JustOneMorePet

Every Pet Deserves A Good Home…

Labrador Retriever – Still America’s Favorite Dog

1990s & 2000s: Labrador Retrievers

Bill Clinton’s Chocolate Lab, Buddy, remained his buddy even during the dark days of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Despite being portrayed as rambunctious in the book and film “Marley & Me,” the Lab remains the most popular dog in America today.

Because of their even temperament, they excel as guide dogs for the blind, as part of search-and-rescue teams, and with law enforcement.

Black Lab.mediumchocolate_lab

Chasing Juneau

A non-theological note on a very theological dog (He literally devoured the New Testament and several writings by Sproul). Juneau was killed when he ran under the prop of an airplane on August 21st, 2009.

Let me begin by saying the dog dies at the end of the story. I always read stories about dogs with hesitation, because I so dislike falling in love with the antics of the animal, only to finish the piece in tears when the dog peacefully falls asleep at its owner’s feet. Or, behind the woodstove in the case of Jack in “Little House in the Prairie.” There is no peaceful falling asleep here; it was violent and horrible. And yet I’m writing about it, trying to make some sense out of a “Life just happens…” event.

I despise clichés, but it is easiest explained to say I am walking through some very muddy waters in areas of my life right now. I am trying to let Christ carry me though them, but just like you probably do on occasion, I spend hours trying to get my own boots out of the muck instead of letting The One Who Isn’t Encumbered By Muck carry me. When I have been stuck (waist deep and refusing help) there has always been Juneau, swimming around me in the bog, trying to bark and carry someone else’s stolen shoe at the same time. He was a friend, a family member, and a picture of what I wished I could be a bit more like. Yes, I know he was “just” a dog, but he was a constant reminder to me to laugh, to play, to go riding on the ATV if for nothing but the pleasure of that great, black head resting on my shoulder as we checked fence lines.

Juneau - the black lab Juneau’s days were spent chasing hawks and vultures as they soared over the cliffs by our home. He loved it when Sam pulled out the blower, because it meant chasing the leaves and stirred-up grass. His tail provided him with endless hours of pleasure – the toy that was always available to pursue if the hawks were sleeping in. Any work done around the house was made better by his company – changing the oil, mowing the lawn, doing school. He tore into the basement with anticipation of what he could destroy – in one day alone, he happily devoured a two pound Costco bag of chocolate truffles, a map of Wales, an airport approach book, and both a paper plate and the cookies that were on it. He did not eat the wax paper covering the cookies, but he gave it the old college try. I could write pages about the silly things he did – riding on the ATV, playing with his puppies, but it can be said most succinctly in this – Juneau was joy itself poured into a black coat.

When I read The Last Battle, CS Lewis’s picture of heaven made sense to me. Where a hundred theological statements had failed to paint eternity, Lewis broke through my foggy understanding with a mouse and Aslan. I suppose Christ’s creation just makes more sense to me through that portion he spent the first part of the sixth day on. Reepicheep was just a mouse – a vivid analogy of courage and faith. Remember when he gnawed away the cords that bound Aslan? Did you cheer when he challenged the dragon? And didn’t your heart go over the edge with him when he sailed away in his little coracle to Aslan’s Country? And didn’t you know you were going to have fun when you drove up to my house and Juneau ran to you, eyes merry, carrying something he had stolen from someone else to give you as a gift? Again, Juneau was “just” a dog. But like Lewis’s portrayal of Christ as the Lion, I was daily reminded of God’s gift to us of joy – a fruit of the spirit made flesh in a bumbling, magnificent Labrador Retriever.

I am sure to be making little sense as I write this, and I am also sure to offend many by drawing a comparison of a dog to something holy. It is difficult to type while crying, and even more difficult to share how much one dog can mean. No, I don’t worship animals – although I did live in Eugene long enough to see some pretty strange things. And I am not putting my dog on the level of a human, with his value more than, or even equal to, my husband or children. There will still be larger-than life moments in my world – a solo for one of the kids in a play, a ribbon from the State Fair, a special dinner to celebrate many years spent together. But I’m trying to imagine a night out on the deck without his 80-pound body wedging itself between David and me, and I’m not succeeding very well. How do you laugh at joy destroyed?
When I covered Juneau’s mangled body with a blanket, I understood the expression “He’s not with us anymore.” Animals, like people, seem smaller when they’ve died. Like the area the soul occupied is void – the balloon has popped, and there are wrinkles where the space was occupied by something larger than the lining. I’m not suggesting dogs have souls – why would they need them? They never questioned the One. If even the rocks would cry out and worship, where do you think dogs would be? At the front of the chorus, I am sure. I have no desire to debate whether animals go to heaven. I only know on that day when I face Christ, when He who died for my sins runs to embrace me, He will be missing his right sandal. And Juneau will be right behind him, carrying it in his big smiling mouth.

Source:  Justlabradors.com/MSN

Dogwise, All Things Dog! Monthly Feature: BEHAVIOR PROBLEMS IN DOGS

Marley & Me

Marley

Tales from a Dog Catcher

Posted:  Just One More Pet

September 20, 2009 - Posted by | animal behavior, Just One More Pet, Pets | , , , , , , ,

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