We have 2 four leggers in our household and they tend to provide a lot of comic relief around the house. Marely (on the left) is a gorgeous lab/beagle cross. and Clyde is a good-natured lab/rottweiler cross.
Marley is all girl. She is as moody as they come and she WILL get her way. She has two personalities, and the speed at which she can change for our cuddly girl to our “crazy as a loon” girl leaves us always on guard. She will steal your heart with how cute she is, but she can also back you into a corner fearing for your socks. When she hits those rangy moments, she is a dead ringer for Milo in Jim Carrey’s “The Mask”.
But the one who leaves us with years worth of stories has got to be Clyde. Clyde is dog #4 in our household and even his first day with us was an eventful one. And the stories just keep accumulating.
First and foremost Clyde loves his balls. He is happiest when he has a ball in his mouth. In fact, when I see him without a ball in his mouth, he just does not seems himself. He is a good fetcher. I would say that he is a great fetcher, but he has one quality that I am going to talk about a bit later that will explain the problem Clyde has with fetching.
Let’s start at day one. I was hosting a little golf day for about a dozen of my friends and their respective significant others. My significant other did not join us that day, as he was going to “LOOK” at a dog that might join our household. I reminded him that we were having 20 people over for a BBQ after golf, so under no circumstances was he to actually bring a new dog into our house on this busy day. A few of my friends beat me back to the house and it seemed they were waiting in the front yard to see my reaction. My reaction to what, you ask. Yup. Clyde, our new dog was running around our back yard. It really was our first glimpse into the relationship Clyde has with balls. Clyde was relentless in his ability to fetch. He was proving to all of us that his endurance for the sport of fetch could even surpass the endurance of 22 of us to throw the ball for him.
It was a warm day, and another thing we had yet to learn about Clyde was his love of the water. We had one of those ring top pools that stood 48″ tall. After many many trips to the back fence chasing the ball, apparently Clyde was in the mood for a dip. He bound over the ring top and “SPLASH” – jumped right into the flipping pool. I had no idea if this mutt could swim, so I dove in after him to save him. Turns out he was fine, but me – I needed a beer. This dog, I thought, is crazy.
Day 1 we also learned that Clyde had no internal sensor to tell him when to quit. His ability to self-regulate is non-existent. He wore himself out to such an extent that he literally had to lay down to drink. And…..my friends all got a real good laugh when they realized that he did not even have to put down his ball in order to lap up the wet stuff. He was able to keep a firm grasp on the slobbery old tennis ball while quenching his thirst. I was beginning to suspect that there was a lot left to learn about this guy.
And learn we did. We learned that this obsession with tennis balls was going to be an expensive habit. It started when one of the boys rolled his ball across the living room floor. The ball hit the banister and rolled right through the balusters and on down the stairs. Clyde, with no thought other than the shortest path to the ball, followed the exact path of the ball – RIGHT THROUGH THE BANISTER. The banister is now replaced with solid wrought iron balusters – cost $1500.
One day we left for work, the kids left for school, and a tragic occurrence happened without our knowing it. We can only guess. My guess is that the tennis ball momentarily left Clyde’s mouth, when he then hit the ball with his front paw, and it rolled – under our new leather couch. Again, we can only guess at the length of time Clyde spent in complete oblivion to all else but the immediate problem of how to get that ball. There would never have been any doubt in his mind that he would get that ball. My guess, judging by the evidence left behind, is that it took Clyde a great deal of time to rip all the leather off the side panel and back panel of the couch. It was good leather. The couch is now replaced with a cloth couch that was chosen not for its style nor its colour – but simply because it is low enough to the ground that no tennis ball can roll under it. The new couch cost $2200.
With Clyde’s need to cool himself down after hours of fetch, he seemed to adopt our ring top pool as his own personal cooling hole. The initial worry about him drowning in the pool was quickly allayed as he learned how to pull himself out of the pool and over the edge. Clyde with nary a regard for collateral damage, was oblivious to the small holes he left behind in the ring top. Small holes that eventually called for a full replacement of the pool. Our new solid sided pool cost us $649.
And the obsession with balls continued. Clyde has taken down kids who were unfortunate enough to be in the straightest path between him and a tennis ball. He has ripped out our baby gate to get to the mini sticks ball. He has torn apart brand new soccer balls, eaten rugby balls, destroyed bouncy balls and ripped apart at least 100 tennis balls. He has scratched solid wood chairs to bits to get a ball that went under it. He can smell out a tennis ball a mile away and will got through forest and across busy highways to get to the prize. His obsession with balls seems to grow stronger every day and we have taken drastic steps in our household to safely accommodate this obsession.
Now they say that dogs are mans best friends. If Clyde was a person, I am pretty sure by now I would be beyond pissed at him. But he offers loyalty without question. He offers company no matter how poorly we are acting. He leaves us with stories that will keep us laughing for years. And our household would not be complete without him.