BEAUTIFUL BOTH INSIDE AND OUT
Is there such a thing as the perfect dog? I am here to tell you that there is because I fostered her. Her Planned Pethood name was Levine but she was to become Emmy Lou in her forever home. She had been unceremoniously dumped into one of the most dangerous pounds in the area and was scheduled for euthanasia. The time clock of her life was ticking down to zero. She was a stunningly beautiful and gentle yellow lab who was more than likely used as a breeder dog. But when she turned 8 or so, she was no longer of any use to those types of monsters.
She was starved, trembling, and infested with a nasty case of worms. How about that for the mother of your new puppy? Despite the probable nightmare of her former life, she was a mellow, endearing lady full of love and affection. She never needed a crate and got along with the other dogs and cats, both resident and foster, the second she walked through the door. She was also afflicted with the curse of most labs, a painful case of arthritis. But it never, ever affected her demeanor. I wish I could be one-tenth as positive as this sweetheart of a lab was 24/7.
Emmy was not destined to be with me for too long because the cavalry in the guise of Kelly, Pat, Lindsey, and Tori was on their way to town to rescue her. Their wonderful application had arrived explaining how they enjoyed senior dogs, especially labs (were they somehow reading my mind?). Their family already included one, Bailey, the black lab. And, as great as they were on paper, they were just as amazing in person. As they were getting to know Levine a little, Kelly took her out for a little spin. So I asked Tori what she intended to name her new sibling. She confessed she was totally relieved that I did not name her and that they thought Levine sounded like a bathroom spray. We both giggled at that.
Who better to describe Emmy’s life other than Kelly Clark and her daughter Tori? So in their own words…
Hey Judy! Better late then never, with our Emmy Lou stories. Why don't we start from the beginning. The night we met you to get Emmy, after we loaded her into the car our first stop was Wendy's drive through. This was when we discovered that she loved junior bacon cheeseburgers and fries... From that point forward anytime we got fast food we would make sure our furry family member got some too. FYI- about a year later, Dr. Chip, our vet, told us enough was enough and she was put on a doggy-diet! So we would treat Emmy to the occasional Tim Hortons turkey and egg white biscuit.
As you know, Emmy had a big sister named Bailey. We had Bailey her entire life, and we were a little nervous how the two would get along. It turns out, we had NOTHING to worry about. As soon as we got home, Emmy walked over to Bailey and lied down next to her. We started taking them on walks together. The thing is, Bailey was blind. Now how Emmy knew that was beyond us, but on the very first walk Bailey stood still at the end of the driveway, Emmy walked up next to her then stopped about a heads length in front of her. She got so close that their sides were touching. Bailey leaned in to Emmys side and they began the walk. From then on, we referred to Emmy as Bailey's seeing eye dog. They never needed leashes because Emmy always looked out for Bailey.
Besides walking together, Emmy and Bailey often held hands, or paws. We have many pictures of it. Whether outside on the patio, or inside in the living room, they would always lay next to each other or nose to nose.
Every summer we go to North Carolina and rent a house in the OBX. Two summers ago, Emmy was able to go with us. So we probably shouldn't tell you this, but it's too good of a story not to. We always rent a pet-friendly house, except that year. We must've over looked it. Since we were convinced Emmy was human, we didn't think it mattered, and we took her anyway! On the first day there, as we were getting ready to head to the beach, someone knocked on the door. We knew we had been busted. While someone went downstairs to open the door, me and mom rushed Emmy into the bathroom, shut the door and turned the shower on to hide her. Turns out it was a false alarm, just someone dropping off towels. This situation repeated multiple times over the course of the week!
Funny thing about Emmy, although she was a lab, she didn't like the water. Didn't matter if it was the groomer, our bathtub, the pond behind our house that Bailey loved, or even a pool, Emmy wanted no part of it. We learned this firsthand in North Carolina. She loved hanging out by the pool with us, but it got extremely hot, so we worried about her. We had a huge "L" shaped pool, with a step-in, shallow end about 6-12 inches deep. We picked Emmy up, and set her in that water. She froze. Literally. Didn't move an inch. We didn't know what to make of her! We poured cool water on her and she relaxed a bit. So Pat carried her into the deep end, to let her swim (they're swimming dogs, labs you know) and the craziest thing happened. She sank. She didn't move her arms, tail, paws, nothing. Just started to sink! Fortunately, Pat never left her side, and scooped her right up. Back to the shallow end she went! From that day forward, Emmy was banned from any water over her head.
Our next vacation adventure was taking her to the beach. Again, Emmy proved to be a unique lab. The sand and the water were a no go for her. She plopped down on the first sand bar she found, in typical Emmy fashion, she started attracting attention. Everyone stopped by to love on her, and to have their picture taken with her. We joked that she looked like a baby crocodile because of how she laid. Her front paws were folded outwards, just like a croc, and she had her "Emmy grin" ear to ear. It was one of our best vacations ever. And by the way, we cleaned up the house and dog poop, without leaving a trace.
Emmy went to Cincinnati with us, at least 100 times to visit family. Everyone loved her! My aunt and uncle have a small koi fish pond in their back yard. Problem is, when it snows, you don't know it's there... Last winter, while Emmy was visiting, she was let outside to go to the bathroom, and you can guess what happened. She walked right onto it, and fell through. Luckily, my uncle saw her and rescued her. They bundled her up, dried her off, and of course gave her a lot of treats. On a side note, Bailey got into that same exact pond, but on purpose. Killed a few fish, then jumped into the pool, turning it green, and tearing the liner. We still haven't lived that one down!
Although there are many more stories, these are a few of our favorites. We miss Emmy Lou terribly and wish to have had her throughout her whole life. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect dog.
Wow, Emmy just stepped into the role of seeing-eye dog for Bailey instinctively (my favorite image). I knew that girl was special! Em was very ill toward the end of her life. But she could not have been surrounded by a more caring and loving family. They went the extra mile, trying to keep her patched together. She broke their hearts when she left them. But she left an indelible mark on everyone she ever met. Both she and Bailey are now relieved of their pain and disabilities. And, I am happy to report there is a new love in the family’s life. They recently adopted Jack from PPI, a stunning yellow lab with definite star power. Jack lost his leg somewhere along the line but it doesn’t bother him or his new peeps, not one bit!
I would like to add another dog to this lab tribute. Recently, a five year old yellow lab named Sam was heading to us from pound. Sadly, the big handsome dude went into cardiac arrest and had to be put down before he could arrive. We are sending our love and respect and we will not forget you Sammy boy.
By Judy S