My Life As A Chew Toy

Allow me to introduce Dylan. He is a Labrador Retriever of the yellow persuasion. You’ll notice his coloring is a bit different from what you commonly see. He has the eye and nose coloring of a Chocolate Lab; green eyes and a liver colored nose. This is a totally acceptable coloring for the breed, but is just not common. We have grown so used to it that the dark nose and eyes that you typically see on Yellow Labs now looks peculiar to us. Dylan was born on June 9, 2007 and came to live with us at eight weeks of age. He is now 14 months old and every ounce of his 85 pounds is still pure puppy.

I can not think of a period of time in my life that did not include a dog. The list ranges from Dachshunds to St. Bernards. Most, however, have been mutts. Anyone who has had different breeds of dogs knows how each breed has certain characteristics and personality traits common to it. We had a Dalmatian for 13 years who simply longed to please. She also had a lot of energy. Our Corgi, being a herding breed, liked to think he was in charge… always… no excuses. What I am learning to love about Labrador Retrievers is that they are the quintessential dog. Dylan lives to fetch sticks. In lieu of any other distractions, he will sit and chew said stick until there is little left but a stub and a pile of wood -ships- chips. Oh, and don’t get between him and a body of water. The first time we had him at the park, he walked over to the lake and proceeded to step on in. There was no, “hmm, what’s this?” Nope, it was, “hey, this is cool!”

When Dylan is out in the yard he is off-leash. From day one he has not had a tendency to wander. When he is caught up in the various scents and goings-on outside he will regular check to see where his master is and makes it a point to stay near. He has, however, expanded his territory a bit by allowing the neighbors to become among his best friends. If there is someone out working in their yard, he invites himself over for a neighborly chin rub and a quick update on the surrounding scents.

While Dylan is still very energetic and inquisitive, he has thankfully out grown the puppy teething phase. He is such a sweetheart, but when the gums were bothering him he could not resist a good chew. Even though we kept a reasonable supply of allowable chewables, he often would prefer an arm or wrist — especially if it happened to be giving him a rub down at the time.