A Moment With Mr. Moose

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In September 2018, we adopted a 4 month old Black Lab puppy. His back story is simple, but important. We can’t verify this, but we think he originally came from a puppy mill. A breeder came to the Mankato, MN humane society with a litter of 4 week old puppies who got into some rat poison. He didn’t want to deal with it, so he dumped them on the shelter, telling them they could euthanize or rehabilitate them as they liked. I’ll spare you any literary drama, since we have the dog, and obviously the shelter did the work to help the litter survive.

At some point, a young woman adopted Moose (who was called Kevin … like the minion … at the time). It didn’t take long for her to realize that it was not necessarily the wisest decision at her stage in life. He needed to be given medication. He needed to be trained. He needed some extra TLC considering he was separated from his mother too soon. And as labs do, he started to grow. With that, his needs for activity and attention also grew. The woman in question is a recent college grad working as a manager of a retail store. That means a 60 hour week on average. She knew she needed to find a home for the puppy, and had him at her parent’s house for a limited time.

Through one of those friend of a friend situations, we found out about him, and after a quick visit, he came home with us. Fortunately, his medical needs only required a vet check up for some shots and a final week of medication from the rat poison incident. He was crate trained, and almost potty trained, but being so young he could only hold it for so long.

As labs at that stage are, he was a royal pain in ways that made us (me, mostly) want to second guess the decision to bring him into our home, but now that he’s passing the 8 month old stage, we’re beginning to see the first signs of settling down into what we hope to be the “good boy” years. And that bring me to today.

There is still plenty of work to do with his training. His recall stinks, and he likes to jump on people (in a friendly way), counter surf, and grab off limits items for a game of keep away if he’s bored. Oh, and there’s this other little detail of two cats who already live here. They all get to stay separated from each other, and will likely be that way for some time. But today he and I had a true bonding moment. There have been plenty of games, pets, and loves, but not like this. He was settling down for his afternoon nap time, an we had a nice, long, slow blinking gaze at each other with soft ear rubs. For a dog who normally likes to be in the room with you while not being too near (unless he’s playing), that’s a big deal. It means there’s a genuine bond forming, and who doesn’t want that with their dog?

Jason Blair