This week I got to yap with two Super Cool Kibbles Labradors, George Ludwig an Trigger McGarry, who had great Tails to Tell. They’re both officially Yellow Labs, but George is ackshully white. They’re not litter brothers but they act like it. (George is 9 People Years an Trigger’s 8.)
After the Wags-an-Sniffs, when we got all settled down, George an Trigger innerduced their Mom an Dad, Jim Ludwig an Kathy McGarry.
“It’s a real pleasure,” I said, opening my notebook. “Let’s start with you, Trigger.”
“OK! I’m ready! Well, when Mom’s son Michael was 13 he got di-uh-BEE-dees, so Mom did a buncha research an found out Labradors are good at helpin’ people with di-uh-BEE-dees, cuz they can be trained to be Di-uh-BED-ic Alert Dogs. See, every human has Special Smells, an the pooches learn to use their super sniffers to tell if their human needs medicine. So Mom went to Wild Rose Kennels in Mississippi where they train puppies to be Di-uh-BED-ic Alert Dogs. An she picked ME. I was just 8 weeks old, an me an Mom started the training with about 14 other puppies.”
“Woof! So, how’d that go?”
“Ackshully, Bonz, it kinda didn’t. I guess I just wasn’t up for it. I sorta flunked out. But, thank Lassie, they decided to keep me anyway, an me an Michael got to be Best Buddies, even though I wasn’t sniffer trained. I was even gonna go to college with him but they had some silly ol’ rools, so I stayed with Mom an Dad.”
“How about you, George? What’s your story?” I inquired.
“I’m a New Yorker, but My pooch Mom and Dad were from Northern Ireland. They were hunt and field trained. Big deal stuff.”
“Cool Dog Biscuits,” I commented.
“But let me tell you about the time I spent in prison.”
I didn’t know what to say. I just sat there like a doof.
“When I was a young fluffball,” George continued, “I went through a program called Puppies Behind Bars.”
“Sounds sorta scary. Did you chew one too many shoes?”
George laughed. “No. It’s ackshully a pretty Cool Kibbles program. See, Puppies Behind Bars teachers human prizzners to raise service pooches for wounded war veterans or to be explosive detection canines for law enforcement. We learn important stuff, an also help the prizzners learn how to Con-TRIB-ute to suh-SIGH-ity an to have HOPE an PRIDE. I was just 8 weeks old when I went to prison. I lived with my assigned prizzner for about 2 years. When I came out, I was a Government Certified Explosive Detection Canine.”
“I Woof you not. Then I got assigned to a team that was going to Afghanistan, so I’m getting ready to ship over there, tryin’ to get my affairs in order, ya know.”
“But, as it happened, there was this NYPD cop, a retired canine handler, lookin’ for a pooch partner cuz his other pooch partner, Guinness, was Very Sick. An guess what? It turned out to be DAD! So he got me, an I got a reprieve. Me an Dad were partners. We worked in Lower Manhattan, in the financial district, for a private security company, MSA. It was All Business, too. Dad an me an my Sniffer checked bags and trucks an stuff for explosives. Real Important Work. Lotsa stress. An we hadda get certified every 2 people years. I wasn’t considered a pet back then. No fluffy wuffy, slurpy stuff. But I am now! Except for the laundry basket. Whenever I see it, I go back to my explosive detection days an attack it. I just don’t trust that laundry basket: Ya never know what’s lurking under all those socks an stuff.”
“I hear ya. So how’d you guys get together?”
“Mom an Dad met in New York,” said Trigger. “Ackshully, I met Guinness first. Then, when he went to Dog Heaven, Mom an Dad introduced me an George. WE met outdoors. Checked each other out. We got our food side-by-side that day, too. An stayed in our crates, with the doors open, at first. Then, like Dad says, we started to ‘pack up,’ cuz of our dog in-stinks. We’re both Alphas, but I’m ackshully the leader.”
“I humor him,” said George, with a big Labrador grin. “So, we were livin’ in upstate New York with six acres to play in. It was like our own park. Then, last January, Mom and Dad decided to move down here. We didn’t wanna. Dad made us harnesses so we’d be all secure in the car. We were Very Good Travelers. Made lotsa potty stops, an gave Dad Helpful Directions. It took two days. Now we love it here! ’Specially the beach! An the POOL! I’m not into toys, ’cept for my floaty pineapple.”
“I love toys! I have a buncha balls in all colors,” Trigger interjected. “An we both enjoy walks. I am Very Good Off Leash. I know how to ‘come’ an ‘heel.’ George, not so much. We have our names and phone number on our collars so the neighbors can call Mom an Dad when George goes zooming off.”
“Yeah, well, all the neighbors like me. An anyway, you’re a Momma’s Boy,” George retorted. “I hear the Call of the Wild an I hafta answer. After all, once you’ve spent time in prison, you always wanna be FREE.”
“Makes sense,” I commented. “So what’s your dinner and bedtime routine?”
“We have matching beds by the back door. And we eat regular ol’ kibbles plus, sometimes, Overwoofs, like chicken soup an pasta and egg sanwiches,” said Trigger.
“You know. Any extra food your humans didn’t eat.”
Heading home, I was thinking how exciting George’s career as an Explosive Detection Canine seemed. An how glad I was not to have a job like that. An how my chances looked for scoring some Overwoofs at dinner tonight.
Till next time,