Friday, July 27, 2012

The "6 pack", Dog Days of Summer

How many dogs does it take to make a pack?  Does anyone know what the official number is?  I know I don't but I think we are getting close at my house!!  Here, let me explain.

I come from a family of Labrador breeders, so of course, I have labs....3 of them.   They are big dogs, about 110 pounds a piece.  Well one is smaller, that would be Butch the rescue lab, he is only 75 lbs. My house is not huge so 3 big dogs is a lot. We go through a lot of kibble, boxes and boxes of cookies, and bags and bags of "beggin strips" (they love those things)

This is Mason- AKA Hyspire Secret Society
Here he is doing what he does best second only to eating!
Two of my dogs, the big ones came from my family's kennel. (feel free to check out their website at  They were going to be great show dogs, champions for sure! But my mom, being a very conscientious breeder, only breeds and shows the very best of her dogs.  They are all checked for any genetic defects, bad hips, elbows, eyes, heart defects, anything that could be a detriment to the breed is tested for.  Occasionally a very near perfect dog has a minor defect, and therefor must go to a pet home.  I have two of those dogs.  The first one I got was Mason.  He is, as you can see a big handsome lovable yellow lab.  He tends to lean towards the over weight side.  We have to watch his food intake carefully.  His defect still has not been clearly identified, although we are all leaning towards something neurological.  He is hard of hearing, cannot swim (flips upside down in the water) and although not stupid- not all there either.  Since my mom couldn't guarantee it wasn't genetic she chose not to show or breed him.  Now he is mine.  We love him dearly.

Mason before his diet- he looks much better now.

The next dog we got was Smarty, he is also drop dead gorgeous, actually more conformationally correct than Mason.  Smarty was all set to be sold to another very good breeder, but had to have his heart checked first.  As it turned out he had a very minor heart defect.  That is genetic, and although completely undetectable without a special machine, it excluded him from entering the gene pool.  We were lucky enough to get to bring him home. 

Hyspire Mr. Smarty Pants- "Smarty"

 Smarty is some kind of special. He is the stealer of stuffed animals, the pillow pet assassin, he is a hoarder. He finds things and takes them to his "secret place". He thinks he is a lap dog. He is about 3 now but still so much a puppy at heart. For a dog with a heart defect, he has the biggest heart of any dog I have ever known.  The other night when I was up all night with a nasty bladder infection.  My sweet Smarty stayed by my side all night.  The other dogs were off sleeping, but not the black dog.

The third addition to the family was Butch.  One day my dogs got out of the yard.  The pound picked up Mason (Smarty just went back home) and since he is microchipped, called me immediately.  When I was at the pound walking through to find where they had my convict dog, I saw this face.....

This is Butch

Yeah, that face.  How can you resist that face.  They tried to tell he he was five.  If that dog is 5 I am 20.  It is hard for and old dog to get adopted, so I knew I had to step in and bring him home.  It was a little touch and go at first, he did not get along with the other dogs.  He was especially mean to Smarty and I was constantly having to break up fights.  Finally one day I saw him barking and growling in Smartys face who was not retaliating, and I just went out and let Butch have it!!!  I made it very clear to him that aggression is not tolerated, and it has never been a problem since.  I guess he just needed to know the rules.  Now they all get along just great!

Butch is wicked smart, super well trained.  I cannot imagine how no body went to look for him.  I often wonder what his life was like before.  He has severe elbow displaysia and many broken teeth, but a wonderful attitude, and full of energy.  His nick name is "Mr. Butchinson Sir"  He is old enough to demand respect!

Mason losing his first game of tug of war

Yesterday a friend dropped off his two dogs they are Dakota, a female chocolate lab (spayed thank goodness as all my boys are still intact)  and Jr. Mint, who is Border Collie mix of some kind.  Jr Mint is still a puppy.  She only has one eye.  She was kicked in the head by a horse (not mine) and lost the eye.  Its still in there, but it doesn't work.

 Dakota, Mason, and Smarty (cookie time)

This is Jr. Mint- she is quite the character!

Jr. Mint spends all, and I do mean all of her time terrorizing the other dogs.  She bites their butts, she jumps on them she chases them, she steals their toys, pulls on their tails.  The only one she sort of leaves alone is Mason.  He has given her a couple of good growls to warn her to leave him alone.  Dakota, ever the mom puts up with her, and really plays well with her. Smarty seems to enjoy her too.  They will be staying till Sunday.   5 dogs is really alot for our house, but we make it work and since the weather is nice they spend a good portion of time outside. 

I cannot tell the story of the dog pack with out adding the one who is no longer with us. 

Dugan was Tom's faithful companion for 11 years.  He was by far one of the smartest dogs I have ever met.  He loved Tom dearly and of course it was reciprocated.  Dugan went everywhere with Tom, to work, to the store, to chase truck parts, everywhere.  Last summer we came home to find blood on the front porch.  He had left Dugan home that day because riding in the pick up was becoming hard on his old bones. When we examined him we found he had been bit by a snake.  We rushed him to the vet, who was surprised that he was even still alive.  But in fact he was alert and walking around.  Just a little swollen in the nose.  He was given fluids and antibiotics.  He seemed to recover although not totally. 2 weeks later, he started having trouble breathing.  We took him back in but it was too late.  He died of pneumonia the next day.  It was a hard day for all of is,  and we still miss him.

So there is the story of the "6 pack" in my herd.  I think it is amazing that prey animals and predators can actually learn to co-exist peacefully.  My dogs and horses often share the same yard (hey free lawn mowers ya know)  There is never any issue.

Oh and one more you know why dogs wag their tails?

It is not because they are happy, it is so they can be happy!

If you don't believe me stop what you are doing (reading) and stand up and wag your tail.

Guaranteed to make you smile!!!!

1 comment:

  1. I love your labs! Well, to be honest, I love labs in general :)
    But yours have the look I prefer, the shorter blockier noses as opposed to the narrower longer ones.
    As for Mason, oh my... a lab that can't swim!?! :o lol