We’ve had a great couple of weeks at the Carlin residence – known for years in this blog as Cul de sac Corner. (Of course there are no corners in a cul de sac. It is my own metaphorical little corner of suburbia, and is in fact on a cul de sac.) Digression aside, it has been great, thanks to the lab-mix puppy we have been fostering via the Roanoke Valley SPCA.
The first mistake I made was naming him Chowder. I’m not proud of the fact that this is the third black lab I have named Chowder. The first came when I was six and Mom and Dad told me we could get a puppy. For reasons unknown to me, I thought he should be called Chowder. When he passed on a few years later, we got another lab,and I gave him the same name.
To my credit, there have been many labs since the second Chowder and they have had different names — Drake, Buckroe, Fortune and Torch. There has also been an English Pointer named Dixie, a Brittany spaniel named Joe and my current crop of lap dogs — Moose, Boone and Pippa.
The problem is that my two weeks of fostering Chowder III are over. Wednesday (12/11) he will go back to the SPCA where he will be available for adoption. I expect he will find a new home almost immediately. He’s smart, handsome, behaves well and has those huge paws that make big dog puppies look so cool.
I know I should be happy for having gotten him through the two weeks since he and his litter-mates arrived at the SPCA. For having socialized him by taking him to stores, walks along a local creek and even a visit to the TV station. I taught him to sit, and discovered that he loves to fetch.
What I wasn’t expecting was the walk down memory lane that came with all of that. All of a sudden I was a kid again throwing a Frisbee in the back yard for the 2nd Chowder, who went everywhere with me for years. I was taken back to teaching Buck and Drake to fetch on whistle commands in the 1980’s. I remembered how much fun a big dog could be and how different life with a lab is compared to my current bunch. (Don’t get the wrong idea. There’s a lot of upside to small dogs and I love them dearly.)
With Chowder III my thoughts returned to getting back in the woods more often. I considered how much found it would be to watch him grow up tromping through the creeks and swamps, going for rides in the canoe and riding around in the back of my new 4 x 4. I really wanted to see him run down the dock and jump in the water.
But that’s when it comes back to life at Cul de sac Corner. While I know I could provide enough exercise for a lab between walks, hikes and what not, there just isn’t room in our house or life for a fourth dog.
Not even a black lab named Chowder.