Plump. Chubby. Let me check my thesaurus … buxom, portly. Those words don’t bother me. But fat. That I bothers me. Of course, as I got older, I got fa … chubby. This is Liza Jane again and the life of a black labrador retriever can be trying, especially when you share a house with Harold.
No wonder I got fa … plump. I started eating to relieve stress.
But Harold wasn’t my only source of tension. He was a good one, but not the only one. We also had … Ben.
You see, the best trainer for a hunting dog is another, more experienced hunting dog. So as my muzzle got gray and my belly rounder, Dad got the idea that he would get a noob for me to train. I was sitting on my couch, my couch, when that doofus came blundering into the room.
“Dude!” Ben exclaimed while jumping onto the couch with me. My couch. “‘Sup?”
“Pickle!” Dad yelled for the boy. “Come check out our new dog!”
Looking at the yellow labrador retriever sitting next to me, I laid down the law, “Okay kid, here’s the rules. This is my couch.” I stared at him, waiting for him to get down.
“Okay,” Ben responded, sitting quietly next to me.
“Down boy!” I barked and Ben quickly hopped down onto the floor where he belonged.
“Okay,” I explained, “Second, you follow my lead and you’ll be okay. I’ll keep you out of trouble and show you the ropes on how to fetch birds the right way okay?”
“Dude,” Ben nodded.
“Dude,” Harold chuckled as he padded past, “Gotcha a winner der Liza.”
I looked at the slobbering yellow labrador in front of me. Harold was right, we now had two of them.
Pickle, the son, walked into the room, “What’s up?”
“Hey, lets take Liza and Ben to the pond, let them get out and let her start working with him you know?” Dad offered.
“Sure, I’ll grab my pole,” Pickle responded, bounding out the garage door to get his fishing pole.
Standing up and stretching, I hopped down off the couch, “Alright Ben, let’s go. I’ll show you what to avoid out at the pond and stuff. We won’t fetch anything, but we’ll get out and stretch a little.”
“Dude!” Ben exclaimed, “I love ponds!”
“I’m sure you do,” I groaned.
Harold padded past, “Dude. Gotcha a mental giant der.”
Shaking my head, I headed out the door with Ben where Dad already had the tailgate down on the truck. Hopping into the back of the truck I turned around to see Ben sitting patiently. Genius.
“Go on boy,” Dad waved for him to jump into the back of the truck.
Pickle snorted, “What the hell?”
“Oh!” Dad, groaned, picking Ben up, “He was trained for dog carriers.”
Unceremoniously dumped next to me, Ben smiled, “Dude, that was fun.”
Shaking my head I groaned, “Okay, good lesson. Jump in the truck when Dad opens the door.”
“Got it,” Ben nodded.
He didn’t got it … get it. I had only seen the first ridiculous quirk of “Gentle Ben”.
When we got to the pond I figured I would hop out and Ben would sit there waiting for someone to lift him out of the truck. I was wrong. I was horribly wrong.
I should have known by the way that Ben set up in a sprinter’s starting stance and announced, “Green light stop. Red light go. Red light stop. Green light …”
The tailgate went down and Ben bolted, “GO!!”
He shot out of the truck at warp speed, running as fast as he could around the pond. I hopped out as he started his second lap, a dirt cloud kicking up behind him and his tongue lolling out. He was breathing hard and stretching out as far as he could with each stride.
I had to laugh as I sat down by Pickle. There was no way I could train this dweeb. The only thing keeping him from being bitten by a rattlesnake was his sheer speed. Any rattler that was out there probably never saw what went past.
“Run boy! Run!” I barked, laughing at his antics.
“You’re dog sure likes to run,” Pickle snickered.
“Ben!” Dad yelled, trying to slow his new retriever, but Ben was just hitting his stride.
Rounding the corner, Ben leaned into the turn. Dirt rolled out from under him as his paws slammed the ground. I swear I could hear him grab another gear as he picked up speed.
Now, as puppies, we labrador retrievers are born with the ability to swim. We love swimming. The only thing better than fetching is more fetching, but right after that is swimming.
But I think someone forgot to tell Ben.
He easily cleared six feet as he launched himself into the pond. A great wave of water erupted around Ben and he paddled twice before promptly sinking like a rock.
My humans were stunned. Slack jawed and confused, they stood there while their swimming-impaired dog disappeared below the surface of the pond.
“Alright!” Pickled laughed loudly, “Who ever heard of a dog that can’t swim!?”
Charging into the pond, I dove in. Even though I couldn’t see under water, I snapped my jaws quickly like an alligator snatching at something in a pond. Snagging a loose spot on his collar, I grabbed the furry bathing beauty and dragged him to shore.
Pulling the sputtering and paddling dog to safety, I plopped him on the beach, “Can you honestly not swim?” I asked.
“Duuuude,” Ben coughed, “Guess not.”
Shaking the water out of my fur I knew that Harold and Ben would make sure my life was always interesting.