Sunday, January 15, 2012

Meet Archie:
The Circle of Life Continues

A view from Archie's birthplace

Dixie and Archie

Yesterday, I took a long drive in the Virginia countryside to pick up my mom and brother's Christmas presents: 2 Labrador puppies. The drive took an hour longer than I thought it would but I made it. A black male lab, Pepper, was the first to greet  me. He was hesitant at first but he started wagging his tail and loving me. He was a sweet boy until a few minutes later when I met the father of the puppies I bought. Those two labs did not like each other. There were teethies the moment they saw each other.

The owner said they had gotten into fights before, usually with the white lab starting them. The black lab "whipped his ass" , the owner told me and almost tore off the white lab's ear. Ever since then, those two have been kept apart.

The puppies' father was in a fence and had a stick in his mouth when I saw him. He was high-strung and wild as hell. He snorted through his nose as he greeted me. I played fetch with him a couple of minutes. The owner told me a story of how the dog got so wound up one day that he jumped over the rock-pond and landed on the rocks as he was playing fetch.

I went to the kennel to meet the puppies. The only male lab in the litter was mine since I had requested a boy and had made the first deposit a few months ago. The hard part was picking a girl. My brother wanted me to get the most docile and laid-back girl in the group. Instead, I got the most energetic one. The one I got ran the fastest and pranced the most.

The owner picked up the puppies I chose and put them in a crate in the back of my car. I left the hatchback open as the owner and I went into his house and took care of some paperwork. We exchanged some small-talk and then I went to my car. I noticed in the meantime how the mom had walked to my car a few times to check on her babies. I was taking them away from her.

As I was about to leave, a family from West Virginia pulled up to get their puppy. I sat in my car and noticed the male lab cock his head to the side. He can't see very well. His mom dropped him a few weeks earlier and scratched his left cornea. The left side of his face droops because of this injury. He needs eye drops to treat the eye infection. He may have injured a nerve. His left side looks like he has a sneer on it. A vet who checked on the injury doesn't know if the injury is permanent.

The owner said I could have chosen another lab instead or backed out of the deal. I felt so sorry for Archie. I would have felt so shallow throwing him back like he was broken or defective merchandise. Who knows, maybe no one would have picked him if we hadn't. That would have been pitiful.

I barely made it out of the driveway when one of the puppies started crying. I started singing to it and gave it comforting words. Barely a mile later, both were asleep and stayed asleep all the way to Raleigh.

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