Blue Moon Rising was a dog that only came around once in a blue moon. He was a year old when we got him so we kept the name. I guess we had to keep him too. We shortened his name to Blue and sometimes Blue Moon if we wanted to get him to sing.
We adopted him from a couple who lived in a small apartment. They loved him but they had a newborn and said he had too much energy. I would soon find out they were telling the truth. He was content lie around the house for a couple days (Usually taking up most of the couch or wishing he could get on the bed.) but then he needed to run… And I mean run! If it wasn’t outside than it would be around the house. Knocking over tables, lamps, chairs, refrigerators… You get the idea?
Exercising him was no problem in the summer months. We lived near the beach and that was his favorite place. It was my favorite place also. (In the summer) The best dog toy ever invented was the Chuckit! stick. (No affiliations) It is a two foot long plastic handle that grips a tennis ball. I could “chuck” a tennis ball a country mile with that thing! Blue would get down low and bark at me until I let it fly and the chase was on! He would take off in a four legged dog sprint and almost catch up to it before it hit the ground; catching it in his mouth on the bounce and planting all four paws in the sand, sliding and spinning to a stop and full speed back to me. He was fast!
Like I said, it was no problem in the summer. Wintertime was a different story. He needed an hour of this almost every night to burn off his energy or he would destroy the house. There I would be after work; the only asshole on the beach in February and 5 degree weather with the ocean winds blowing. (That’s minus 15 Celsius for those of you who live in less civilized countries.) Chucking that tennis ball until after the sun went down. The problem came when he learned he didn’t have to go home if he had the ball in his mouth. He knew when I had enough and wouldn’t drop it in front of me. Instead he would go into the ocean and lie down to cool off! I’m about to get hypothermia and he’s too hot! Lying in the water, tongue hanging out past the tennis ball, panting with steam rising off his back!
Well, I’m smarter than the average dog. I started bringing two tennis balls. I kept one in my back pocket until he pulled his trick and I pulled mine. “Blue, Blue.” He would perk up. Suddenly my ball was much more interesting than his and he would follow me back home.
He loved to swim. In the summer I would chuck the ball into the ocean and he would bring it back. Unless he lost it. Then he would swim around until he found it. If he couldn’t find it I would have to throw stones in the general direction. That is when I found out he liked to dive under the water and retrieve the rocks I threw. Yes, he was multi-talented.
He loved the beach a little too much. He had a one track mind. He would pull on his leash almost choking himself. We tried everything but eventually had to settle on letting him pull us around by his harness. If someone left a door to the house open a crack, that was all he needed to make his escape. After a while someone would say, “Where’s Blue?’ Of course he was on the beach. But which direction? I would flip a would walk to the right and look the length of the seawall and then go back to the left. He was easy to find. (Relatively) All I had to do was walk a mile or so until I saw a big dumb dog barking at someone until they threw the ball, Frisbee, stick, rock or whatever he found. “Yes, he’s my dog, sorry about that…”
Sometimes I wouldn’t have to go find him. The animal control officer would knock on the door. He knew us well… “Where was he this time? Sorry… ” Technically he was supposed to be taken to the doggie detention center and we would have to go down and bail him out with a hundred dollars. But come on… Did you see the picture? He would never make it in jail.
Blue would freak over “B” words. Of course his name. Blue? Beach? Ball? Bunny? Baloney? You get the picture. Inside the house he just wanted to be loved. If he wasn’t allowed on the couch or bed he would lie next to you and sigh…
If you don’t believe Labrador Retrievers are the best dogs, don’t take my word for it; ask the American Kennel Club. Labrador Retrievers have set a nearly 30 year record as most popular dog. Most because of their temperament. (As long as you don’t take them near the ocean I guess.) They are popular hunting dogs because they “retrieve” ducks from the lake which they love to swim in.
Some things I didn’t know about Labradors is they are commonly used for bomb, drug, cancer and diabetes detection. They are also the most popular service dogs or seeing eye dogs for the blind. Pretty darn smart for a big, dumb dog.
I got the idea for this post when Microsoft sent me some “on this day” photos and one was of him. Blue lived the life of Riley for 12 short years. The average lifespan of a Labrador.
I thought of the Rainbow Bridge Poem. I linked to it because I didn’t want to make anyone cry. But that is where Blue (and yes, your dog too) is waiting, just this side of heaven.