L is for LABRADOR RETRIEVER | #AtoZChallenge

52 Comments#AtoZChallenge 2016, Blogfests, Dogs, Writing/Blogging
#AtoZChallenge 2016 G is for Golden Retriever
Welcome everyone, to the #AtoZChallenge Blogging Extravaganza, where hundreds of bloggers publish 26 posts in 30 days, one for each letter of the alphabet, covering a myriad of topics! “Dog Breeds & Anecdotes” is my theme. Click HERE to see all posts and HERE to view the participants. Please support our efforts by visiting, sharing and commenting. We have all worked long and hard on this project. Have fun and thanks for reading!
#AtoZChallenge Day 12: L is for LABRADOR RETRIEVER
Day 12, April 14


The Labrador Retriever is a breed of sporting dog that originated in Newfoundland and was brought to England by fishermen around 1800. It is an outstanding gun dog, consistently dominating field trials. Standing 21.5 to 24.5 inches (55 to 62 cm) and weighing 55 to 80 pounds (25 to 36 kg), it is more solidly built than other retrievers and has shorter legs. Distinctive features include its otterlike tail, thick at the base and tapered toward the end, and its short, dense coat of black, brown (“chocolate”), or yellow. The Labrador retriever is characteristically rugged, even-tempered, and gentle. It has been used in military and police work, as a rescue dog, and as a guide dog for the blind. An ideal family pet, the Labrador retriever has become the most popular dog breed in the world. – Encyclopedia Britannica

Given the Lab’s worldwide popularity, it’s no surprise that I have known and loved many of them. Black Labs in particular strike me as beautiful, especially the way their shiny coats glisten in the sun. This post would turn into a marathon read if I talked about all of them, so here’s a select sampling:

#AtoZChallenge 2016: L is for Labrador RetrieverMUSKOKA
Excerpt from Chapter Four of “Adventures in Dog Sitting”
Muskoka was a massive yellow lab and a first ever dog for his owners, Rick and Janet. They travelled a lot, so, he stayed with me often. A wonderful guest indoors; he didn’t bother with the other dogs much and was perfectly house trained. You can imagine how important this is to a dogsitter! (It’s one of my stipulations, but some people actually lie about it.) Outside was a whole different story, however. Muskoka had a fetish. Anything he saw on the ground was immediately swallowed, no matter what it was. Kleenex, lost gloves, even cigarette butts. Shortly after he was dropped off one day, I took him for a walk and he immediately threw up a large pile of them. Disgusting! Continue reading ►

MAX & JAKE#AtoZChallenge: Labrador Retirever
Excerpt from Chapter Seven of “Adventures in Dog Sitting”:
These two were quite a pair! Max (in back), came first. I met him when he was just over a year old; adorable, but still very much an adolescent. He was an “only child” at the time and enjoyed playing with, (more like body checking), the other dogs in residence. Rough. rowdy, rambunctious; that was Max! One day, there were too many dogs to walk all at once, so I split them into two shifts. Knowing Max would be upset if left behind, he was in the first group. This did not appease him one bit. Imagine my astonishment at finding tooth marks in the vertical blinds! Max had bitten right through them while I was out with the second group. Good thing we had some spare ones and Max eventually grew out of this destructive phase. Continue reading ►
[Caution: this one has an especially sad ending!]

More Loveable Labs:

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Do you like Labs?
Would you share / have you shared your home with one?

Looking forward to your comments!


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Debbie D.
Canine Innkeeper in suburban Toronto, Canada, known as "The Doglady". Writer/website owner, photographer, animal lover, music fanatic, inveterate traveller. History, literature and cinema buff. Eternal "hippie/rockchick". Binational, German/Canadian and multilingual. Looking for the next adventure!
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52 thoughts on “L is for LABRADOR RETRIEVER | #AtoZChallenge

  1. That was a sad ending for Max and Jake’s story 🙁 What an adorable pair and such good company for each other. We used to have a lab mix and she was the sweetest dog ever. I think if I ever got another dog, it would probably be another lab.

    1. Yes, I had a difficult time writing the story of Max and Jake. 🙁 Thanks for reading it. Labs are high on my list of favourite breeds also, especially black ones. I’m trying to convince my husband.

  2. Oh…the lab….I love labs as they are so gentle and yet so goofy. My Katie was 1 yr old and dug many holes outside. She loved laying in the sun which was not always great since it would be too warm. I would have to bring her in, much to her chagrin. My mom lived in the upstairs apt that is only attainable through my downstairs so as soon as I was gone, up she went to be with Oma. At first my mom would place a box in front of the stairs to prevent her from coming up, but as time passed she would sing German lullabies to her:) Katie knew my mom was scared of thunder so would always go up to be with my mom. When my mom went out, Katie would grab just her one slipper and lay with it. I miss her every day.

    1. Labs are great dogs! 🙂 Sounds like Katie won over your mom fairly quickly. I miss Tasha all the time too. These dogs never leave our hearts. ♥

  3. I don’t know how you get a dog to quit eating cigarettes! We had an Old English Sheepdog who used to steal food off the bench and would swallow it bag and all.
    Yesterday, I took our dogs for a walk along the beach. As soon as we hit the sand, I could smell something and just knew Lady would find it and roll in it. Sure enough, it was a baby Bronze whaler shark. She was off lead and before we could catch up, it was too late. She comes from a farm and rubs the stench right into the follicles! Fortunately, she went for a swim and it wasn’t a nightmare driving her home! xx Rowena

    1. Dogs can be so challenging, can’t they? 😀 Muskoka stopped eating crap after needing major surgery, but I’m sure that was just coincidence, as dogs don’t have such reasoning capabilities. Your Lady sounds like a handful! 🙂 I had a Dalmatian who was so meticulous she even side-stepped puddles. Two extremes! I’m doing Old English Sheepdogs for “O”. Thanks for visiting. Apologies for the late reply.

  4. Yes, I have seen Labradors. I dont know if they are happy in our warm climate but the owners do take a lot of care. Of all the breeds, I like this one.. I have never been barked at or chased by a Lab.. so far!! 😉
    As I said before, I dont like dogs very much, but i hope your posts will change that!!

  5. I love labs and have known many but never had one ourselves. They certainly seem to come in all sizes. So many of my friends let theirs get heavy as they age but their personalities are terrific.

    Susan Says

    1. Labs are ideal as service dogs. We have a training school for seeing -eye dogs here and they use that breed above all others.

  6. They are sweet. We had a little black lab mix, but she was very lab in her personality. My husband was working at a restaurant at the beach and we would spend the entire summer there. Well, Penny came with us and she loved swimming in the Tyrrhenian right along with us. She also loved playing in the lake near our home in the mountains. She was also very brave. She was still a puppy, but she took on a rat that was almost as big as she was (they grow them big in that neck of the woods, literally) and managed to rid us of it, despite its bites. Unfortunately, that was NOT a healthy rat, so I won’t continue the story. They are wonderful dogs.

  7. Awwww, loved the stories of Labs you have known. I had to read all about Muskoka and followed the link. How awful about the sock entwined in his intestine but glad he came through the surgery alright. What an imp eating all those disgusting things. I do love Labs but I have never owned one. They are so sweet and lovable. Another enjoyable post, Debbie!

    1. Labs are the greatest dogs, but many of them do have a penchant for eating anything and everything. Thanks for reading all of Muskoka’s story. It appears that he did learn his lesson after the surgery (although dogs can’t reason in that way) because he stopped being such a garbage hound.

  8. Great pictures! Having two of them I can attest, Labs are very easy to love 🙂 And as you mentioned, poo patrol can be quite the adventure in astonishing discoveries – gads!

  9. Labs are such beautiful dogs – never met one who wasn’t a sweetheart.
    Tasha’s Thinkings (70) | Wittegen Press (72) | FB3X (AC) (73)

    1. Labs are wonderful dogs, but they do mature slower than most breeds. It takes a good three years for them to grow up. Glad you enjoyed the photos. 🙂

  10. My sister has a chocolate lab. Coco is starting to get slower and less energetic. But she’s always happy to see people. Coco has been with them for about ten years now. I don’t know if that’s old or not.

    1. Average life span for a Lab is generally 11-13 years, but some live much longer, just like humans. I bet Coco has a lovely grey snout by now. That’s so cute! 🙂

  11. Almost all my dogs have been a labrador mix of some sort. We have a real Labrador Retriever now though you wouldn’t call her that. Let me explain. Thrree years ago my fella and I were living in Nova Scotia. Our dear Sharpei/Lab male had died and we decided our next dog would be a rescue dog from my fella’s home of Labrador. We picked out a wee girl and met her at the airport. 7 months later we moved to Labrador. She fetched us! She is what they call in Newfoundland and Labrador a “crackie” -a small dog of indeterminate parentage. She definitely has a lot of Border Collie but no Labrador!

    1. That’s a great story, Jan. 🙂 If your dog is part Border Collie, she must be very smart. Thanks for visiting and have a good weekend.

  12. I agree with Shady Del Knight. It is truly astonishing that you can remember so many details on each dog. These are such fri8endly dogs. I always loved them.

    1. I have a good memory when it comes to dogs. Other things, not so much. 🙂 Labs are great dogs and I would love to get a black one, someday.

  13. I absolutely love labs. Chocolate labs, to be precise. (Hey, who doesn’t love chocolate?) I’ve found each of them to be playful and full of energy. Great personalities, too!

    1. Chocolate Labs are a bit more hyper, from my experience. One of my favourite clients was a choc. lab named “Murphy Brown”. She was a great dog! 🙂 (There’s a picture of her in the slideshow.)

  14. Oh finally Labs! I love this breed the best! My neighbours have one called Rusty and he is the most adorable pet ever! Having seen him since a pup….I can’t think of a better dog to have. He has the kindest pair of eyes and a lovely tan coat. Black ones look splendid!
    @KalaRavi16 from

  15. I am still in mourning and this was actually a difficult post to read. I lost my beloved service dog, Buddy, a 17 year old chocolate lab (with the records to prove it!) to poisoning by harassing neighbors (who stood in the street barking at my granddaughter and I and shouting about our dog before we even found him). Buddy never barked or growled. If he wanted to make an impression he stood very still and the other animal quietly moved away. He was my right hand dog, always standing directly beneath my right hand, never leaving my side unless I told him to do so. I still have his loving sister, Holly, who has successfully fought off cancer for three years and is now lying at my feet snoring loudly. She still prances and plays like a puppy, nudging doors open so she can follow the grandchildren around and lie at their feet with a smile on her face as she listens to them play. Buddy was the leader of our pack and the grandchildren have a theory that Buddy worked hard to show our other animals how to live and play as a loving pack because he knew he would not always be here for them. I have an animal blog, but I still have not been able to write about Buddy, or my Flemish Giant rabbit, Kate, who was also poisoned. Some day, perhaps, when the pain eases a bit. They are wonderful dogs. They remain puppies for close to three years then suddenly you look down at them sitting obediently at your feet waiting for a command and realize they’ve grown up! They are loyal, gentle, kind, loving, and compassionate toward humans and other animals in ways that defy everything any veterinarian will ever tell you, and according to studies are living longer lives each year (though 17 is quite shocking to all of us, particular the vet!) Looking back on all the years I’ve been owned by dogs, if I could name one breed above any other that I would recommend for a family; a single person seeking companionship; an elderly person who needs protection and love; I would say that dog is the chocolate lab.

    1. My sympathies to you, Darla! ♥ What horrible neighbours would poison a service dog or any animal? Can they not be charged with a crime? Yes, 17 is pretty miraculous for a Lab or any larger breed. May Holly continue to thrive!

      1. Yes, they can, the problem is proving it. It would be easier to prove with the rabbit, who was poisoned later, because I took the rabbit in for an injured knee the day before and the vet took x-rays, blood tests, did all kinds of things because of what happened to my dog. She wanted to make sure the rabbit wasn’t intentionally injured. The next day she was found paralyzed and it looked like antifreeze was in her cage. So, I’ve considered posting a reward for information in identifying who did this, but many people have suggested this would only create more painful stress for my granddaughter, who was with Buddy when he died, and for me. Once I started healing and discussing what happened I discovered a shocking number of friends and family who have had pets poisoned or shot by neighbors in disputes. I will write about it when I am ready. I think Buddy needs justice, and the police need to be more pro-active. The laws exist for a reason. Near my old home in Texas a former Sheriff’s Deputy shot a poodle who was in his yard. The dog belonged to the mother of his next door neighbor. She was visiting and the grandchildren left the gate open. The dog didn’t even do anything, but the man said he was “sick of seeing strange dogs on my lawn.” He served two years in jail! In our state, most of the time the police don’t even show up unless you have evidence or a gun was involved, and that’s only because a man was shot a few years back in a pet dispute. This is sad talk for a great topic, though. Labradors are wonderful and fun and anyone who would harm them has serious issues. They make great family pets, the best EVER, and train easily for service or companion animals. I love mix breeds with lab in them–they are quirky looking and still retain that loving lab personality. They also tend to have less health issues. Great post, Debbie!

        1. I’m so sorry this has happened to you and your granddaughter. ♥ Yes, the laws regarding animals are far too weak. Thank you for sharing your story, Darla. Sincere condolences.

  16. I love Labs! I have one coming tomorrow as a matter of fact! They are so sweet and so loyal and just all around great dogs. I would have one in a heartbeat.

    That was absolutely heartbreaking about Jake and Max. Oh my God, I can’t even imagine how awful that was to discover. What a tragedy. But a blessing that he went quickly and painlessly. I had one, my sweet Maggie, who died of a heart attack and she was gone in seconds. It was devastating and I was absolutely crushed but she went where she was most happy and content, in bed, next to me, getting loved and rubbed on when it happened. What better way to go?

    Love the slide show, especially the one wearing the Toronto Maple Leafs shirt!!! Haha. My guys were wearing their Bills shirts for the Superbowl…

    Great post, as always, Debbie.

    1. Labs are one of my favourite breeds too. Jake’s death haunted me for a long time. Writing about him and Max just about killed me, so I parked the book in 2013. Re-living it again now (and some of the other stories) has admittedly put me in a funk. 😛 The saddest stories are finished, so I’ll bounce back. It’s only been two weeks – can’t quit in the middle! 🙂 And I WILL finish the book, eventually.

      My sympathies about Maggie, but if you have to go, that’s the best way. ♥

  17. Hi, Debbie the Doglady!

    It astonishes me that you can remember so much about so many of the dogs that were in your care over the years. There can never be a happy ending to any of their stories because every living thing must someday die. I take my hat off to you because I would be an emotional wreck mourning the loss of hundreds of dogs that I came to know. It brought tears to my eyes to read about the slow and painful decline of these three labs and how one of them, Jake, died of a heat attack while a guest in your home – a traumatic experience for you and the owners but, as they pointed out, at least their kids didn’t have to witness it. Muskoka must have been part billy goat to go around eating cigarette butts, gloves, Kleenex tissues and similar items. It’s a wonder he lived as long as he did with that unusual habit.

    Thank you very much, dear friend Debbie!

    1. I have a good memory when it comes to dogs and past events but don’t ask me what happened yesterday. 🙂 Shady, in regard to animals in general and dogs, in particular, I’m always an emotional wreck when anything bad or sad happens, even when it’s only in a movie and I know it’s not real. Re-living some of these stories has taken a toll and I’ve gone through a lot of kleenexes the last few days. It was after writing the chapter on Max and Jake in 2013 that I decided to put the book aside because it was too upsetting. Then I changed my mind and added the chapter about Saba, which bummed me out all over again. Haven’t written another chapter since, but I would like to finish it and get it published. This series has given me new enthusiasm for the project. It appears that Muskoka finally learned his lesson (unusual; dogs’ minds don’t work that way) after undergoing surgery, as he stopped eating bad things.

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