In the summer of 2000, my family welcomed an adorable yellow lab puppy into our hearts. It was my familys first “big dog,” and we didn’t know it then, but we were in way over our heads. The little puppy who was the quiet, calm pup at the breeders didn’t stay that way for long. This cute, small little guy quickly turned into a big, rambunctious dog whose favorite pastimes included chewing up our things (including but not limited to shoes, belts, plastic things, wallets, and pretty much anything else you can imagine), running around the house like a loon, humping every pillow in sight, and trying everything in his power to escape so he could roam the neighborhood. If you’ve ever seen the movie “Marley and Me” that basically sums Rudy up to a tee.
Even through all of his antics, he was very much a people dog, and would love you even more if you had a couple treats for him. Training him to do tricks was a breeze, and in no time he’d learned things ranging from the usual sit, to “rear” which was him standing up on his hind legs, and even jumping a doggy course. But trying to train Rudy out of his destructive habits wasn’t so easy, and after numerous trainers, some who even believed him to be “genetically aggressive” my parents stopped trying. He was lovingly given the name “mad dog”, and for better or worse, he was our mad dog.
While Rudy wasn’t the type to come lick your face, he was a very loving dog. He’d rub up on you to invite you to pet him, wag his tail whenever he saw you, and was always ready for some snuggling on the couch. He would sigh when he was truly content, and thankfully he did this often. And as his family we really treated him like a prince. He had his own “spots” on the couch that he loved to sit in, and should someone take up his spot, he would stare at them politely until they got up and moved. He loved to lounge by the pool on a sunny day, and was always open to share the chaise with you. He ate a bully stick everyday at the same time, and would always let you know what time it was with a playful bark. And even though I tried to break my mom of the habit, she would always feed him table scraps after dinner in his bowl, not that Rudy minded. He had such a fulfilling life, and was well loved.
As many lab owners know, those dogs stay “puppies” much longer then other breeds, and Rudy was still tearing up the house up until his later years. But time did catch up with Ruru, as it does with every living thing, and he started slowing down. His hind end started failing him, and he would often trip and even fall. Our strong willed, life loving boy was now considered a geriatric dog, and with his different ailments our family tried to keep him comfortable and make sure he wasn’t in any pain. Looking back it almost seems like he went downhill all within a year, it was just so fast. He knew he couldn’t do the things he had once loved, and you could see it in his eyes.
Many of you who are my friends on FB will know that my family said goodbye to our handsome boy today. At the old age of almost 13, Rudy lived a long happy life, and lived like a king. He will forever be in our hearts, and will be missed dearly.