In my first 44 years of life, I never understood people who loved Labrador Retrievers…for starters, they’re the basic bitch dog, everyone has one, especially black labs.
Plus, they’re dumb. Studies say that they are smart, but they’re not. They walk into walls, forget your commands, and constantly do the opposite of what they’re told. Hunters tell me that they’re great at doing their job of retrieving, most notably ducks, but that’s a pretty narrow field of expertise that don’t impress me much.
And then came Scout.
Well, technically first came, my wife Christina, who happened to have a black lab named Scout. At the time we met, the irony was palpable; my German Shepherd, Shep, had passed away and my newest, Maestro, wasn’t born yet so I had only Nellie, my all-white GSD. So here we were…me, white as snow, with my white dog, and my now wife, Christina, milk chocolate “black” with her lab. White guy, white dog, black chick, black dog. Get it?
Anywho…I stole Scout from her. More accurately, he stole me. From the moment I met him, all of my rigid dog rules went out the window. I didn’t care that he got up onto the sofa or the bed and I certainly understood why he got random treats throughout the day like bacon, potato chips, and steak for no reason. There was a reason…he was Scout.
Meanwhile, poor Maestro was in boot camp and on lockdown, being taught that there is only one way to be a dog, and that is the hardcore German Shepherd way. Fortunately for him, Christina agreed to marry me and she labbed-up my Shepherd. He’s the most lovable, adorable 105-pound killing machine I’ve ever met, and that’s all on her (the lovable part…I made him a killing machine…well, me and Hitler).
For the first year of our relationship, Christina and I lived 1700 miles apart; her in Dallas, me in Sacramento. We would visit each other whenever we could, and to be completely candid, I’m not sure if I was more excited to see her or Scout…okay, that’s a little ridiculous, but that damn dog was probably the reason I asked her to marry me…I wasn’t letting him go.
Ok, ok, ok…I love my wife more than anything and I’d kill anyone who even came close to looking at her sideways…but still, I love that dog.
Over the past 6 years, Scout has taught me to loosen up, break the rules, and embrace being lazy. As I type this, he is asleep on the guest room bed, where he has been for hours, since I took a nap there after coming home from the grocery store. I was up before the sun, fed the dogs, went to the store, and came home exhausted (or with mono, I’m not sure yet) so I plopped my ass into our guest room bed and took a nap…and guess who joined me? Yup…Scout the lab. He’s still there, even though I left hours ago…well, that’s not technically true…I was just there 20 minutes ago and an hour ago for only one reason; he’s there. Who can resist a slumbering Labrador and his 90 pounds of dead weight just begging you to manipulate him into your arms? Only a psycho, that’s who.
And that’s the point…I have so much to do, yet all I can think about is curling up in that bed with that damn Labrador in my arms. He’s an enabler! And he’s relentless…he stays there, happy and comfortable, daring me to join him, knowing that I am the one losing if I don’t. What kind of madness is this?!?!?
By the way, he’s not dumb at all; he’s actually the ultimate manipulator. He runs this house, and we all know it, including Maestro. Scout knows his commands, he just chooses when to obey them, and of course, when people come over he’s the most loving, perfect dog ever…more manipulation. Everyone loves the little asshole.
Granted, some of this is somewhat melancholy as we’ve had a rough week and a half with our boy, starting with a massive vomit-fest of blood late Thursday night a week ago. So, yes, if you thought my birthday show on 9/17 sucked, it was my fault, I hadn’t slept and I thought my wife’s Labrador was dying…I mean, puking blood is kinda serious.
Fortunately, $1200 and a night later we knew absolutely nothing! How fun…no causes found, just take him home and care for him, which we did. 10 days later, he’s turned the corner and is back to himself; lazy, lovable, fat and perpetually hungry. Just the way we want him. I don’t think I ever seriously thought we were losing him, but God knows I was gearing up for the worst pain of my wife’s life and how I would manage it. Trust me, she’ll be far more sad the day Scout leaves the earth than the day I die…and she should be, that dog is one of a kind, and everyone who meets him knows it.
With that, I feel I’ve earned some Scout time…he’s still on the bed, waiting for me…I can’t let him down, so off I go to the land of a loving Labrador, who doesn’t care about anything other than the fact that I am warm and know how to cuddle.