There are better things, I suppose, than saving dogs from boredom, but I suspect Lexi would argue to the contrary.
Lexi’s anxiety has turned out to be nothing but pure boredom, a common ailment in the Labrador Retriever. She may have confidence issues too, but I’m unable to diagnose those because she is constantly with another dog. Both Jazzmin and Jet are very confident, low stress and happy go lucky dogs. I think their condition is highly contagious and Lexi has definitely caught the bug.
Since arriving almost three weeks ago, Lexi has gone from a very quiet, very reserved dog to an annoying, obnoxious, barking pain in the rear. She’s just like every Lab I have ever loved. She is definitely a tomboy. She loves to run in the mud and get filthy. Rolling in the grass is a favorite past time. Chewing on Jet’s head is her primary occupation and, when she’s not doing that, there are walks and games and toys and all kinds of wondrous things but mostly, there is Jet.
Jet and Lexi have become inseparable.
If you can imagine a dog that exudes confidence in just about every situation, I promise, what you are picturing is Jet. Jet has yet to meet anything that scares him. Thunderstorms? Ha! He laughs at thunder! Rain? Not a problem, he likes getting soaked to the skin. Strangers? He’s never met a one that wasn’t worth barking at first and getting pats from later. Jet is by far and away the most resilient dog I have ever met. He just has one problem. He needs structure. He’s not a dog for someone who can’t give him rules and he only thrives in an environment where he is expected to mind. If I were to forget to do obedience training with him for even one day, he would bark himself hoarse before bedtime and come back for seconds the next morning. Jet was not a dog for just any adopter and he told me this the night I adopted him when he thanked me for bringing him home with a single kiss to my cheek before passing out on my shoulder. On the scale of Labradors I have owned, Jet is the most difficult dog I have encountered to date because he requires a lot of effort.
It turns out, the amount of effort I have to put into keeping Jet in line, and keeping my family sane, is similar to the amount of effort Lexi really needed to be happy. It only took us ten days to get to a place where I feel that Lexi has started to open up and show us her true colors. Most of the dogs I have adopted have needed much more time to start making that transition. It took Lucy three months to show me her silly belly. It took Jazzmin about that long to realize that she was staying for good and her owner, whom she loved, was not coming back for her and that things here weren’t so bad because there was a lot of fetch to be played and a lot of cuddling on the couch to be had. Jet was so excited to be out of the shelter, that he spent the first 48 hours making us absolutely crazy, so crazy that I wondered if I’d adopted the wrong dog. He had been in the shelter for so long, that when he got sprung from doggie jail, he practically exploded in activity. I think he had to catch up on all the stuff he didn’t get to do while he was behind bars. Thankfully, he was just making up for lost time. He didn’t start to relax and do stuff, like take naps, until Christmas though, and we adopted him before Halloween.
I am so completely in love with Lexi now. It really didn’t take her all that long to capture my heart, the first time she kissed my nose with the single swipe kiss that was Lucy’s trademark, I loved her. She reminds me of Mugen sometimes too. I did find myself wanting to distance from her a little at first because the similarities were almost too much. Now, those things just make see how different she is and how she is very much her own dog. When she does those things that Mugen used to do though, I smile and cry at the same time. Her bark is very similar to Mugen’s. She plays the way he did and when she climbs into bed with me, she has to have her head on my feet. It’s kind of like she’s here to look out for me in Mugen’s place. She and Jet remind me so much of Mu and Lu when they were together that I find myself missing them a lot these days.
Jazzmin can tell when I’m missing them and that I’m going to be weepy. She sits on my feet where ever I’m at and just waits for the tears to start. The other two are oblivious until I’m already grabbing the kleenex and then, they usually do what Mugen and Lucy would do when I was having a bad day.
They cause trouble.
Trouble making seems to be what Labradors do best and it has led me to be of the firm belief that absolutely no adult on this earth should be in charge of Labradors, or children for that matter, before they have had their first latte. Many of the Mugen and Lucy antics that I have told stories of, happened in the wee hours of the morning, just before I’d finished my first cuppa. Many bras and walls and furniture items were destroyed by my love of big, boisterous, obnoxious dogs. Many shoes, too.
The time to worry is the same time it has always been, when things are completely quiet. I enjoy quiet so much in the mornings, that I often don’t pay attention to the fact that it’s gotten too quiet. I also got comfortable with the fact that quiet used to mean that Jazz and Jet were just napping, but since Lexi arrived, naps are the exception, not the rule. I really should know better, but in my caffeine deprived haze, it’s hard to focus on the fact that dead silence means something is very, very wrong.
Such were the events of this morning. I sat down to work on this blog post and play my cheesy Facebook games. I had my coffee in hand and Jazzmin at my feet. Things were noisy for a few minutes and then I got sucked in to writing and then started farting around. Eventually, as I’d drained half of my first latte, I realized that it was way too quiet. So quiet, that the dogs could not possibly be napping, because all three of them snore.
When I concentrated on the quiet, I realized that I could hear the sounds of two dogs romping around in the other room. For a moment, I thought they had the rope. Lexi and Jet love to play tug. I started to turn back to my laptop, thinking all was well. Then I noticed that the rope was sitting next to my laptop on the counter.
Two words went through my mind.
I got up and ran into the other room and shouted “STOP!” at the top of my lungs. Lexi and Jet both stopped and, by some unusual twist of fate, they both sat, as I’d been trying to teach them to do when I make them stop wrestling around. Lexi had her tongue hanging out of her mouth and she looked quite pleased with herself.
Jet had something pink hanging out of his mouth too, but it wasn’t his tongue.
When I approached him, I had him drop the item. Jet’s “drop it” is 100%. I seriously love that about this dog, if I ask him to drop steak portions, he’ll do it. So the pink item hit the floor right away. I gave Jet his cookie and then went to inspect the stolen goods.
I shook my head and laughed when I picked them up.
It was perfectly appropriate on a day like this, when I am missing Mugen and Lucy so badly, that Jet stole a pair of underwear while my back was turned.
The underwear were destroyed, so I tossed them in the garbage and then I sat down and hugged my mischievous boy and gave him a kiss. Jet kissed me back, then wiggled out of my arms and took the rope off the counter so the game could start all over again.
Jazzmin came and sat down beside me and I put my arm around her while we watched the other two dogs play and I said to her, “I think Lexi’s fitting in just fine.” Jazz snorted at me and then leaned into my shoulder so I could hug her and we sat there together and I couldn’t stop smiling.
Amazing what a little game of tug can do.