I don’t need to look out the windows or check my thermometer to know when winter is upon us. Kylie is my dog thermometer telling me that it is indeed cold outside. It’s the only time she lounges for longer periods of time on the bed during the day.
We got Kylie as a pup when she was three months old. Picked her up in Tennessee from a breeder. She didn’t wag her tail for almost six months. The first day it finally did wag I said, “Hey! Your tail works!” Kylie wagged it faster the more excited I got about it. I guess perhaps I was supposed to have maybe helped her out a bit sooner with that.
Kylie is an English Labrador. From my research I found out that Labradors were originally bred in England. The look of the English breed is short and stocky with a boxy head and short, bushy tail. They became very popular when brought to America, and unfortunately were overbred. American Labs tend to be taller and lankier, with long skinny tails and smaller heads. I love the look of the English Lab. They also tend to be more laid back and great as a family dog, hunting dog or for therapy dog work.
As the years have gone by my husband and I realized that someone forgot to tell Kylie she is a Lab. We came to discover over time that she does not like to fetch a ball, go for long walks, go for a swim, or ride in the car. Err, isn’t that what Lab’s are supposed to do? Our Lab before Kylie did all of these things and with gusto! Geese can also fly low over our house honking to beat the band and Kylie will continue to gaze across the street, lost in her own little world.
Now we could get all caught up in comparing and being upset that she does not like to do all those “Lab” things, which I’ll admit bothered us at first. But I came to realize that this sweet girl is my calm on hectic days. She is the one who I just sit with and “just be” when the world is out of control. She is the one I love to wrap my arms around and hug really tight. Her perfect day is coffee with my husband on the sofa in the wee hours of the morning. Once I am up, it’s time to eat and then the rest of the day you’ll find her sitting at the open front door, gazing out into the world.
She’s our anchor of solitude. The one who makes us stop and enjoy small moments of joy throughout the day when we stop and pet her as we pass through the kitchen. We also call her our couch potatoe. After all, she is yellow, and she does rather like to just hang out.
So maybe she is the Labrador that isn’t, but she is the dog who fills my heart up every time I look into her soft brown eyes. And I’m so thankful she is mine and grateful for her lesson of learning to accept her for who she is.
When I brought Kylie home as a pup I couldn’t resist getting this photo of her above with Frankie. They were almost the same size, but I knew that would not last for very long…
After Frankie’s diagnoses of Intevertebral Disc Disease (IVDD) over four years ago I could never allow Kylie and Frankie to play together without supervision. For some reason Kylie was very rough with Frankie when she was in her wheelchair, almost as if she thought Frankie was a toy. It was heart breaking to not have them snuggle together for fear of Kylie possibly reinjuring Frankie’s back.
Frankie is now able to scoot when not in her doggie wheelchair, and actually can hop like a rabbit, which she typically does when it is time to eat (she loves to eat!). She has made great progress in her mobility since her diagnoses of IVDD in 2006. She still needs her wheelchair for walks and school, and therapy dog visits that we do, but when home, she gets around pretty well on her own without the use of her wheelchair.
Kylie turned five years old this past October. Maybe she has mellowed a bit with age, but all of a sudden she is much calmer around Frankie. Another thing I discovered is if Frankie is not in her wheelchair, Kylie is not as rough with her. So over the past few months they have started to hang out together.
Getting this photo (below) of them brought tears to my eyes and such joy to see them so happy snuggling together. Looking at them together made my heart grow three times its size!
How have your pets brought you joy lately?