Saturday, May 10, 2008

Blast from the past

Today Graham left and I sat around for hours doing nothing but clicking around aimlessly on the internet. Then I got off my ass and took Cersei to the dog park.

The Internet has told me that other cities have official "dog parks." Apparently it's like a park with a fence, where you're allowed to bring your dog* and let it play with other dogs? We don't have those. We have Overton Park, which has an unofficial dog park area. You walk past the playground, out to the large grassy area, past the sign sternly warning you that all dogs must be on leashes. Then you look around to see if any blatantly unsocialized or scary dogs are mauling small dogs or children, and you unclip your dog and let her go run around loose. Cersei met a Bouvier, a lab/pit, a boxer, a long-haired Chihuahua, two dachshunds, a Great Dane, two goldens, two chows, a couple of mutts, and another Lab.

*as long as it's not a man-eating pit bull.**
** I love pit bulls; "man-eating" is sarcasm.

I let Cersei go explore and hung out near some nice drunken Midtown barbequers. (This weekend is setup weekend, next weekend is the official Memphis in May Barbecue Contest. The guy I was talking to had been drinking beer and setting up his team's cooker since 8am.) They had a 9 month old Bouvier des Flanders, which was already the size of a mini horse.

It's official, Cersei is 100% Lab, English type. There was an unmistakable half-Lab half-pit bull there (wandering around being perfectly normal), and Cersei doesn't look a damn thing like he did. He had (proportionally) small eyes, small ears, huge alligator jaws, a huge chest, and small legs. She's got small-ish ears and a slightly large chest, but she's perfectly lab-colored, lab-coated, and lab-built. She's also a perfectly normal dog.

I've gotten pretty used to her. She's a retriever-oriented dog, but not at all obsessive-compulsive about fetching things. I brought the ball chucker and two tennis balls, in case she wanted to fetch for me, but she didn't actually bring me anything. She wandered around, acting normal and getting to know the other dogs. I stayed busy making a TRUE LAB very very happy for an hour.

See, I think "true" labs are obsessive-compulsive about retrieving. Just like a true sheepdog is obsessive-compulsive about herding, or a true terrier is OC about going down holes, a true lab is kinda psychotic about GETTING THE BALL and BRINGING THE BALL and GETTING THE HUMAN TO THROW THE BALL over and over again. Linux was absolutely insane about retrieving. This other Lab I met today, Cain, was the same way. It was really nice and really melancholy at the same time.

Cain is an intact chocolate American-type* Lab. His poor owner only wanted to go play frisbee with his human buddies, and he was kind of sheepish about his OC dog and kind of grateful that somebody wanted to throw the ball for him. I'll say this for his owner - the guy's been training his dog. I unfortunately know very little about real retriever training, but this dog knew the basics and his owner knew what he was teaching him. Arm signals to tell the dog to go over yonder, voice commands for "get back over here" and "go look for the object," very serious stuff. I just made Cain sit before I'd throw the ball, cause I'm easy like that.

*American Labs, IMO, are the ugly cousins of English type Labs. English Labs are short stout little bulldozer dogs, with a lovely block head with a well-defined stop, an otter (wide base) tail, and a true hard double coat. American labs are kinda houndy looking - taller legs, skinnier torso, feathery coat (!), more streamlined head. I might be completely wrong about this, but that's what I've picked up in ten years in Memphis.

Anyway... Cain reminded me so much of Linux. I miss Linux. He was seriously flawed, and I'm still not sure that it's not my fault, but he was a fun dog. I loved him so much. I just adore Cersei, and there's no way those two could coexist... but damn, I miss Linux sometimes. I still can't really think about him without crying.

Cersei's more sane, more "normal", and I learned a lot from raising Linux. I'm probably making mistakes with her, but they're not the same mistakes, and she's not the same dog. I love Cersei, as much as I love Champ or Graham.

God, I hope Graham never finds this blog. He'd be so offended that he's equal to Cersei... but it's true. Glad he liked her when he met her :)


  1. Oh yay!

    Also you're pulling ahead of her. She was not the slightest bit understanding of me yesterday. I was all woozy from drugs and she was relentlessly squeaking the damn football all night.


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