This week I interviewed Jennifer Groepler, a chocolate Lab who loves water about as much as any pooch I’ve ever met. She was super waggy when her Mom answered the door.
“You must be Miss Jennifer,” I said. “It’s a pleasure.”
“I’m happy to meet you, Mr. Bonzo. An you can call me Jenny. This is my Mom, Mickey. Come’on back and I’ll innerduce you to my brother, Mark. He’s my Best Friend In The World. My dad Bill’s restin’ on the porch.”
When we were all sittin’, I asked Jenny how she found her Forever Family.
“Well, my Mom an Dad an Mark were dog shopping. They’d had a buncha Labs before me cuz they say Labs have the Best Dispositions. It’s TRUE, I’m sure you’ve noticed.”
I nodded. All the Labs I’ve met so far are frenly an happy, with lots of energy.
“Plus,” Jenny continued, “they’d had all the other color Labs ’cept chocolate. I was about a year an a half old, residing at that pawsome shelter in Sebastian, when they stopped in. I’ve never been too interested in other pooches (no offense)m but I’m a fan of humans. We all hit it off right away, so we adopted each other. My shelter name was Maya, but Mom an Dad an Mark changed it to Jennifer cuz that was the name of their FAV-rit other Lab, which was fine with me.
“Anyway, Mark’s a surfer: If he was a pooch, I’m pretty sure he’d be a Lab. So he’s all excited to have a pal to play with in the pool. But I had this one teeny little secret. I’d never been in the water. Ever. And I wasn’t interested in starting, either.”
“But you’re a LABrador ReTREEVer. That’s kinda your thing,” I blurted.
“Yeah, I’d heard that rumor, but I hadn’t had so much as a toenail in water my whole life, ’cept my water bowl. And the occasional bath. The first day in my new home, Mark introduced me to the pool. I was Very Nervous. I didn’t get too close in case it wanted to grab me. Mark jumped in and said, ‘Come on, come on, come on, Jenny.’ But I didn’t wanna.
“Next day he tried again. But I still didn’t wanna. So he picked me up (carefully) and just plopped me into the pool. WELL, for a second, I was all ‘Aagghhhhhhhhhhh!’ But then I ree-lized my legs were kickin’ like mad, my tail was swishin,’ my nose was out of the water, an I was MOOVIN! Then I REE-lized … I can SWIM! An that was it! Now I love it better than anything, ’cept maybe a nice bone. I’m in the pool every day! Mark says I’m half otter. I can do a lotta cool stuff, too! Wanna see?”
”I’d love to!”
We went out to the pool an sat under one of those big umbrellas. Mark got a cool lookin’ frisbee that wasn’t made outta plastic. It was cloth.
“Watch THIS!” Jenny said. She stood right at the edge of the pool, didn’t move a muscle, just watched Mark real close. He counted, one, two, three, four, FIVE! and threw the frisbee. Soon as FIVE! was outta his mouth, before he even threw, Jenny was in the air, and grabbed that frisbee before she or it hit the water!
“Woof!” I exclaimed. “That was PAWsome!” She did it a couple more times. Mark counted to different numbers and Jenny always knew when to jump. Then, she’d paddle to the stairs, slosh over to Mark, drop the frisbee, then take her position by the pool again.
“How do ya know when he’s gonna throw it?” I asked. “Do you know how to count?”
Jenny laughed. “Everybody thinks I can. But,” she whispered, “it’s really a silent mouth signal. We can do it without sayin’ ANYthing. Watch!”
She stood by the pool like a statue, nothing movin’ but her tail, real slow, staring at Mark. Then, her tail stopped, an Boom! The Frisbee an Jenny were in the air. Pow! She nailed it.
Then, with Jenny in the pool, Mark stood at the edge with a big piece of rope. She grabbed it an hung in while he did a buncha Pooch-Ups. Next, he jumped in an said, ‘Bunny Rabbit.’ Jenny stood up on her back legs, put her front paws up by her chin, lifted her head way out of the water, and hopped like a bunny. It was hiLARious! Then she got out of the pool and did The Big Shake. Me an my assistant enjoyed a refreshing shower.
“Cool Kibbles, right? Mark says I have a very strong Muppy.”
“That’s our word for ‘mouth.’ We go through a lotta frisbees. I save ’em, like trophies.” She pointed a paw toward the side of the house where 10 or 12 deceased frisbees hung onna string, like a buncha of fish.
“Do you like the ocean?” I inquired.
“Totally! I LOVE runnin’ on our Secret Beach. I race out and leap over that white foamy water, and SPLASH!, right into the waves! One time when me an Mark were playin’ frisbee, I noticed this liddle girl, looked like 2 or 3 in People Years. Her family was there, playin’ around, an she was just standin’ an lookin’ at the water. So I trotted over politely, with my frisbee, an plopped it down right in front of her to see if she wanted to play catch. She DID! She’d throw it, not real far, an I’d bring it back. Then she gave me a big hug! We found out later she was deaf.”
“Awww, that’s so sweet! So, when do you just chill-lax?”
“I have my own chaise in front of the TV. We all watch together every evening. I’m a lucky girl.”
Heading home, I was thinking about Jenny flyin’ through the air with her frisbee. And thinking maybe I’d take a little dip in the pool myself later.
Till next time,