Monday, November 14, 2011

How It Began

My husband encouraged me to start a 'Dog Blog' but I hope that this will branch out to more than just dogs. It just happens that they are the animal that I know the most about which isn't saying a whole lot. It's hard to say when I first realized that I have a sort of obsession with animals but I think it would be safe to say it started with my first pet dog, Tess. She was our family black labrador retriever and I was no more than 3 or 4 when we got her, possibly younger. My dad was an avid bird hunter since his youth and finally got a hunting lab all his own, which he trained to exactly what he wanted. Tess was an amazing hunting dog from what he told me but of course I don't really know that side of the story since I was too young to understand. What I do know is that this dog would do anything for my dad as if he was the most powerful being in the world. But for me, I just loved the fact that I could fall asleep on her tummy, hug her, pet her, and play with her as much as I wanted. That is my first recollection of a dog and it was what cemented me in my love for animals. Unfortunately she died of cancer at a very young age of 5 which devestated me but she was buried at my Grandparents lake place where she spent a lot of time just swimming in the water without anything to fetch. She just really loved to swim.
Shortly after that we got a second black lab and she was named Tess 2. Since I was older and she lived to be around 12 years old I know a lot more about this pup. She was not the stellar hunter that the first Tess had been but she was sweet and unique in her own way. She was more my mom's dog than my dad's as the years started to go by but she still looked at my dad as if he owned the universe. She was a goofy dog and she often got called silly names such as 'bonehead' but we all loved her. I remember my dad telling me the first pheasant she ever caught she actually did it by sitting on it's head. Apparently she wasn't a fan of the feathers in her mouth. This dog and I believe Tess 1 also had several typical labrador behavors which if you have ever owned a lab you will know what I'm talking about. First of all they were both garbage guts. They would snag steaks off the counter, steal bagels from the grocery bag, dig through the trash, and occassionaly swallow a razor blade. Tess 1 actually chewed the corner of a beautiful hand made wood coffee table that my uncle gave to us and Tess 2 shredded the bark off of our mountain ashberry tree when my dad put her on a long lead to enjoy the backyard while they worked. I also can't tell you how many times the carrots in our garden got ransacked (usually thanks to my mom giving them carrots while she made our school lunches in the morning). I once remember my dad finding Tess 2 stuck inside the chicken wire surrounding the carrot patch. Second, they both were fantastic family dogs. Labradors are well known for being good with kids despite their hunting personality. Both Tess' were not horribly cuddly but they looked at my brother and me as their littermates. These dogs were loyal to the tee with everyone in the family and not one mean bone in their bodies.

The thing is I always wanted my dad to trust me to watch the dog when Tess 2 was just a puppy. I begged him so many times that he finally caved and in my little mind it mean't that I had a hand in training that dog. Little did I know that there was SO much more that went into training a dog. So here I am at the age of 29 with two labs of my own. I was warned repeatedly about only taking on one dog but I was dead certain that having a second dog wouldn't be that bad. Life wise it isn't but when it comes to training it is extremely hard to make both of them be good citizens when out and about. So this is the beginning of my story and how I ended up with two labradors and my pursuit to finally go after my dream of becoming a Veterinarian.