A Labrador Retriever is the last pet an introvert with self-esteem issues should get, but it’s too late now. Whether she likes it or not, Audra Kinney is mom to a four-legged sixty-two pound bundle of insanity, so she’s just going to have to learn how to deal.
According to everything she read prior to deciding on the breed, Labrador Retrievers were supposed to be the end all and be all of dogs. They’re friendly, she was told, playful and great around children. There should have been an asterisk or two after that claim because what they really meant by ‘friendly’ and ‘playful’ is that they will jump all over anyone who walks through the door, and they will run around like an army of children that just had two kilogram bags of sugar poured down their throats.
Labs are crazy. And embarrassing.
Audra clued in to that when she took her own, Daisy, to an introductory play date at her local doggie daycare centre. Just three months old at the time, Daisy was placed into the young pup section, but after trying to rough house with a Shih Tzu, a Chihuahua, and a Teacup Yorkie within the first twenty minutes, Daisy was moved over to the big dog section where she promptly stole the toys of a Weimaraner and a Boxer.
“We also offer puppy training classes,” the owner said to Audra as delicately as possible. “They’re a great way for young dogs to learn socialization skills.”
Audra immediately signed Daisy up for a four-week training course, which she failed. Well, she did succeed at one thing – garnering nasty looks and frustrated sighs from other dog owners.
“You have two more months to get your act together dog or you’re gone,” an exasperated Audra said to Daisy in the car on the way home from their final class. Daisy was busy jumping from the back seat to the front seat, then to the back seat and then to the front again as Audra said this, so it likely didn’t register with her. It didn’t matter anyway, because all Daisy had to do was give her owner those sad and beautiful “Please love me” puppy eyes of hers for Audra to realize she could never take Daisy to the pound. She knows what happens to wacko dogs such as Daisy: they eventually go to that ‘magical farm’ to which all unwanted dogs are sent.
“Maybe you just need more exercise,” Audra said the following day. It’s been 6:00 a.m. wake up calls and two mile walks every morning ever since for Audra, followed by another two mile walk after supper. Of course, not one walk goes by without Daisy going all “Oh my gosh! It’s another dog! Hey! Other dog! Play with me! Play with me! Grrrr!!! Why won’t you play with me?! That’s what you’re supposed to do when another dog lunges at you!” psycho on every canine they pass.
“God, I can’t take you anywhere!” the woman who likes to blend into the background because she’s afraid people will hate her if she stands out in any way says to her now two-year-old nutjob after each and every mortifying encounter. Then she hurries home to try and relax on the furniture whose cushions she has had to mend multiple times since the arrival of Daisy.
Audra likes to tell herself that there will come a day when Daisy will calm down. Whether she will be around to see that or in the loony bin remains to be seen.