INTRODUCING OUR DOG DYLAN!
I will inevitably write about my own dogs on Seattle DogSpot (because they are the absolute best dogs in the world of course) so I thought I should introduce them. So here is Dylan, the most spectacular chocolate labrador retriever that anyone could ever have.
As my 40th birthday approached in 2001, I knew I no longer wanted a life that didn’t include dogs. Why?
I spent hours trying to answer that question, but I think this quote from Harvard Professor and author Marjorie Garber explains it better than I could:
"The dogs in our lives, the dogs we come to love and who (we fervently believe) love us in return, offer more than fidelity, consolation, and companionship. They offer comedy, irony, wit, and a wealth of anecdotes, the "shaggy dog stories” and "stupid pet tricks” that are commonplace pleasures of life. They offer, if we are wise enough or simple enough to take it, a model for what it means to give your heart with little thought of return. Both powerfully imaginary and comfortingly real, dogs act as mirrors for our own beliefs about what would constitute a truly humane society. Perhaps it is not too late for them to teach us some new tricks.”
My wife Randy didn’t consider herself a "dog person” but since she also lived in the house, I had to first convince her that we needed a dog. We started the dog discussion soon after we moved into our first house. Randy was VERY hesitant about getting a dog. Most of her previous experience had been with overly energetic and destructive dogs, and since I wanted to get a chocolate lab, she was concerned about the damage a 70-90 pound dog could do to our house. She also didn’t think she could control a larger dog.
RESEARCH - DOG BREEDER VS. SHELTER
Fortunately, after doing a lot of dog research and listening to my reasoning (or as she would call it, begging), she relented. Her only requirement was that we get the dog from a breeder that could assure us it would have a calm demeanor. Reputable breeders do temperament testing soon after puppies are born to determine what type of disposition a dog will have. This is particularly important when figuring out if a puppy would be a good working dog. For example, a puppy that tests as nervous and startled by loud noises would not be a good seeing eye dog.
I would have preferred to adopt from a shelter given the large number of great dogs that are euthanized in them every year, but at that point we had little experience in determining a dog’s temperament or dog training, so I agreed that we would find a breeder (although now we both agree we'll only adopt shelter dogs from now on).
PICKING UP OUR NEW PUPPY
Dylan: A Spectacular Dog
We’ve had Dylan for almost 12 years now, and he has been a fantastic dog. He has a sweet, gentle disposition, he’s very well behaved, and he’s incredibly smart. We didn’t realize how smart he was until we got another dog, Miguel.
Miguel likes to save treats and flaunt them in front of Dylan, who like any lab gobbles up anything put in front of him in seconds. He's also self-appointed guard dog, so he will investigate any suspicious goings on outside.
Dylan figured out that if he looked out our back door and started barking, Miguel would come running to see what was going on. So now when Dylan wants to get a treat Miguel is hoarding, he goes to the back door and starts barking. When Miguel joins him, he runs back and eats Miguel’s treat. Clever dog!
Although he has slowed down a lot in his old age, Dylan swims, fetches, and begs for treats. He just doesn't do them as often as he did when he was younger (except begging for treats. that hasn't slowed down at all).
He sleeps a lot more now, too, he sometimes he refuses to go on walks, and he's got gray hair everywhere, even on the bottom of his paws.
But his is still the most spectacular chocolate labrador retriever that anyone could ever have.