One year ago today Ace became the fourth member of our family. He was a much anticipated addition for our then six year old son. As an only child, he had big dreams about time together with his new “brother”…playing fetch, taking walks around the block, and cuddling at night. A built-in buddy to level out the playing field in our family.
Before our son was born we had two boxers, Chloe and Hannah. They were hilarious, loving dogs but so full of energy. Since we had a kiddo this time around, we decided to go with a different breed that would be easier to train…and calmer. My husband did some research and landed on a chocolate labrador.
I think it’s fair to say that Ace has broken the mold when it comes to labs. What we got instead was a furry whirling dervish that is equally smart and rascally.
When I was little, our family also had a lab…his name was Pepper Jake. There were times when my dad would call him Pepper Jerk. I get it now.
I can not count how many times we have chased Ace around the house to retrieve a stolen toy, dishtowel or remote control. The three of us have gotten very good at cornering him and retrieving the prize. It’s like trying to catch a chicken! It’s also a little embarrassing how breathless this game leaves all of us. And while we recover, I imagine Ace sitting in the corner, rubbing his paws together with a smirk on his face and a scheming look in his eye.
There’s no telling how many Legos and Nerf darts he has consumed in the last year. Oh, and socks…he swallows socks whole. And snails, grubs, and roaches. And dog beds…oh, the dog beds he has destroyed!
We have tried to stave off this need to chew with dog toys, but he has not met a single one that he can’t destroy in minutes…including the ones that tout “INDESTRUCTIBLE!” on the label.
We have finally landed on cow knuckles and logs to entertain this crazy dog. He happily runs around the backyard with logs that are about 8” in diameter, throwing them in the air and gnawing off their bark. And the cow knuckles, well, they’re as gross as they sound. When chewing on them he goes into a carnivorous trance.
Fortunately he has not chewed on any furniture or damaged any walls or woodwork in our house…knock on wood.
And all this rascally behavior is just the tip of the iceberg for this dog. Luckily, he is also a sweet love bug…when he wants to be.
In the morning, after a full night in his crate, he will calmly wait to lap up his water and food until he gets a good belly rub. He loves to be wherever our son, “his boy,” is playing and will bring his own bone over so he can play too. He’s also great at retrieving and will run after a ball as long as you’re willing to throw it. And he’ll lay on the floor with our son, covering him with kisses, while my son squeals, “this is the best day ever!”
Yes, Ace has been a great addition to our family! For now, though, I cling to the experience of others who tell me that he will move past this puppy stage…in about four years. Sigh…