I can’t imagine a life without dogs … but Riley’s pushing it

I’ve had at least one dog my entire life. I couldn’t imagine what life would be like without dogs. However, there are times I seriously consider having one fewer dog.

I have had some fantastic hunting dogs over the years. My first one was a chocolate Lab I had when I was in high school. He was an absolute natural hunter, and he learned quickly during our training sessions.

As quick a learner as that Lab was, he was nowhere near as bright as my golden retriever. She wasn’t as natural a hunter, but she was smart and eager to please, so she became the best hunting dog I’d ever had in short order.

But then came Riley. She’s a black Lab who was supposedly from a long line of hunting dogs. But not only does she have absolutely zero instinct for hunting, she also has no inkling of how to retrieve anything whatsoever. And to top it all off, she seems to be completely incapable of learning.

But aside from her ineptitude as a hunting dog, she’s still a dog. She has her own special charms, like snoring loud enough to wake the dead, which is also plenty loud enough to keep my wife and me awake at night. Or her counter-surfing penchant, which means we can’t leave anything edible on the kitchen counters. A few days ago, she ate an entire loaf of banana bread, including the Zip-Loc bag it was stored in.

As if all that isn’t cute enough for you, she also has a weak stomach. The night after she ate the banana bread, she woke my wife an me in the middle of the night with a single whimper. Immediately after she woke us, she horked up the entire loaf of bread, along with everything else in her belly, in one giant heave. No advance warning so we could get her outside, nothing. Just boom.

No, I can’t imagine life without dogs. But if all this sounds like your cup of tea, I’d be willing to part with this one dog. I’ll even throw in a loaf of banana bread.

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