We’ve said goodbye to our dog Puck. He was an English Black Labrador Retriever and lived a very, very long life. At 15 1/2 eventful years, he was off the age charts for his breed.
He was a unique guy, as most labs seem to be.
He was surrounded by Golden Retrievers his entire life. He was kind of like a Golden Retriever sandwich – with 2 layers of Golden on the top, and 2 on the bottom, he was the “filling.” First, he was “the baby” of the pack, pestering our elder Golden Corky and then his nephew, Bailey. Puck and Bailey formed quite the relationship. Like peas and carrots?
Not really – they were more like Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.
The pair collaborated and ran off together when Puck was a mere 9 months old, probably one of the most traumatic days of our lives. Happily, and after lots of praying and several hours of searching, we found both of them. Temporary tie outs, a try at invisible fencing and finally, a large fenced-in backyard deterred Puck and Bailey from their encounters with all that nature had to offer.
Since he was a classic “water dog,” we thought he could swim. He hated it, even though his webbed feet could’ve easily taken him across our pool and back.
Since labs are known to love just about everything, so Puck, in his unique fashion, also disliked getting into the car, and the impending ride. Our vet office was only a 3-minute drive into the village, yet you would’ve thought he was being somehow traumatized in the back seat. No barking, but he’d utter a distinctive whine with some occasional grunts. He didn’t like stairs either, and one evening it took 3 of us to get his then-100-pound mass back upstairs when he refused to come back up from the basement. He remained on level ground since that day, but left us hysterical at how ridiculous the scene was.
When Bailey passed, Puck was the “lone dog” for a little while, and would do whatever he could to gain attention. One spring day, when the lawn sprinkler workers came to “start things up,” Puck walked up to one of the workers who was bent down to replace a sprinkler head, and promptly removed the red bandana he wore on his head. We’ve never seen a bunch of grown men rolling on the lawn and crying from laughter while watching the bandana-less worker chase our naughty guy throughout the yard.
He constantly sniffed everything, and would raise his head over the tiniest noise, then would transition into a straight point with that thick tail. He tolerated our daughter’s cat when most of our Goldens would not. His coat was of 2 extremes – his waterdog fur resembled quills, yet his ears were as soft as his puppy coat, and still felt just like velvet in his older years.
Along came “the puppies,” siblings Pumpkin and Bear, two more Golden Retrievers which automatically gave Puck that title of Dog Patriarch, The Alpha. He enjoyed their company, especially with Bear. Bear is the male and self-proclaimed Lover of Everything and Everyone On The Planet. Pumpkin simply wants her tennis ball to chase – and occasionally chew to smitherines. She helped keep him young, as his curiosity would prevail over his weakening legs.
With Bear off to college with his “father,” who is our son Sean, Puck developed an interest in Pumpkin, trying to follow her on her zigzag route in their big play pen. For a few years, they were quite the trio.
(L-R Pumpkin, Bear and Puck)
Now Puck has crossed the Rainbow Bridge, he is likely playing with his bestie Bailey and “Uncle Corky.” He will be missed very much, yet we know there will be that time when we will see them…all running free together.