddled up next to him. She refused to leave his side and I had to put her in the kennel so I could remove his body. For two weeks I would let her out of her kennel, she would pee and drink some water then go back in. She took his passing very hard, grieving with us in her own way.

Dog #3 was two and half years old when dog #2 died. If you remember from the dog #2 story three years old is the magic number with a lab. If you can survive it with all your fingers and toes everything else is downhill. She was settling down, getting close to not chewing up everything in sight but she still had her moments. She was a very calm dog, scary calm at times like she was planning something diabolical, a bank robbery, or a prison yard break we just never knew with her. She had one emotion, stoic, never to high never too low. I called her my Buddha dog, truly she followed the middle path.

Around the first of November she started losing weight. Unlike dog #2 she was not a big lab, short and compact topping out at around 60 pounds, when she lost ten pounds you knew it. Repeated trips to the vet brought us no answers or explanations about what was happening with her. By thanksgiving she weighed 40 pounds and the vet recommended an MRI. What the MRI uncovered was that she had eaten something, some sort of fabric that had twisted up in her intestines. There was nothing we could do for her. One week, before her third birthday we put her to sleep. This one hurt, it still hurts. Seven years later, I haven’t reconciled this loss except for one thing, I will never own another Labrador retriever because I have had the best two anyone could ever love.

 

 

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About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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9 Responses to A Dogs Life-#3

  1. Thank you for sharing this..I found the quote I wanted (I’d put the book in a box) it’s by Pam Brown, and although she’s talking about her cat, I think it applies to dogs too: “I lack all certainty yet still I hope that at the edge of death I’ll see a small cat racing from the dark to welcome me.” It comforted me a bit, I hope you like it. Thank you ..

    Liked by 1 person

    • Love it! Reminds me of a funny moment. Dog #3 was jet black, and one night she escaped from the backyard. I was freaking out, got a flash light and started looking for her. I found her at the end of the driveway, just sitting. I called her in my stern daddy voice and she looked at me in disgust, chill is what she was thinking, chill dad. She was an original. Thanks for reading and sharing this wonderful quote.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry for your losses, I had a black lab as my first dog and currently have a yellow lab mix. I just wanted to share a lab story from another black lab I used to walk. Her owners told me when she was a puppy they used to keep fruit and such on their table as a centerpiece and things kept going missing over night. One night she heard something so quietly crept to the door and saw her little puppy oh so sneakily jump from the floor to the chair to the table top and then slink silently to the food in the middle. That’s when she made her presence known and the dog was so shocked (she thought she was so good at sneaking). I love those kinds of dog stories, thank you for sharing yours.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Patty says:

    I understand how this was/is the hard one. Since our oldest dog is starting to get his ‘old-man-issues’, I shudder for the day he will have to go and sleep for ever’. Our Queen of the house (just over a year old now) reminds me of your dog3. I was already thinking of getting a new friend this summer, so when our dog1 time is up, she has another friend right there. The only thing I’m still hesitating, it could be too much for number 1 and accelerate his aging.
    I just love your comparison ‘Buddha-dog’. Our number 2 dog was just like that 🙂
    Thank you for taking the courage to share this story.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: A Dogs Life-#4 | Ends and Beginnings

  5. I know I have ‘liked’ all ‘A Dogs Life’ #1,#2,#3, and 4. I liked them for the love I read in the lines, not for the loss that you experienced. These stories broke my heart with the packed emotion that contained in them all. Fur babies are special in how they impact and improve our lives making the richness of life so much deeper. I think it is because they teach us unconditional love. They love us at our best as much as they do at our worst and no question, they expect the same back in return! (Not that we’re given the choice!)
    And we never stop mourning their losses when they move on. hugs* for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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