Early Morning Open Thread

From commentor Grover:

Maggie, aka the Blonde Bombshell, aka Queen of the Dog Park, was acquired two years ago from a local family who was losing their house. Our old Dalmation-Australian Cattle Dog mix was on her last legs and we thought some company would perk her up a bit. We were looking for a Golden Retriever and that was what the ad said, but when we arrived the woman apologized and said the ad was a mistake, she was a Golden Lab. Maggie was kind of timid, especially around me (it was an all-female household) but she seemed sporty enough and very obedient, so we brought her home.
Unfortunately she couldn’t do much for our old dog, who was sinking into blindness, deafness, arthritis and general disorientation, till in the end she wandered the house day and night like an Alzheimer’s patient, miserable and in pain. We finally put her to sleep, but Maggie has stepped in admirably. She is the happiest dog I have ever met. Her timidity around men has vanished and she has definitely become “Daddy’s” dog, much to the disappointment of my seven-year-old daughter, who really wanted a tiny ball of fluff she could dress up and cuddle.
Maggie is like one of those irritating children in elementary school who is so well-behaved, so smart and so endearing that she makes the other (normal) children look like wild beasts by comparison. She’s quite large, but she flits around like a Jack Russell and never seems to be in the way or underfoot. She is the daintiest of ladies — never wolfs her food or slurps her water — and when you offer her a treat she NEVER grabs but just reaches up and softly takes it from your fingers. Her mouth is so gentle I had to teach her to tug, but she loves to fetch a ball and, best of all, play hide and seek. This is her favorite game with other dogs — she’ll hide behind a tree or bench and pop out like a jack-in-the-box. I don’t know what all is in her, but she runs like no Lab I’ve ever seen — arches her back and flings her hind quarters forward like a jackrabbit. It’s quite a sight. Hikes in the woods and mountains are a joy–no leash necessary, she’s always within earshot. Our only shock came when we discovered she hated water and couldn’t swim! We’ve gradually been coaxing her into the lakes and rivers with us during the summer, and she’s getting the hang of it.
But my wife works part-time and she seems to be getting a little lonely during the day. We had a friend with a jaunty male Akita mix who use to let us borrow him for a weekend for “play dates,” but they’ve moved away. So we thought some company was in order — especially another lab, since Maggie gloms onto the ones she meets at the park.
Enter Ruby. We went to the pound Saturday after looking at the pictures online and spotting a big black lab mix. When we got there we sought her out but she was cowering in her igloo and wouldn’t come near us. Huh, I thought, what kind of dog is THAT? I left my wife on her knees trying to coax the poor thing into the light, while I sauntered around in search of a peppier model. Hey, here’s a big old Shepherd mix with a busted hip, jaunty in spite of that handicap, but…oh, he’s showing off by shredding his blanket with his teeth. Okaaaay. Ah, here we go! A skinny little skeezix of a border collie who would have jumped into my arms if there hadn’t been a gate between us. Now that’s my type! I spent a few minutes with him then trotted back to alert my wife that the hunt was over, only to find her…with a huge black lab head crushed in her lap, the two of them embraced like long-lost lovers. And that, my friends, is how my wife got her very own dog.

We signed the contract, paid the bucks and agreed to pick her up in a few days after she’d been spayed. Today the vet called and said she’s in heat, and they will have to wait for a couple of weeks. Should they hold her, or would we agree to bring her back at that time? Of course, we raced home from work to pick her up.
Now it’s six hours later and we have:
— realized that Ruby doesn’t know her name, or if she does she apparently doesn’t like it;
— chased her around the Dairy Queen parking lot next to the dog park;
— learned that when you try to pull her along on the leash she “goes to ground,” splaying her legs and digging in like a sand crab;
— discovered that she is enormously strong;
— caught her practically up on the kitchen counter in search of food;
— cleaned up lots of “leaks” from her being in heat.
We have also found that she is as sweet as pie, loves a tennis ball (she raced to join a gang of fetchers at the park–that was the first time we saw her really come alive) and is quite well-behaved now that she’s gotten some exercise and worked off the cabin fever. She knows how to sit, and tonight’s walk in tandem with Maggie went about as smoothly as you could wish. Right now she’s lying contentedly at my feet with her head on her paws. She and Maggie aren’t exactly BFFs yet–but they don’t seem to mind each other either.
When I reflect that it took Maggie two or three months to come out of her shell–and that she made lost of messes in the beginning and once ate a whole ham off the kitchen counter–I have to think we’re off to a pretty good start.

27 replies
  1. 1
  2. 2
    Phyllis says:

    It’s immeasurable what they add to our lives. Good on’ya, buddy.

    Plus I totally love how Maggie is smiling away, like, what a great gig!

  3. 3

    Congratulations, Grover.

    Those are some happy looking dawgs.

  4. 4
    Montysano says:

    Good stuff.

  5. 5
    harlana says:

    Smiling labs, what a way to start one’s day!

  6. 6
    abo gato says:

    Such happy girls. Thanks for a great way to start the day.

  7. 7
    bookcat says:

    their smiles did me a load of good this morning. good on you!

  8. 8
    J. says:

    Reading these stories is often the best part of my day. Thanks for sharing, Grover. Sounds like you got a couple of good ‘uns.

  9. 9
    Annie says:

    Wonderful story. Let us know when they become BFFs!

  10. 10
    Jay in Oregon says:

    Maggie’s smile reminds me of my own lab, Sawyer.

    The pet rescue stories on BJ are starting to run close to Cute Overload in terms of mood-picking-up effectiveness.

  11. 11
    JPL says:

    Please keep us informed on Ruby’s progress. I do wonder whether it’s the owners who adapt to the dog’s schedule or the dog to the owners schedule. Shhh, don’t tell the dog whisper!

  12. 12
    WereBear says:

    I love those happy faces. Sounds like the bond kicked in.

    Labs are like the vodka of dogs; they mix with anything!

  13. 13
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    Those are a couple of happy happy joy joy puppehs. Great start to the day, thanks!

    @Jay in Oregon #10:

    Maggie’s smile reminds me of my own lab, Sawyer.

    I first read this as “Maggie’s smile reminds me of my lawyer.”

  14. 14
    geg6 says:

    Omigosh, there is nothing in the world like a Lab smiling at you. Beauties, the both of them.

    Maggie looks like a smaller version of our Henry. And it sounds like Ruby has Henry’s frog position all figured out.

    Doggies are the bestest.

  15. 15
    stuckinred says:

    I had a Henry back in the day he was named after the song by the New Riders of the Purple Sage

    Sunday afternoon Tijuana is a lovely town
    The bullfights bring the tourists and their money flowin’ down
    The border guards are much too busy there at five o’clock
    Henry’s truckin’ right on through, he hardly even stopped


  16. 16
    Joy says:

    Congratulations to all of you! They are beautiful dogs and obviously have a lot of spirit. They will keep you on your toes, but that’s tempered with all the love and affection they can give. Hugs to everyone!

  17. 17
    Karen says:

    I know this is an open thread so hopefully, it’s okay…

    I have a cat that I’ll have to give back to the shelter if I can’t get someone to adopt her. This is Sasha.


    Sorry if this story is a repeat….

    I have severe Rheumatoid Arthritis.
    Sometimes I can barely take care of myself, let alone two cats

    My spouse (from who I was separated from) helped me with housework and taking care of the cats and I got Sasha for him.

    Due to circumstances beyond control, he is out of state for good and I’m left here drowning with the two cats (never mind all the housework) and I have no car.

    Sasha and the older kitty Contessa fight constantly and I think because of this, Sasha sometimes leaves little presents outside the litter box. She’s probably terrorized because Contessa is a terror.

    This is her when she’s good:


    And this is when she is Devilkitty:


    Seriously, there are so many animal lovers on BJ, I’m in MD, does anyone want to adopt her? I’ll include the food and all her favorite toys. I’ll even include a kitty condo.

    Please? If this is inappropriate please let me know.


  18. 18
    cleek says:

    just FYI… BJ regular MikeJ has assembled a Name That Tune quiz, which i’m hosting over at my place. it might be fun to check out, if you like that kind of thing.

  19. 19
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:


    You and the missus have earned some serious karma points recently.

    I love these stories.

  20. 20
    Elizabelle says:

    Loved the story, and Maggie’s got an infectious grin.

    Karen: good luck rehoming the cat. Let us know how that goes.

  21. 21
    Original Lee says:

    Smilin’ doggies in the mornin’ is great stuff! Thanks, Grover.

  22. 22
    ruemara says:

    Those are damned happy dogs. I love the good vibes fro these stories.


    So sorry Karen, this is heartbreaking. Not in MD and I have 1 foul tempered old kitty and 1 terror of a youngling already. Best of luck finding a home for Sasha. She’s got a great kitty grump face.

  23. 23
    Grover Gardner says:

    It’s been about six weeks now since I sent that in. Ruby is adjusting, slowly. She is inclined to bolt and has led us on several merry chases around the neighborhood–though I finally realized that if you stop chasing her she’ll pause at the end of the block and give you a chance to catch up. She’s terrified of loud noises and dropping a spoon on the floor or slamming a drawer shut sends her scurrying for the bedroom. I moved some furniture around and that sent her into hiding for a day or two. Basically, for the first couple of weeks she had to be dragged from one place to another–to the back door for outies, to the kitchen for supper, to the car for trips to the dog park. But she’s starting to take some initiative and will now pop out of the bedroom for walks or outies, though I still have to deliver her dinner like room service. She sneaks her food and seems to think it’s a bad thing to be caught chowing down. What do people do to these animals?

    She’s getting used to our daughter, though “Honey that scares Ruby” is still a refrain. She has learned her name. She is nobly fulfilling her function as a companion for Maggie, romping tirelessly in the back yard. She barely sheds (wonderful!) and is a fine watchdog. Best of all, she LOVES to cuddle and will slink out of the bedroom to join my wife on the couch or sit by the fire with us for scratches. And she’s very polite about sharing the bed at night–never hogs the mattress. So far so good!

    We’re hoping she gets over the bolting so she can join us for hikes and swims in the river without being limited by a leash. But we shall see.

  24. 24
    Church Lady says:

    Maggie looks exactly like our dog Linus. He’s a British Lab, not American. They are smaller, have heads that are a little more angular (rather than the American block head), fairly small feet, ears that lie back instead of down, and they sit differently than other dogs; hips sort of cocked is the only way I can describe it.

    If Maggie is a British Lab, you got the bargain of the century in getting her for free. From a reputable breeder, the run a minimum of $1,000.

    Both are beautiful dogs and I am so glad that all of you found each other.

  25. 25
    trollhattan says:


    I love those happy faces.

    This. Dogs, lovin’ life; nothing better.

  26. 26

    @Grover Gardner: That’s awesome! You have a great pair of gals there.

    @Karen: I’m really sorry to hear this. Maybe you can email AL (Anne Laurie) with your story and she can do a post about Sasha? Good luck to you.

  27. 27
    andrea says:

    Nice doggie family. I’m pretty sure my rescue lab, Samantha (RIP), was an English lab.

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