This is my dog, Sandy. She is a ‘mostly’ yellow Labrador retriever. Most of the time she is yellow. And we think that she is mostly a labrador retriever. She doesn’t have papers, but the nice people at the puppy mill said that her parents were both dogs. That was good enough for me.
More accurately, I actually believe she is a Labrador ‘getter.’ Retrieving implies that she will give back what you have thrown. She does not. She gets it, shows it to you and challenges you to get it from her. Retrieving is pretty demeaning and reinforces social status constructs. My children retrieve, but not my dog.
Those of my colleagues who have not had the pleasure of being ‘goosed’ by Sandy have surely seen evidence of her on my clothes, car, children. Labradors shed. Saying Labradors shed is like saying water is wet. In fact the only time Labs are not shedding is when they are wet. So we are faced with either a shedding dog or a wet dog. Neither is ideal, but it is better that owning a cat.
Sandy has been the first to great me at the door for the past 9 years. She once saved me 40 dollars one night at a classy hotel in Buffalo, New York. I, did however have to suggest that my son had a mental disability to get her allowed to stay the night.
One hot August day, I drove the family home from a camping trip. We drove five hours straight with the windows rolled down and without complaint. The night before Sandy was forced to spend the rainy night in the van after gorging on hotdogs, bones and skunks. At no fault of her own, she was sick. We cleaned the car the best we could, but we didn’t get it all. We didn’t complain because we knew that she had a tougher night than us.
She has been around since before my children. My wife and I joke to the kids that Sandy was our first. Deep down we know that she is more a friend than she is a child. She has seen the best and worst of us over the years. She has listened and never judged. I’m sure that when my kids are old, her memory will still be with them.