Labrador Retriever adds quality to life

Jenipher Appleton with MolsonLiving in Balance
By Jenipher Appleton

My husband and I are ‘dog people’ and part of our balanced lifestyle is to own a dog. Since we have lived on our country property in Ailsa Craig, we have always had a Labrador Retriever. Molson, a shiny, sleek, black lab, was one of these beloved pets. Even when he was ten years old, people would say he looked like a puppy. His character matched his appearance.
In 1999 we temporarily moved from our property to a rented farmhouse. This was so our home could be torn down and transformed into the timber frame structure it is today. We rented the farmhouse for just over sixteen months and during that time, Molson had more than a few adventures. This article recounts one of them.
The 1870 farmhouse was equipped with a parlour, which we used as our living room. It was connected to a hallway that led to the ample wooden porch. One autumn Saturday morning I sat contentedly with coffee and newspaper, while our son Andrew lay on the rug with a crossword puzzle. The peaceful start to the day was not to last.
It was a refreshingly cool morning and the wooden door to the porch was open, leaving the aluminum storm door to close the entryway. Out of nowhere a loud volley of crashes and thumps came thundering across the broad wooden porch. Molson, ever the watchdog, responded as one might expect; he leapt to the storm door to see what was approaching. As he lunged at the glass, his black head and forepaws shattered the glass and went through. On the recoil he staggered back onto the hall rug, bleeding and yelping. Meanwhile, multiple screams could be heard from the porch and disappearing back to the driveway. Andrew took over the first aid of the ‘puppy’ and I went to investigate the rude intrusion. It turned out that a group of Beavers (not the rodent four-legged type, but the Boy Scouts of Canada type) were out on their annual apple drive. Their leaders, who had remained inside their van, allowed these primary-age children to go thundering excitedly across the front porch of a stranger’s house. One never knows what species of watchdog might be waiting either on the porch or within the house. Not everybody has a friendly Labrador.
I informed the little group that Molson was harmless, but as a result of his protective nature was now bleeding on the hall rug. I suggested that in future they approach strange houses in a calmer manner. After a weak apology from one of the leaders, I took an apple, gave them a $2 coin and bade them farewell. Andrew and I took Molson immediately to the vet where he received stitches inside his nose as well as inside the pads of his forepaws. $250 did the trick.
Molson lived another healthy six years after that event and continued to bring joy and love into our family every day; he passed away last December. Now we have a brand new Yellow Labrador puppy named Fergus to add to our balanced lifestyle. He has a tough act to follow.

Jenipher can be reached at: nature at grandbendstrip dot com