I can’t imagine having a home without a dog. In my mind, a home isn’t a home UNTIL you have a dog. I have a long history with those four-legged loves. When I was a toddler, we had a beagle named Kappy. Next, a Border Collie named Skeeter. Skeeter had wanderlust. He was a chicken gatherer, a sometimes runaway, and a shrewd judge of character. He hated the mailman; ever day he’d chase him or bark through the window – like clockwork. Neighbors would frequently tell us they saw Skeeter sauntering down Cabot Street, downtown Beverly, and someone would have to go round him up. He probably had lady friends all over the city. At least that was my theory of why Skeeter wandered. Or, maybe he was looking for the chickens of his youth? I was heartbroken when he died. Our next family dog was a chocolate Labrador Retriever named Bosco. He sired gorgeous black and chocolate litters, was goofy, loyal, and my parent’s companion. Bosco loved their vacation home in Maine. He could smell the familiar pine trees before the car turned onto the road to Limerick. Once there, Bosco explored every tree limb and pile of leaves (just in case something changed in a week), and swam in the lake. Bosco was such a part of our family that he had a full spot in my wedding photos, complete with a custom flower collar.
“For me a house or an apartment becomes a home when you add one set of four legs, a happy tail, and that indescribable measure of love we call a dog.” ~ Roger Caras
A well-bred Labrador Retriever is the perfect family dog. I longed for a big, stocky, kid-loving, yellow one. Holding fast to my doggie dreams, I bought books about Labradors, calendars of Labradors, and composed a list of possible names. We couldn’t have a dog in the apartment we were living in, but when we bought a home five years later, I knew it was DOG TIME! There was no time to waste. The time was right. So, after research into AKC registered breeders, some phone calls and inquiries into litter availability, I found Ocean Spray Labradors. I buckled my young daughters into the Volvo and headed to Mansfield to check them out. Paul and Sandy MacLean had so many Labs in their modest split-entry home. I couldn’t believe it. Lab heaven. One was sitting on Paul’s lap while we chatted (interviewed each other) about what I was looking for in a family dog. I wanted what I was seeing: a giant yellow Lab on my lap. Kelsey, Kate, and I were introduced to Ocean Spray Sandy, the bitch that was due to whelp in a few weeks and CH Ocean Spray Gunner, the sire. Gunner’s pedigree was impressive (as was his temperament and conformation). His sire is the late CH Graemor Tim, the 1995 Westminster Dog Show Labrador. Sold. Deposit paid. We visited 5 weeks later to choose a male with the breeders, and another four weeks later we visited to pick him up and take him home. Bailey was gentle, patient, loving, sort of lazy, and a gorgeous Labrador. Had I continued showing him, he would have easily been a Champion. Have you ever seen Best In Show? It’s pretty accurate.
At one point we had three Ocean Spray Labradors: Bailey, Ginger, and Sage. It was, as one friend described it when upon entering my home, “chaos.”
Chaos is good.
Want to know why the Labrador Retriever has been #1 dog for twenty-two years in a row? Click on the link below. It’s very touching. Get a tissue.
Viral video: Dog Sees Her Owner For The First Time In 6 Months.