For the past 23 years, our farm dogs have been Labrador Retrievers. First was Spike, a black lab, who was such a hit with our Christmas tree customers that many said they actually came back year after year to visit Spike and the Christmas tree was a bonus. After Spike, Buddy, our chocolate lab, came into our life. In his early years he was everyone’s dog, riding in the trucks, supervising the work in the shop, lounging on the apron of the shop at the first hint of spring, and nudging hands onto his head for ear rubs. As he got older he preferred the shade of the porch or, even better, the air conditioning vent in the summer. After 13 ½ years, we had to say goodbye to him. A year later, we were missing that special companionship that a dog provides. Our life changed when we brought home a squirmy little puppy in December.
Nellie when she first came home….she’s much larger now!
Little Nellie is beautiful bundle of energy. She is a yellow lab, a visual reminder that she will have her own distinctive personality, separate from Spike and Buddy. It has been over 14 years since we last dealt with a puppy. We are once again surprised at her razor sharp baby teeth, her curious nature, and the amount of time and energy it takes to raise a puppy. Nellie has been with us for a little over two months now. At this point, her favorite activity is counter surfing. Sometimes I wonder if she is asking, “What is this word ‘off’ and why do you like it so much?” In many ways, she is much like an overtired, obstinate two year old with a huge reserve of persistence. We work to keep her occupied with training, chew toys, and frequent naps.
Despite the change in our carefree lifestyle, Nellie has wormed her way into our hearts. When she’s tired, her favorite place to sleep is with her head on our feet. We’re not sure if this is a lab thing, or if she is channeling Buddy. We like to think he is giving her tips on how to be the perfect puppy for his ‘people.’ I just wish he’d tell her to stop chewing my slippers, and jumping up!