Trying to encapsulate a whole bunch of time into a quick couple of blog entries is difficult. Especially when a person has as much to relate as I do. Hopefully without boring you to death, I can provide some ancedotes of life with my Labrador giving the reader some insight into the crazed personality of my dog.
As a puppy, Clover was into everything! She dug up a tree in the back yard, removed some gorgeous rose bushes and then helped me replant them. She had a certain amount of maladies as a puppy including canine acne, a false pregnancy, a concusion that caused her to convulse and be hospitalized, and she has split the edge of her tail on more occasions than I can account for. The vet told me she suffered from the very common Labrador affliction called “Happy Tail.” My mom once told me her tail wasn’t normal and that she thought it was part whip! She bangs that tail so hard that she wore the hair off the end, and on occasion the tail would split spurting blood everywhere. NOT FUN. I have become very adept at bandaging her tail and she has become very tolerant of having it bandaged. She has been stung on the nose by a bee on more than one occasion (probably a result of the fact that she loves roses and would sit in the flower bed sniffing them all the time.) She would actually sit on my lap while I held a package of frozen peas on her snout to help the swelling go down. What else? Countless bouts of stomach upset, a case of giardia, and allergies. I really liked my vets at Sandymount Animal Hospital in Dublin, but after a while, I felt like I had put at least one of the doctor’s kids through college! Animal care in Ireland is good but just as expensive as it is here in the U.S.
As Clover grew, her hunger for destruction, born out of a very bad case of separation anxiety grew exponentially. I hired a dog walker — a friend and neighbor that was a really fit power-walker. She had never spent a lot of time with dogs and had never walked one on her own until she started taking Clover out for jaunts around Dublin. The cleaning lady would stop by from time-to-time when she was in the neighborhood to let Clover out into the yard and would bring her daughter so they could play. Even the guys from work would stop in and check on her if they were in the neighborhood. Needless to say, she was never neglected! We formed a strong bond early and Clover went everywhere with me. Road trips in Ireland, across the Irish Sea to Wales and Scotland, vacations in Cork and Connemara. On one of my mom’s visits, we went to Scotland and stayed at a great lodge on LochLomond. I think Clover is the only Black Lab to ever sleep in the Jimmy Carter Suite (named after the ex-President who had been resident there years before during a vacation). I am equally sure she was impressed with the “Bill Clinton Slept Here” sign, too! Obviously a very popular place with ex-Presidents and Black Labs!
Back to the destruction! It started small. Toys were ripped to shreds, the stuffing strewn around the house; shoes were fair game, but usually she only ate the insides; a pair of eyeglasses (never did find the lenses); a really nice leather brimmed (Annie Hall style) hat; every houseplant; countless books, magazines, newspapers, too. One of the strangest mutilations were the wire hangars. Clover found two plastic coated wire hangars in the guest room, and when I came home from work I found them both untwisted and completely straight and the plastic covering completely stripped off of the hangars all in one piece!
When she was still a puppy and confined to the kitchen, she decided to redecorate in there too. The kitchen floor was a floating linoleum floor in some ugly blue square pattern. It obviously offended Clover’s sensibilities as she set out to destroy the floor from one end of the kitchen to the other. 17 x 13 feet of linoleum! Shredded or digested. I was very upset about the destruction of the floor, but even more worried about what eating the linoleum would do to the sweet little puppy. It turns out that linoleum is made from linseed oil and is fairly digestible. She also had a thing for wood (kitchen door frame) until she found her favorite — drywall. I would patch the holes, and she would dig them out and eat the drywall patches enlarging the original hole each time. I never did figure that one out, but I did have to have the walls fixed, a door and frame replaced, one windowsill patched and the kitchen linoleum replaced when we moved out. Cha-ching!
Have you read the book “Marley and Me”? I laughed and cried when I read that book and wondered if Marley and Clover could have been related.