♬ Hello Dolly, Well Hello Dolly
It’s so nice to have you back where you belong. ♬
Meet Dolly, or I should say “Hello, Dolly!” Dolly is eight weeks old and the newest member of our household. She joins her older sister, Millie, who’s two years old, and her feline sisters, Onyx (b/k/a–“better known as” in police jargon) Mama Kitty and Olivia (b/k/a Baby Kitty). Our house and hearts are now full, really full.
I found out in October that the breeder we had bought three of our four other Labs from was expecting a new litter of yellow pups at the end of December.
We got Lucy, our first Lab back in 2003. She was the first full-breed dog I’ve had since the early 1970s when I bought what I was told was a miniature collie. She was a collie, but by no stretch of the imagination was she a miniature. Otherwise, I’ve always gotten dogs by either inheriting them (prime example, Zeus on the right in this photo belonged to my oldest son) or being in the right place at the right time.
Our second and third girls “Molly and Lily” were only four months apart in age. We got them in 2011 and 20I2 and they died within several months of each other in 2020 and 2021 (Read about Molly and Lily here.)
We got our big girl Millie in April 2021 and she’s been the light of our lives ever since.
I know there are people who are very much against buying a dog from a breeder instead of adopting one, but I really, really love yellow Labs. I support our local animal shelters and if we weren’t able to get another Lab at this time, we would have adopted from a shelter. My stipulations were that she had to be a “she”, she had to be a puppy, and she had to be a girl big enough to play with Millie. We were lucky though and were able to get our Dolly.
It’s crossed my mind a time or two that the Great Hunter and I are crazy to have two large energetic dogs at our age. We’re not exactly spring chickens. Big dogs eat a lot. Big dogs poop a lot. Big dogs take up a lot of space. Big dogs (or any dog for that matter) cost a lot of money. Big dogs are harder to transport. But, you only live once right. And now we have our new Dolly. Dolly is the fifth Labrador we’ve had. Our first girl, Lucy, died from Lymphoma when she was eight years old. We lost our other two when they were ten years old. Those are fairly good ages for a large dog, but there are many who live to be much older.
That’s where the doubts creep in. If both our girls live ten years, that means that the Great Hunter will be in his late 80s and I will be in my late 70s when the girls get that old. Hmmm. How are two golden oldies going to handle two 100-pound dogs? Thankfully, we have a fenced-in backyard so daily walks aren’t necessary and I’ve already scoped out veterinarians who do house calls.
My Aunt Mable (my dad’s older sister) loved dogs. My Uncle Edgar raised hunting beagles in his backyard. He didn’t want Aunt Mable around them too much because she turned them into pets. It never worked though. There were always two or three running around in the house.
After my uncle passed away, Aunt Mable, who was in her 80s, lived alone and after she lost her last dog, she never got another one. She thought she was too old. What would happen to her dog if she died? Even though we all assured her that if she wanted to get a dog, we would be happy to love her dog if she couldn’t, she still chose not to.
So I was thinking all these things when we took the hour-long drive to pick up Dolly. The Great Hunter and I are blessedly, relatively healthy and so far neither of us has any mobility issues. The Great Hunter is 77 and still works three mornings a week and no one believes he is the age he is. Back a couple years ago, the first orthopedic surgeon he saw for his hip referred to him as being “north of seventy” and therefore not a good candidate for surgery. What did that doctor know? That statement still angers me.
I know that if anything happened and we couldn’t care for our girls, any one of our children would be willing to take them for us. We are all animal lovers and everyone has a pet or two, so I can rest easy. I tease my youngest that since he is the youngest and has the biggest house, he gets all of us when we’re old and decrepit.