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Dog Friend #515

dog friend
Name Birth/Adoption Day Breed
Bud N/A Labrador Retriever / Mutt
Greg writes:

Attached is a picture of Bud, who has a serious Tennis Ball Jones. We got
Bud off a chain, where he was abandoned in a nearby trailer park. He was
about eight months, rather wild and remains a bit unruly. He is the overbred
variety of Lab, with a beautiful, big head, but prone to hip problems, which
are starting to get nasty. Still, he loves to play with a tennis ball.

On our dock, which at low tide (our tides average almost 8 feet) has a steep
ramp to a floating dock, he'll bat his ball around and nudge it gently over the slats (which keep our feet from slipping) on the ramp, until it falls in the water. Then we have to tell him to jump in and get it. Otherwise, he'll just wistfully watch it float away. He's gone through several balls in a week that way. I find them, coated with mud and slime, when I'm out kayaking in the marsh.

But Bud does love the water, and I've built a sloped, stair-like ladder that
he can still use pretty easily. He's learned to push down the bottom, hinged
half, which floats when it's lowered, then climb the stairs. When he's on a
roll and we're in the nearby water, he'll dive in after the ball dozens of times.

Last week, we motored our decrepit skiff down to the sandbar for scraping
off barnacles and other growth. Bud drove us nuts the whole way, knocking
his ball around the boat. When we were almost there, I tossed the ball out
into the fast-rising tide, he went after it and had a good, five-minute swim
to the bar. He rested while we scraped, then was tearing up the sand,
batting the ball around. When we finished, I started tossing it out across
the mud flat beyond the bar, where the rising tide was a couple feet deep
for 50 yards or so. He loved it. And kept demanding more, dropping the ball
10 feet from it, then nudging it closer with his nose when I failed to step
forward and grab it.

That night, we listened to him groan and whine from time to time from his
bed on the porch. The next morning, he was crawling, when moving at all, and whining. When he still hadn't gone out at noon, I gave him a little to eat,
along with a coated aspirin, waited an hour, then took him for a walk. He
was slow getting started, but eventually he limbered up, and was complaining
when we tied him up so he wouldn't follow us on a bike ride.

Yesterday afternoon, he was playing dock ball and swim full speed as we gathered oysters from the nearby mud. We just give him a dose of Glucosamine in his food each night and hope for the best.

He ain't worth much, but he is a character.

Again, thanks, and ...

All the best,
----
Greg Smith
Bluffton, S.C.


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