Tag Archives: puppies

Things My Labrador Has Eaten

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Caught in the act!

Caught in the act

A friend of mine recently adopted a labrador, and so naturally, the conversation turned quickly from training techniques to the incredible things labradors eat.

Let me preface this by saying I do not ALLOW my dog to eat junk that could harm him–but he is lightening fast when it comes to eating, and sometimes he’s choking down something before I can bat an eyelash. He is quite literally a garbage disposal on four legs.

Obviously, I love this crazy dog, and I don’t want him to get sick or be harmed by something he eats, and I am in NO way promoting the idea that you should allow your labrador to eat everything. I’m just saying that the world is not puppy-proof, and there’s only so much I can do. He is, after all, a canine who loves eating more than life itself.

He would do ANYTHING for food. Actually, he would do ANYTHING for something he THINKS is food. It’s great for training and keeping the floor clean of crumbs, but not so good for his digestion.

So, inspired by the conversation with my friend & her new puppy….

Things My Labrador has Consumed or Utterly Destroyed through Mastication
  • Tree branches
  • Corn stalks (fresh from the field)
  • Large stones (usually spit out)
  • Butterflies, grasshoppers and other assorted insects
  • Banana peel
  • Toilet paper
  • Flowers from the garden
  • House flies (encouraged)
  • His leather leash
  • Socks, socks and more socks
  • Potted Bird of Paradise plant
  • His own fur (from the dog brush)
  • Bailey’s fur (from the dog brush)
  • His dog bed
  • The zipper on his mat–yes, JUST the zipper
  • Countless stuffed dog toys
  • Manure
  • My son’s Crocs
  • Ten-pound, foam-coated hand weights
  • Bird, rabbit and deer droppings
  • Toilet water
  • A five-pound weight (the shiny kind that goes on a barbell)
  • The contents of an entire wastepaper basket
  • The cover to my daughter’s history book
  • A foam soccer ball
  • A fly swatter
  • Monopoly Money
  • A reflective dog vest
  • A fortune cookie, gold foil wrapper and all

*Nearly eaten: my favorite ear ring, plucked directly from my ear, which I was able to retrieve from his drooly mouth before he swallowed it!

Charlie is notorious for stealing stuffed animals from the children’s beds, eating his dog food in less than 45 seconds and for hoarding anything shiny. He has even been known to carry around 2 or 3 toys in his mouth at one time.

Strangely, Charlie does not eat shoes (even my goat-leather running shoes that still smell like camels from our trip to Jordan), nor does he eat garlic (though he tasted a clove that fell on the floor).

I DO give him actual bones to chew on,  (supposedly) appropriate dog toys, and he gets frequent exercise.

He simply eats with gusto. 

He is, after all, a labrador, and his zeal for eating is part of his charm. 

 

Stopping for Directions

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Charlie 13 weeks ruler

“I think you got the pick of the litter,” the veterinary technician told me (for the second time).

“Thanks,” I said, shoving my fingers in Charlie’s mouth to remove a wad of extraneous cat fur he had found in the corner.

“His energy really suits your family.”

I bent down to grab Charlie, as he had darted under my chair, and was eagerly mining for treasure along the baseboards.

I didn’t know what to say.

The puppy is a typical puppy: hyper at times, hungry all the time, occasionally bitey, and he nearly chokes himself to death coming home from walks.

But still…I think she meant it as a compliment.

I uttered something about how we approached this puppy venture: we didn’t rush into anything; we found a good breeder; and made certain the pup’s temperament was suitable; but each of those things sounded hollow, so I found myself ending my rambling proclamation with the fuzzy phrase, “It was meant to be.”

She smiled and nodded her head, “Yes,” she agreed, “It was meant to be.”

What I didn’t describe was all the prayer that went into this. I mean, how exactly do you tell someone you bother God with requests for puppies? It just sounds weird. Isn’t God too important to worry about whether I find a docile dog?

But I did pray.

I prayed that if God wanted us to have a dog, He would illuminate our path and allow us to find a pup that would be a blessing to our family and also a joy to others.

I had very little to do with the entire process except follow the trail and eventually dish up a few euro.

There is no way I could have orchestrated all this:

  • The breeder was reputable and wasn’t too far away 
  • They currently had a litter of chocolate labs
  • They had a submissive (or “feminine”) boy
  • He would be ready to come home ON the very day of my wedding anniversary
  • His personality is perfect

This is not to say that if you pray for a Maserati or a mansion you’ll get one. God is not ebay.

But if you know God, and He knows you, then you can approach Him with any little thing in your life.

He’s not bothered by it, in fact, He welcomes it. I have a relationship with God, which means we chat. And when I need advice, I go to Him. And when I think a puppy is a good idea, I ask Him to show me if it is or not.

In this case, Charlie was meant to be part of this crazy journey of ours.

So the next time someone praises the puppy, I’m just going to tell them–it wasn’t about finding the right breeder or doing research or being selective (though those things are important)–it was about stopping to ask directions, and perhaps most importantly, following them.

Because God doesn’t merely plan the route, He created the map.

Under the Rock Pile

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Today was stressful for no one particular reason. Rather, it was a lot of little things stacking up like bricks in a wall. The last ‘brick’ was more like a pebble, placed jovially atop the rapidly crumbling structure by one of my unfortunate children, and the whole thing collapsed.

Yes, I lost my cool.

It happens from time to time. I almost didn’t blog today because I was so out of sorts, but my daughter said that I should talk about my meltdown because, “It is such a rare occurrence.”

I’m glad it’s rare.

There was a time in my life when fits of anger would build inside me, and the only way to alleviate it was through yelling, since violence wasn’t my thing. It took many years to break the yelling habit. After all, many women I respected assured me that they, too, yelled at their kids. It was ‘normal.’ But something about that never sat right with me. I knew I wanted something different. I didn’t want to pass on the yelling gene to my own kids. Or heaven forbid, to watch my theoretical grandchildren become yellers.

This morning, I didn’t exactly yell–it was more of a verbal pounce, but in our sensitive house, it was the same as full-lunged bellowing. Afterwards I felt so badly, I went to my study to ‘be alone,’ which means praying and leaving a little puddle of tears on the floor.

Normally, I handle stress through running (which is also my time of prayer and contemplation) and proper nutrition. But lately I’ve been lacking both sunshine and sufficient exercise. And let’s face it–it’s hard, if not downright impossible to feel happy eating salad when it’s cold and dark outside! I’d rather cozy up with some gluten-free croissants drizzled with Nutella.

It is hard for me when there is no sunshine, and the puppy, cute as he is, pees on the brand-new rug after I’ve been outside with him for an hour.

I know there are worse things in life, and that the puppy IS a little glimpse of heaven; but even small doses of stress are toxic, and if you let stress build up, it can lead to a meltdown of nuclear proportions.

After “Mommy’s Time-Out” today, I emerged from my study to find a pink card on my pillow, a loving email from a concerned teen, and a pint of my favorite ice cream, wrapped up with a bow, sitting right outside my door. Sure, one of my kids was completely oblivious to the whole thing, but that’s okay too. My kids are so loving and so forgiving that I think they came through it unscathed.

In fact, it might be good for them to see me fail once in a while and for them to see me make amends when I’m wrong.

Sometimes we stumble.

The key is to get up and look ahead.

Because you can’t see clearly from under the rock pile.

Sweet Chocolate

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Charlie

Ever since I fell in love with my friend’s chocolate labrador, Bailey, I’ve been pondering the idea of getting a running partner of my own. But I was too busy with winter training to even think about adding to our family. So when we decided to NOT do the Jerusalem marathon, I began to drown my marathon sorrows by puppy shopping.

I emailed a breeder and waited. Later, I would find out that she deletes a lot of emails, and because of my “weird” German (learned mostly in University), mine almost hit the trash bin. But then her husband suggested that perhaps I wasn’t from Germany at all. She ended up responding to my email, and I gave her a call.

The breeder said she didn’t have any females available, but she had one boy who was smaller than the others and rather “feminine.” Then she sent pictures of him wearing a pink collar. Apparently, he is confident enough in his manhood to wear the color we Americans traditionally associate with preschool Princesses.

We didn’t really care if we had a boy or a girl: the most important things were that the dog have a good temperament and that the breeder was honest and genuinely caring about the animals. We found that at Mustang Valley.

At our first meeting, the pup was mellow, friendly, curious and playful. He would roll on his back and let you rub his belly (something our Havanese NEVER allowed). And he tipped the scales by frolicking around with the family’s Chihuahua.

We knew it was “meant to be” when we realized we could pick up the puppy on the very day of our 19th wedding anniversary.

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The Best Anniversary Present Ever

Even though I was enamored with “Charlie” at first, I knew for certain he was ours while driving home from the breeder. He sat on my lap, whimpered a little, whereupon I gently shook him by the neck, and then fell asleep. Not only did he snooze in my lap while we drove 120 kmph down the autobahn, but he rolled onto his back, nearly upside down, and drooled. Perfect!

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Puppies sleep 18 hours a day–but rarely at night.

Charlie devours his food just like Bailey–with all the gusto of a participant in a hot dog eating contest, and he follows us around the house. He likes to pounce and play, and when he is tired, he flops down on the big dog pillow in the living room. He does not understand why Pepin won’t play with him, but hopefully our spoiled Havanese will relax in time.

And now the real marathon begins. Our first night, Charlie was awake every two hours like clockwork. I would take him out to do his business and then he would settle back down in his crate, as long as he knew I was there. Last night went better. He slept for three hours straight, and I felt refreshed. He’s not had an accident in the house so far, and usually if he has to ‘go’ he will go up to the glass door and whimper. Brilliant!

I have dreams of obedience training and running through the countryside with him, but those dreams are locked in a sort of sleep-deprived haze at the moment. But puppyhood doesn’t last long, and I know that I will look back fondly at these early days.

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My blessings

Charlie is sweet, funny and brings great joy to the house. I want to train him well, so that he can fully enjoy life and also be a blessing to others.

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Charlie isn’t offended by pink toys

Having Charlie here (and discovering a show called “the Dog Whisperer,” which I didn’t know existed), has taught our family about the importance of obedience. A dog who obeys his master will be able to go places and enjoy things that his undisciplined peers can not.

This lesson in joy through obedience is a striking one. Am I like the dog chained up in a courtyard, yapping at every leaf that blows by? or am I hopping eagerly into the car with a smile, trusting that wherever my master leads, it’s going to be good?

Oh, the things we can learn from the animals!

It will be a long time before Charlie can run with me. We both have a lot of work to do in the coming year. But I am sure we both will learn a lot from each other.

I hope this post is coherent. If there are mistakes, I hope you will forgive me–I’ve been intoxicated by puppy breath.