Surviving Charlie the yellow lab
By Joel McNeece
He has ears softer than a brand new Teddy bear. His cool nose pressed against your cheek forces you to give in to his demands for a hug, and those eyes, his big, puppy eyes will cause you to melt on the spot.
How can something so irresistibly cute and cuddly, with an ever-so-brief turn of your back, transform into a menace capable of turning a house inside out — literally.
Introducing Charlie McNeece, the prettiest yellow lab you’ve ever laid eyes on who I described as having won the lottery in this very column when we brought him home last July.
That hasn’t changed. He’s still an overwhelming winner. I just missed the part of how much I would lose.
Step-daughter Jo Ellen text me a picture Monday afternoon of the giant new dog bed my wife Lisa bought for no longer little Charlie. It was at the back door. “I think he was taking it outside,” Jo Ellen said.
He no doubt would have succeeded had she not interrupted. Seemingly everything else from the house has ended up outside at some point, and what should be outside has been brought inside, such as every piece of wood out of the log rack for the fire pit, vinyl siding that was stored under the shed, flower pots and a few shrubs Charlie obviously didn’t care for their placement in the flower bed.
I didn’t think we could ever have another Jack. He is our now 11-year-old yellow lab who loves to lie at your feet and occasionally get his head rubbed. There are few things in life better than an old dog.
I was trying to remember how bad Jack really was when I looked up a column I had written in 2007.
“Many days I arrive home from work to find pillow stuffing in every room of the house. We’ve been through at least four remote controls that were chewed to smithereens. Leaving the closet door cracked is a colossal mistake. You will find one of your shoes hours later in a corner of the house, if still wearable, it’s at best a bit mangled and quite soggy. When doing laundry, we can’t leave the next load of clothes for the washing machine lying in the floor. I’ve lost several shirts that way. Jack likes to stand on them and grab a mouthful and jerk upwards. The ripping sound seems to really excite him.”
Charlie loves that “ripping” sound just as much. He would more likely, however, carry the shirts outside and run through every mudhole, then charge back into the house and race to the couch, bed or cleanest rug and rip the shirts up then. All while Jack just lies there and watches, occasionally throwing in a few barks to try and alert someone “Little Charlie” is at it again.
When it was Jack causing all the mischief, we had an old black lab, Daisy, and old border collie, King, that were equally befuddled. They barked at Jack a lot more than he shouts at Charlie.
Come to think of it Daisy and King were a pair of trouble makers when they were young, and our older yellow labs, Chandler and Carter, put up with them.
Charlie will eventually out grow this need to destroy everything as well, I just hope we still have a house standing when he does.
Joel McNeece is publisher of The Calhoun County Journal in Bruce. You may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.