I Love That Dog

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One day I walked into my garage and was surprised to see my daughter’s dog curled up in a wicker chair.

My daughter was at our home doing some work with my wife. I had never paid much attention to her dog. In fact I’m not much of a dog person.

So on that day I walked by the dog, didn’t say anything, did my thing and walked back into the house.

A couple of weeks later, the same thing happened, only this time I stopped and pet the dog, and said, “Hi, Eli.” He looked up at me with friendly eyes.

The next time this happened, I thought I noticed Eli making room for me in the chair. So, I sat down. As I did he put his long left paw on my leg. I sat there petting him for about five minutes, and got up saying, “You’re a good boy Eli.” His tail wagged.

I thought I felt sorry for Eli having to sit in the garage. Instead, I believe I was developing an emotional attachment to him.

Later, I found out Eli is a “Golden Lab.” Since 1991 Labs have been the most popular breed of dog registered by dog owners in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, the UK, and America. Labs originated in Newfoundland, Canada. Their original name was “St. Johns water dog”.

Subsequent to the garage experience, when we would have a barbecue at the Compound (a three home sub- division where three of our five children live), Eli would come up and lie down in front of me and sit on my feet. I would pet him, each time adding a little more attention, like rubbing him on his neck area and padding him on the side of his body.

Sometimes when we were out in the yard, Eli would see me and run full speed toward me barely grazing my leg as he ran by. I noticed he was careful about doing that with my four year old grandson. He would run after Eli on his hot wheels. Eli stayed out of his way.

Talking of my grandson, if Eli takes up too much space, my grandson pushes him away. At first, I was a little hesitant about pushing Eli away when he would lean up against me. But as I observed my grandson, I did what he did. It worked. Eli didn’t seem to matter at all. He simply moved over a bit as if he understood that he was invading someone’s space.

When we were at Liberty Park, Eli would smell everything. He smelled longer than any other dog in the park. That long nose of his would go crazy smelling. I thought maybe Eli was neurotic he smelled so much. I later learned that’s what Labs do. They smell and retrieve.

One time I was at my daughter’s house attending some kind of party for my three year old granddaughter. I was sitting at the dinner table next to the sliding glass window. Eli was outside looking in when he started shaking. My daughter, thinking he was sick, opened the sliding glass door and let him in. He went straight to me and got up under my legs and stopped shaking.

That’s when I started thinking there was something about me Eli liked. There definitely was a lot about him I liked.

Recently, my wife and I met up with my daughter’s family at Liberty Park again. Eli was on a leash. Upon seeing us, Eli let out a dog voice that sounded close to a high pitched “Hi”. He came over and rubbed up against my leg. I responded verbally and petted him. He sat down next to me.

Eli adjusts his playfulness according to the person he’s around. With my son-in- law he’s extremely playful. My son-in-law picks Eli up, swings him around, let’s him down, and the two of them wrestle and joust. In all this Eli doesn’t bite, but his mouth is open and his teeth touch the hands and arms of my son-in-law. As the two of them tire, they simply calm down, and walk away from one another.

When the next door cat comes around, Eli sits there while the cat works at getting his attention.

I’ve seen him pull my grandchildren around when they were on their trikes. And when they take him on the leash, Eli doesn’t bolt out. He ensures that he’s walking no faster than they are able to keep up.

When a ball is thrown for him to fetch he’s fast. He looks like an arrow flying through the air. He runs the ball down before it stops rolling. He jumps in the air to catch frisbees.

He’s very gentle around little children, and occasionally walks around to where people are sitting and lies down for awhile either in back or to the side of them.

Outside of the “Hi” he let out, I have never heard Eli bark.

If Eli is an example of dog disposition in general, I believe that as long as humans are on the earth, there will be dogs, especially Labs. They are a perfect compliment to humans. Although dates differ according to which study you read, dogs have probably been around for at least forty thousand years.

I’ve been around people who are deeply attached to their dogs. They describe them as if they were humans. I never understood this, until I became attached to Eli. I’m happy when I’m around him, and concerned when I think he’s left out. I still don’t know if I started loving Eli because he first loved me, or vice versa.

I have absolutely no idea why he is attracted to me. My cologne? He has drawn me in, to the point that my suspicion is that dogs are extremely attached emotionally to humans – more so than any other animal species on the planet.

Eli is accepting of anyone who comes around. He is an excellent example of his breed. My guess is that Labs may be the best pet a child could ever want. I’m happy my little grandchildren are growing up with Eli. I love that dog.