Casey was born in a litter of what was supposed to be red Labradors. (Red is worth more money because it’s rare.) Our guy came out white, though, and with a shorter tail than he should have had. Because of this, the breeder labeled him as sub-standard for the litter and discounted him. Turns out, his tail lengthened (maybe not to show-quality length, but it’s certainly not short) and his coat darkened.
When he was one year old, we went back to the breeder to get a second dog. She looked at Casey’s face and his color and said she’d made a mistake. The dog she kept to breed as “pick of the litter” was not as handsome as our dog. Sure, our dog’s coat isn’t quite as red as the pup she kept, but he’s definitely gorgeous—beautiful enough to have been her best of litter pick.
I like to think he turned out so well because he’s been raised with so much love.
Here’s a story of life with our first pet, a story showing his rambunctious side, in honor of his seventh birthday.
He was the first dog any of them had ever had. Mom and Dad didn’t have pets when they grew up, and they waited until their son and daughter were responsible enough to care for a pet before they welcomed one into their family. (Go ahead and laugh at that one.)
“Pleeeeeease, Mom,” she said. “Can’t we pleeeeease get a dog?”
“We’ll take good care of him,” he said. “We’ll walk him and feed him and clean up after him.”
“And bathe him,” she added.
“Look at his cute face.”
They carried the laptop to their mom and showed her the dog’s picture for the hundredth time.
“Can’t you imagine playing with him?” he said. “How much fun he’ll be?”
“I know the work he’ll be,” Mom said.
But they kept begging and promising. Dad joined in their campaign. And Mom caved. They brought Casey home in October 2010.
They didn’t know what they were getting themselves into.
Casey needed to be leashed in the house and tied to people or doorknobs because he got into everything. This isn’t to say he was curious. No. That’s a gross understatement. He got into EVERYTHING. All the time. Any second of freedom was an opportunity to explore. And he was thorough.
Once, when Grandma was watching him, she didn’t have him leashed because the kids wanted to play with him. The mailman came to deliver a package, and she opened the door to him—not considering the consequences. Casey was out the door in a streak of tawny fur and seated in the mailman’s jeep, tongue lolling and tail wagging, ready to go for a ride. That time was laughable. The times he escaped and ran through the neighborhood? Not nearly as fun.
But this story isn’t about his “toddler” years. This is about when he was a puppy.
The kids were playing with him in the den when Mom went grocery shopping. When she came home, she could already hear her little dogling barking at the door. She fought with the knob—her hands were full with bags—and managed to open the door just a crack.
Just a crack, mind you.
And a fast little furball darted into the garage.
Mom was glad she’d already closed the bay door. He couldn’t escape. But she was a bit put out when she had to crawl under the car to retrieve her naughty pupper.
Casey spent the rest of the day perfecting the “puppy dog eyes” look that we’ve all heard so much about. It was difficult to stay mad at him when his expression begged for forgiveness.
It didn’t hurt that the grease spot on his head made him look so pathetic—and took a week to wear off.
Cut to Casey’s seventh birthday—today. He’s long past the time where he had to be leashed, caged, or watched so carefully. He’d rather snuggle up with us on the sofa than explore the house and grounds. (He does still come into the garage when I bring in groceries, but he no longer goes under the vehicles.)
He’s adorable, just the right amount of mischievous, and the most loveable Lab in the world. (Well, he’s probably tied with his brother.)
Happiest birthday to our big moose, Casey Figment! And here’s to many more.
Filed under the WordPress daily prompt: Substandard
(although it’s with protest, because there’s nothing wrong with our discount dog)