Who are Abby and Andy, and who am I? Abby and Andy are (were) my dogs, and I am their owner. That clears things up, right?
Abby was a yellow lab that we had ever since she was a puppy. She was born in a small eastern NC town, Bailey, in 1996 and lived to almost 13 years of age – just 8 days shy of her 13th birthday. Andy, born two years after Abby, is also a yellow lab and was also born in eastern NC, but a little further east in Greenville, NC, a college town around 85 miles east of Raleigh.
Even though they are both pedigree dogs with papers, Abby had a more orange tint in her hair, and she had floppy ears and a furrowed brow reminiscent of a hound dogs. I’ve heard that breeders would sometimes crossbreed a hound dog into a Labrador’s lineage in order to boost a lab’s sense of smell. It’s speculative, so I will never know if such a thing happened in Abby’s ancestors. She was definitely a big boned and sturdily built. I often joked that if she were a person, she would have been a softball player.
I still haven’t said who I am. I’m a 41 year old man living at home with his parents, yes, with his parents. What makes this odder is that my parents want me to live at home with them while I am anxious to move on with my life. I took a year off of my life to take care of my ailing dad. Had I not done so, he would have most certainly needed to have gone to a nursing home, which would have devastated my parents emotionally and financially. I am also in the middle of a career change which will involve my going back to school.
For 10 years, I was a research scientist in the pharmaceutical industry, but after a round of lay-offs in ’08, I seriously evaluated the direction the industry was going and the sustainability of my career there. After much deliberation, I decided I wanted to become a patent attorney. I’ve been accepted to a couple of law schools, so I will be going to law school in August. In the mean time, I will have a lot time on my hands, so I have decided to use some of it to reminisce on stories about my dogs and share them with whoever would like to read them. Normally, I will try to keep the passages to 3 or 4 paragraphs, but there will be exceptions.
The photo with this entry is one of my favorite photos of the babies. They were in Lake Lynn, and it was our first visit there. Lake Lynn is a man-made lake in west Raleigh, and surrounding it is a trail, most of which is paved and the remaining are wood bridges. A complete trip around the lake is around 2 miles. The path is part of an extensive network of trails, The Greenway System, built and maintained by the Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department. Many of the trails are near or around lakes or creeks, and one is even by a river. The scenery is fantastic. Yet the trails are easily accessible throughout the city. Some segments of the greenway system are sparsely used, but at Lake Lynn, there is a relatively heavy user volume since the trail is close to several developments and apartment complexes.
That picture was taken in the summer of 2000. I was still living in NJ and was down visiting my mom. At the time, the babies were staying with my mom, and I will discuss the ownership of the dogs in more detail at a later time.
From the parking lot to the beach, the walk was about a mile. By the time they had reached the beach, they were tired. Abby had been in a lake once in her life, and Andy had never been in a lake up to that time. (My mom does have a pool) Not knowing how they would react to the different surroundings, I took the dogs off their leashes and let them do what they wanted. Almost immediately, they went into the water, Abby going first. Abby was always an alpha dog while Andy has always been a follower. I had brought a tennis ball, so we played fetch, and they swam quite a bit. Andy, the one with the lighter yellow coat, loves to play fetch. He’s almost OCD about it to the point that if you don’t hide the ball, he will keep going and going to the point of exhaustion. In the meantime, I took some photos of them, not knowing how they would turn out since I had only had the digital camera for a few weeks at the time. When I downloaded the photos, I was especially pleased with this photo. The way they are paired up symbolizes the harmony and closeness they had with each other. People would often ask if they were mother/son or brother/sister - no to both. They did, however, love each other a whole lot.