There is a trend going around on TV and facebook called Throwback Thursday, where people post pictures of themselves from yesteryear. This morning I posted this one on facebook. It was taken mid-1980s at Rollins Pond Campground in New York State's Adirondack Park. The dog in the canoe with me is Teri, my first Labrador Retriever. I ran across this picture recently and hadn't seen it in years.
It brought back a flood of memories and thoughts. I have owned a Labrador Retriever continuously since Teri came into my life in 1985 and I plan to own a Lab until I die. I have often jokingly said, "There is only ONE breed of dog, and that is the Labrador Retriever!" No, of course, I don't believe that. Nor do I believe that the Lab is the only dog that can bring joy to one's life.
First, allow me to tell you a little about each of the Labs I have owned. Humor me. Teri grew into a very loving, intelligent dog. Previous to owning her, back through the years, I had a lot of disasters with dogs. . . like the Old English Sheepdog that I had always dreamed of owning. PJ was a disaster and ended up at Lollypop Farm (a dog shelter). Teri and I just bonded from the start. One night on Halloween, a toddler came to the door and was eye level to Teri. Teri reached out and licked her across the face. The little girl laughed and Teri licked her again.
When Teri was just a few years old, I got Cash, a yellow Lab, from the same breeder. Cash, lovable as she was, was high strung and played by her own rules. I often said she would be bouncing off the wall the day she died, and I wasn't far off. She was rambunctious until just a few weeks before I had to have her put to sleep due to ill health. When Cash's health started waning, my neighbor said, "Sherry, you know you can't live without a Lab, go find another one now." So I did.
Enter Molly. Molly was born just a few days after 9/11. I loved Molly, just as I have loved all my Labs. But we had a special bond. It's hard to describe, but she was special. Never mind the time I wanted to take her for a canoe ride and she wanted no part of that and ended up tossing both of us into the water with the canoe upside down. (We were in shallow water!) That was the one time I would have given her to the first person that asked to take her! As my regular readers know, Molly died about two months ago.
For almost two years now, Morgan has been in my life. She is just beginning to show signs of maturing into a wonderful adult lady. She loves to be loved and cuddled and can play a mean game of tug of war.
The one common thread that Teri, Cash, Molly, and Morgan have had are their ability to stand by me with love and devotion through good times and bad - and there have been plenty of both. A Lab will love you when the whole world is caving in on you and you think there is no tomorrow. All they want in return is to be cared for and loved. There is something about the way a Lab looks at you with those gentle eyes that says, "I understand, but I still love you."
If you have never been privileged to have a Labrador Retriever in your life, then I truly feel sorry for you.