A tale of four brown bears

2011-08-04 00:00

I HAD no idea when I acquired Sadie, my chocolate Labrador, that my life would undergo a radical change. It has led to the meeting of the most amazing new friends, attending dog-training classes and fixing weekly play dates and swimming sessions (in the summer) for the pup and her siblings. I even made a doggy cake for their first birthday party.

As their breeder is a personal friend, I knew that my pup’s siblings had found homes close to my own. Lo and behold, at my first puppy class, I met two of the other puppy mums and discovered that a teaching colleague in Pietermaritzburg had the fourth pup.

We called them the brown bears and enjoyed watching their antics together. We got together a few times at first to allow the siblings to play and then enjoyed such peaceful evenings afterwards with exhausted puppies that we started meeting every weekend to play and swim with our dogs. Labradors are amazingly strong and enthusiastic swimmers, so prolonged swimming lessons were not required. Nevertheless, I found myself loading puppy, swimming togs and towels and myself into the car every Saturday afternoon and setting off for the home of Sadie’s brother. His owner is coincidentally a swimming teacher, but she did not have too much to teach this enthusiastic crowd.

Labradors are high-energy and very intelligent dogs that want to be at the heart of whatever is happening in the family home. It takes quite a bit of patience to teach the pup what behaviour is acceptable and where, but the lessons pay off. Most important for us has been the socialisation of our puppies. This has resulted in dogs that like to socialise with humans and other animals, and who love outings to events like Horse and Hound shows and SPCA walks.

We decided to celebrate their first birthday with a party — mainly for the owners — as we’d weathered the first year of our Labrador lives together. Here’s hoping we’ll be celebrating the milestones together for many years to come.

• Do you have a story to share about your pet? Tell us in fewer than 500 words and send it to features@witness.co.za


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