As many of you know, we lost our beloved 13-year-old yellow lab Gretchen just before Thanksgiving. It was a terrible blow to our family and left a big void.
Earlier this month, I boarded a flight from SFO to Cleveland (of all places) and landed in a blinding snow storm to bring home a new family member: a fox red lab puppy. I brought her home under my seat on this nonstop Continental flight (the cargo hold didn’t seem right).
I went to Ohio because the breeder specialized in this type of dog, and the pup came from good AKC pedigree (all with good hips, elbows, heart, eyes, etc.). The breeder, around for more than 20 years, has a good reputation for producing physically sound, calm tempered labs. Their labs also are the “English” type, with a blocky head and kind expression. We have some good lab breeders in Northern California too.
You can’t be careful enough with labs, because they are so widely bred. We also liked the “fox red” color — rather unusual. In fact, it is just a variation of yellow, like Gretchen. (For gene freaks, the color variation is: ay_B_ C_ee = true fox-red). The first yellow lab ever recorded, Ben of Hyde in 1899, had a red fox color.
The most important point is that we love this pup dearly, and she already is a full-fledged family member. My son loves holding her, and she already sleeps at the foot of the bed (sometimes in her kennel). She frolicked in the snow the other day, and we can’t wait to teach her to swim this summer.
After some discussion, we voted to name her “Whiskey” last week. Though less PC than “Lucy” or “Ruby,” we decided it fit her color (to a tee) and UK heritage . We’re not worred if she gets lost, either. Around here, I’ve heard people running down the street shouting “whiskey, whiskey” all the time.
We’re glad to do our part to grow our county’s stagnant population and lower the median age (among the oldest in the state) — if only with a dog.
Important postcript: With the recession, we have a lot of homeless dogs. We are doing our part by making generous contributions to groups such as Susan Wallace’s “Scooter’s Pals.” If you love dogs, as we do, I hope you’ll lend your support.