It’s little wonder why the Labrador retriever has been the most popular AKC-registered breed among Americans for more than 20 years. But here are some Labs that receive some special treatment, above and beyond the normal pooch.
Kiss The Bride, Pet The Dog
When B.J. and Josh LaJaunie were pre-planning their wedding that took place in a tiny chapel in Thibodaux, Louisiana, they considered some important qualities they wanted in the flower girl/ring-bearer for the service. They agreed they were looking for loyalty, good behavior and trustfulness—in addition to a close friend of the family.
The choice turned out to be an easy one for the 28-year-old bride and 30-year-old groom.
Remi, a chocolate Lab that has been part of both their lives ever since B.J. presented the female retriever to her duck-hunter boyfriend easily fit all their criteria.
So in the joyous ceremony, Remi (short for Remington—Josh’s first shotgun) carried their rings in a special lace dog collar matching B.J.’s wedding gown.
The Lab sat obediently as guests filed into the chapel, many greeting her with pats to the head. Then, when her moment in the limelight arrived, she performed her duties as flawlessly as she recovers a downed teal from a South Louisiana bayou.
“I thought Remi was the best flower girl,” bridesmaid Ellen Diedrich told a reporter from the Lafourche Parish Daily Comet newspaper. “I don’t think they could have had a more meaningful ringbearer.”
And, Diedrich noted, Remi behaved far better than many flower girls she’s seen at other weddings.
The bride, who said she gave Remi to Josh four years ago to mark the anniversary of their first date, admitted they spoil Remi.
“She was supposed to live outside because she’s a hunting dog,” said the bride, while confessing that their “baby” spends a lot of time in the house, and sometimes is allowed to jump on their bed.
We can’t say for certain, but can only guess there was no bed-jumping for Remi during the honeymoon, though. Instead, we’ll wager it was kennel time.
Minneapolis, Minn. resident Amy Rice loves her 12-year-old Labrador retriever named Ella. And, like many Lab aficionados, there’s not much Rice wouldn’t do for her dog.
She proved her devotion to Ella recently, when a pit bull leapt over a neighbor’s fence and began to relentlessly attack her non-aggressive Lab.
Feeling helpless and afraid the pit bull was going to kill her dog as she stood watching, Rice told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that she was driven by her basic animal instincts to protect her pooch.
“I ended up biting the pit bull on the nose. I didn’t plan it, that’s what happened,” the 38-year-old woman said.
And, she didn’t just nip at the attacking dog’s honker, either.
“I broke the skin and had pit bull blood in my mouth. I knew what happened, and I knew that it wasn’t good,” she said.
Lesson learned: Don’t mess with Amy—or Ella.
The good news is that Ella recovered from the wounds inflicted by her attacker. Animal control authorities tracked down and quarantined the pit pull. And Minneapolis Animal Care and Control Manager Dan Niziolek admits it was his first “man bites dog” case.
“We see people who will do anything to protect their animal,” he said.
Snake-Bite Treatment Sucks
It’s probably been at least 40 years or longer since the recommended treatment for poisonous snakebites in the Official Boy Scout Handbook included instructions on sucking the venom from the victim’s wound. These days the general medical advice for snakebite is to transport the victim to the nearest medical facility for professional treatment.
But Bobby Jenkins, 50, who lives on a ranch in rural Goshen County, Wyoming, was faced with a serious dilemma when his 11-month-old black Labrador retriever, Tank, was hammered squarely on the nose by a prairie rattlesnake.
“It was 20 minutes to town and I knew he would not make it. So I grabbed his nose and started sucking the rattlesnake poison out of the top of his nose and spit it on the ground,” Jenkins told the Casper Star-Tribune newspaper.
By the time Jenkins transported his dog to the nearest animal doctor in Torrington, the Lab’s head had ballooned to grotesque proportions. Rattlesnake antivenin was immediately applied to the ailing canine and he soon exhibited a favorable reaction to the treatment.
But by that time, Jenkins began feeling woozy and faint, an apparent reaction to the snake venom he’d accidentally ingested in his attempt to save Tank. At the local hospital emergency room he was treated with multiple injections of anti-venom medication before his vital signs returned to normal.
In the end, the Snakes-on-the-Plains incident ended well for both rattler-poisoned victims, and Jenkins is confident his actions saved his Lab’s life.
“It was just instinct,” he said. “I saved the dog and I saved myself.”