Mike’s Musings- The joys of dog ownership

Michael Wilcox, Publisher/Editor

Oh to be a dog owner- now twice over. That’s right! Yours truly with strong encouragement from the wife, decided to take on another Labrador Retriever- this one a chocolate lab.

We were kinda sorta looking anyways. We made it a point to drive through Jay’s Sporting Goods parking lot each Saturday to see what kind of puppies were available, and what they were priced at. Although there were all shapes, sizes and colors, we had too many excuses as to why we shouldn’t own a second dog.

Then came the Irish Festival. Damn those Irish. Maybe it was the festive mood, or maybe it was too much liquid refreshment, but we ran into a guy that needed to find a good home for his 10-month chocolate lab named Cocoa. As one conversation about dogs lead to another, we gave the guy our phone number and told him if he was really serious, give us call.

That ended that. We were sure he was all bluster and would not give away his dog. WRONG! Next day we got the call and before I could look up Labrador Retriever on the internet, my wife had brought Cocoa to his new home.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending upon how you wanted to look at it, Cocoa and our Golden Retriever, Daisy, got along from the start. For first three hours the two roughhoused, jumping on each others backs, gritting their teeth, and fighting over doggie toys. I didn’t think Daisy had it in her. We had always considered her overweight and lethargic. We were wrong. She kept right up with the puppy, which is fun to watch for 10 minutes, but these dogs go on and on, from room to room, knocking over chairs, bumping against walls, and generally creating havoc.

Cocoa came to us three weeks ago and the havoc continues. You and I would be long tired of one another, but these dogs go at it every chance they get. Who needs pay-per-view, we have a cage fight every night in our living room.

But that’s not the only problem. We’ve got fencing around most of our backyard. There is one gate and one area we have closed off with a makeshift homemade gate. Daisy, being older I guess, has never wondered beyond the gates. I can’t say the same about Cocoa.  If she wants out, kaboom she will smash right through the gate. The latch will either open or in the case of the makeshift, she simply knocks it down. We usually find her wandering the front yard, but wait until she gets bolder? Who knows where she might end up?

Then there’s the chew toys. Cocoa is head and shoulders taller than Daisy, and she’s still not full grown. She will destroy a chew toy quicker than a mole can dig a tunnel. It’s insane. Daisy was easy on the toys but loved to chew up our wood moulding, leather shoes or any piece of clothing that was worn by my wife. Heck one time, I found her downstairs with my electric razor in her mouth. Hopefully, Cocoa will stick to the toys. With her size and strength our house and everything in it might look like a tornado hit it.

A new puppy can be an endless source of love, loyalty and entertainment. But then there’s the downside. I’ve had to change my schedule because of it. The first couple of nights with this dog was a nightmare. Cocoa would not sleep in her crate. Nope, nada! Thus all night long the dog howled, then cried, then whimpered and then barked. Over and over, as we laid in bed trying to get a couple of hours of shut eye. Finally after three nights, we enclosed the dog on our patio, and for the most part Cocoa has kept her mouth shut as we sleep.

That is until 5 a.m. rolls around. An early riser, I am, but not 5 a.m. early- or I wasn’t. Now I am. I get up, turn on the news, drink a cup of coffee, sometimes jump on the treadmill, scroll through my emails, and ya know, it isn’t too bad. I never thought I could accomplish so much before work.

If I was really energetic, however, I’d be out in my backyard with a shovel. The excrement from one large dog has really piled up over this long winter. Now with two it’s all most unmanageable. Poop here, poop there, man you really got to watch your step.

But hey, we got the solution. We’ve already asked a friend who owns a fencing company to extend the current backyard several more feet. Ha ha, more room to poop and then scoop. Aren’t we clever?

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