This week I had the best time yapping with three labs, Dylan, 9; Sadie Mae, 7; and Coco, 5. They came in an assortment of Official Lab Colors: Dylan, black; Sadie, golden; an Coco, chocolate (of course). Right from the first Wag-and-Sniff, it was a total woof, wag an slurp fest.
Dylan introduced his sisters an his Momma Laurie Beebe, an explained his daddy Andy was at work.
“So, who’s the Spokespooch?” I asked.
“ME!” said Dylan.
“ME!” said Sadie.
“ME!” said Coco.
“Let’s just play it by our ears,” I suggested. “You’re oldest, right, Dylan?
“Yup. Momma an Daddy got me when I was a pupster. We were livin’ up near St. LOO-is. It was way fun. Daddy took this cool pickshur of my whole litter, all 14 of us inna row, and it won a CONtest and got put on the cover of the Orvis CATTA-log!”
His Momma showed us the pickshur. It was Totally Cool Kibbles!
“It gets real cold up there,” Dylan continued. “We played in the snow, an I watched a lotta ‘Animal Planet’ on TV. There was one little problem, though. Whenever Momma an Daddy went out an I hadda stay home, I got Separation Anxiety: that’s when you get Really Upset an think your humans are Never Coming Back, so you start chewing stuff. Mostly everything you can reach.
“Finally, Momma an Daddy got tired of havin’ to fix stuff and replace stuff and sweep stuff off the floor. I think the time when I discovered Momma’s knitting was the Last Straw. They decided to get me my very own puppy so I wouldn’t be alone. So they got me a baby sister, Sadie, a liddle fluffball from a kennel called Siever’s Retrievers. I loved bein’ a Big Brother. I took care of her and taught her pooch stuff. An I stopped chewin’ stuff up!”
“Pawsome!” I said.
Dylan and Coco started wrestlin’, an Sadie said, “Dylan’s The Best Big Brother but, a couple years after I got here, I started thinkin’ it’d be fun to have a liddle puppy around to play with an take care of, so Momma an Daddy got me one. They saw an ad for Coco in the paper, an when we saw her in the fur, we knew she was IT!”
Dylan and Coco were pullin’ on either end of a toy bone, rolling around an play-grrrrin’.
“That is one tough toy,” I observed.
“True,” said Sadie. “Dylan’s 85 pounds; Coco’s 65; an I’m 75. We’re real strong. Momma an Daddy hafta get us special toys. They’re rated to show how much playin’ it takes to rip ’em to bits. Our yellow bone’s lasted an entire year. That’s amazin’! Hey, Dylan,” she called, “show Bonzo our yellow bone.”
Dylan trotted off an returned carrying a bone-shaped toy with a big ring on each end, well-munched but intact.
“Cool Dog Biscuits!” I said, as Coco grabbed one end, an she an Dylan continued ruff-housin’. “Whaddya do for exercise?”
“Up North we’d go on hikes, an play in the snow,” said Sadie. “When we moved here, we missed the snow a lot, ’til we saw the pool! Dylan and Coco are in it every day. Dylan even used it for THER-uppy when he had hip surgery. I myself prefer Yoga, the Downward Dog in particular.” She demonstrated.
“We also go on walks. We have our own color-coordinated collars an leashes, an we use Gentle Leaders across our noses, so we won’t pull Momma over on her caboose. We have designated positions, Dylan an Coco on the left, me on the right. Dylan HASTA be farthest left. If anyone tries to walk on his left, forgeddaboudit! We sometimes walk with our neighbors Bailey Zangre, a German Shepherd, and Lenny Zangre, a Black Lab.
“An Dylan loves the Animal Channel.” Their Mom flipped on the TV, an Dylan immediately started watching. When a buncha kittens came on, he rushed up to the screen and started barkin’ like mad. The kittens didn’t pay any attention.
“An guess what?” Sadie said. “I’m a trained Therapy Dog, took classes at Dogs For Life. I love helping humans, so every Saturday me an Momma visit people at The Brennity.”
“It’s an assisted living an memory care place, Momma says. We say hello to the residents, an I give ’em liddle nose bumps an a few slurps (real soft an polite). They talk to me an give me pats. It makes ’em happy, an it makes me happy too, cuz I can help Others. I get recertified every year.”
“Woof, Miss Sadie, that’s Really Important Work!”
“I think so, too. But it’s not like a Service Dog. I can’t go in stores an restaurants. But it’s still an Important Contribution.”
Heading home, I was thinking about Dylan an Sadie an Coco having a ball, playing an hangin’ out together. Made me think it might be pretty fun to have a puppy of my own to play with. Sharin’ MY toys. Eatin’ MY kibbles. Sleepin’ in MY fluffy bed. Getting pats an tummy rubs from MY Mom an Grandpa an Grandma.
On second thought. Nah.