It’s a Lab thing … maybe you understand

I found myself watching the movie Marley & Me the other day. It’s a great book as well as a good movie, but I don’t think there was anything unusual about Marley. And it occurred to me I have a carbon copy of that dog.

I read the book Marley & Me by John Grogan several years ago, and I’ve seen the movie a couple of times. It’s about a newspaper columnist who on a whim gets a dog. Not just any dog – a yellow Labrador.

Anyone who owns a Lab knows having a Lab isn’t for everyone. They’re big, clumsy, they chew on everything, and they have more energy than a toddler chugging a Red Bull.

In the book, Grogan bills Marley as The World’s Worst Dog. Marley chews up the furniture, eats a necklace Grogan bought for his wife, knocks down visitors to the house, does Number Two in places he shouldn’t, digs up the garden, and generally behaves like a true menace. In short, he acts like a Lab.

As a Lab owner myself, I laugh ruefully every time I watch the movie. I’ve been there. My dogs have done that – all of that. In fact, I was thinking as I was watching it the other day that my own Lab, Riley, could easily have been the dog that book was written about.

It’s amazing that Labs are the most common dog breed in the United States, because they all act like that. If you can get them to channel their energy in productive ways, though, all their quirks are what make them such good dogs, especially for bird hunters. They are loyal, they’re curious, they like to pick things up with their mouths, and I believe I’ve mentioned the energy. They’ll go for days, if you let them.

They eventually settle down, just as Marley does in the book and the movie. They magically go from being hell on paws to wonderful companions. Riley’s three years old now, so I only need to wait about 7 years for her to hit that “settle down” age. I just hope I have the patience to allow her to reach it.

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