Sunday, May 5, 2013

You know what really Grinds my Gears? by Jeffrey J. Thivierge

My muddy labradoodle.

Three years ago, my wife and I decided to make an addition to our family.  We already had a big, oaf of a chocolate lab, which we got when I returned home from Iraq in 2007.  While we adored our boy, Drake, we learned as time progressed that not only was he a complete wuss, but he was riddled with knee and back issues which continue to plague him.

My wife and I like to think that we’re reasonably active people and like to have the company of a dog during our activities. Enter the labradoodle.  We didn’t want to run into the problems with Drake, so we did our homework.  The breeder we ended up choosing was actually on the list of breeders that was vetted by the Obama’s prior to getting their Portuguese Water Dog, Bo.  We chose a beautiful apricot colored puppy that we named Indigo and picked her up just before Memorial Day in 2010.

Luckily, Drake was around to train her.  In only four weeks, this gorgeous puppy that was quickly growing into a beautiful dog was completely housebroken.  Within another few weeks, she was knocking out some of the same commands that Drake had dazzled the neighbors with in his youth.  (Mind you, Drake was still only three years old at the time, but he’s an old soul, and acts like an old man.)

The time had come for Indigo to go hiking out on the trails with the pack.  She was a svelte 40 pounds at the time, and only around six months old.  Since it was a short walk, Drake would join us.  Less than a quarter mile into the woods, I released the hounds from their leashes, and Indigo found her new love…. mud.

She stood there.  Looking at me.  Knowing what she was about to do was wrong. 

I called out to her, “Indigo! No!”

Too late.

My beautiful puppy was covered in mud.  Literally, from her neck to her paws was covered in thick, black mud.  Not one inch of her body was her natural color.

Drake watched this happen, not trying to stop her.  I blame him.

The rest of our “hike” consisted of me muttering to myself about getting a cat instead of another dog as we searched for a body of water to wash her off.

This scenario has played out no fewer than 15 times in the past two-and-a-half years.  I love my labradoodle, but I can’t help but think I’d prefer to live in an area like El Paso that doesn’t have mud.

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