It started some 15 years ago, and it never got better. Quite the opposite. I started with one, and I should say that he was not even mine. I dated his owner, and looking back, I realized that I would have dumped the owner fast if it had not been for his black lab. That’s how my addiction started….. with Jet.
Jet was the one who was always challenging me, half a smile on his face. If we were walking in a field, Jet was walking by me, smelling grass, peeing on every piece of it. The field had a small hill, and playfully – and the darn dog got me so many times! – started running back and forth from the top of the hill to me. Then, at one point, he was going a bit more, and a bit more, until he was not coming back. The first time, I freaked out, running berserk, calling his name, running to my car, exploring all the neighborhood streets, afraid of seeing him lying in the middle of the street. No Jet. Driving back to the field and here was Jet, sitting on his butt on the sidewalk at the place where I always park me car. He was like “hey woman, why are you so disheveled? I just needed some “me time”. Where do you think I was going? Come on woman, let’s go home!”
This is exactly where my addiction started. I cannot resist a wicked sense of humor, and gosh, labs get that. As a matter of fact, I think they are the only breed with a sense humor. No offense to others, mutts or not. I used to have a Shepherd, and she would have died for me, but she was a serious dog. You were not joking around with her. My Golden retriever was the sweetest thing on earth, but he was too needy to ever have a sense of humor, and I am not talking about my little terrier who is too busy being a big dog to ever consider that sometimes you can laugh at yourself!
When Jet died the world collapsed around me. Seriously. You see in magazines: “how to lose 10lbs in a week”? When you lose a dog, you can be assured that you are losing more than that in a week! A few days after Jet crossed the bridge, I went to the shelter, just to see, because you see the world was not the world anymore without a black nose to kiss, chocolate eyes staring at your eyes, and that lab happy tail syndrome. Here too, Jet had left his markings: no matter the color of his bandage at the tip of his tail, he always managed to take it off, and weeks after he was gone, there was still blood on the pantry from his happy tail syndrome.
This is how I met Zeus, a 3 year old black lab, who at that young age had already 3 owners. Zeus is my love story, the shadow of my shadow, the only dog who came back twice after his passing to let me know he was still around, and I am not kidding. Read my other blog for that one. Zeus did not make me forget Jet. As a matter of fact again, whenever I move, Jet is the first one in the new house. He has a trunk where all his belongings and ashes are but Zeus gave me back my life you know the black nose, the mischievous eyes and the tail which knocked down anything around.
Up to the end of his life, Zeus loved to make jokes. Some were really good, but some, sorry to break you the news Zeus wherever you are, but some were really, really not funny. But hey, you had your fun with them and with me. The last joke he played on us, I bet he is still laughing about it and telling all his buddies by the rainbow how he got me and Jessica, my daughter. We had a small pond with no fish but some frogs and stuff hanging out there in the front of the house. We were always putting Zeus in the front to do his business because he had so much arthritis that it was just easier. That evening, Jessica put him outside, and closed the door. It was not like he was going anywhere with his big lipomas hanging from his hind leg and his arthritis. A minute later, she opened the door for him: no Zeus. It was already dark, and she panicked: calling him, again, and again. Calling me: I was still at work. I suggested a flash light to go around the house. He could not have gone far. At that point, he did not even enjoy a walk. She called me a few minutes later, out of breath, and totally furious: Zeus went to the pond. Please, do not ask me how he did it. It was kind a treacherous thing to do, and he was there, silent. She said she found him, and he smiled. You know what? I believe it: Zeus had smelled a dead chipmunk in the pond, and went for it, but he miscalculated and since it was a narrow pond, the chipmunk was by his butt, and he could not turn around, so he was, I guess, waiting for a miracle, like the little chipmunk would swim around Zeus just to be able to get to his mouth. Jessica got him inside, he was smelly and not that sorry, but went home with her. The next morning, the first thing he did was to go check out the pond for the chipmunk. That day, I was the one with the wicked smile on my face: “Buddy, that freaking chipmunk is long gone!” I give him that: He did not say a word and we just avoided talking about chipmunks after this episode.
My addiction started during the Zeus era: what would be life if instead of having one lab, I had, let’s say two or three? This is how Lola, a yellow lab, and Maia, a black lab, came home. What is there not to like when you wake up in the morning and have an arrangement of black and yellow faces looking at you with love, and growling stomachs. Labs have a clock in their stomach. There is no lazy morning when you have a lab. “Hey, Mom, the day can’t start without us. Are you ready? Are you ready? Get up Mommmmm!”
From three labs, I went to 8 when Lola’s pups were born. 8 was a great number, and I still miss that number, but Zeus passed and the number 7 was not as good, but still there was some potential with 7. I never expected to reach 6 that fast. 6 almost destroyed me.