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Auckland, North Island, New Zealand
Wine tour operator, wine writer and lapsed physiotherapist. "Nature abhors a vacuum. I personally hate dusting."


Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from Jasper the failed Labrador

Now, don't get me wrong.  I love my dog.  He wakes me up with his normal scratch on the door which signals feeding time.  His joy at seeing me only just superseded by the anticipatory joy of a bowl of dog sausage and Tux biscuits.

Not being one of those folk who like to pretend that animals have a clue as to the significance of human festivals I have spared him the indignity of wearing antlers or a Santa hat.  But as a Festive treat I gave him a chunk of frozen beef bone.  'Merry Christmas, Jasp' - I said.   I could have said 'Greco-Roman Toe Wrestling' - it would have made no difference to the wide-eyed, tail wagging unbridled joy that accompanied my gift.  (Hint: dog's don't speak English).

The pic above shows Jasper wading in a new pond to escape the heat on a sticky hot day this week.  Now Jasper, being a Lab is by definition a water dog.  Labs are originally from the island of Newfoundland where they were used to retrieve and pull fishing nets.  But Jasper is, in fact, only a water dog up to a certain point - his shoulders, that is.  Jasper can't swim and is scared of any water above shoulder height.  He will happily wade and plod around in the shallows, but tentatively explores any deeper water with an extended front paw, and a look of concern on his brow. 

Jasper should also technically be a retriever - but he has no concept of retrieving.  If I throw a stick for him he will feign interest, tracking its trajectory with a 'why did he throw away that stick?' look of puzzlement.  Even as a puppy when he was mildly interested in where the stick landed, I would have to find it for him. 
Look!  Jas - a stick!! 
Then, if he liked the stick he would grab it and refuse to let go.

Add to these incompetencies the fact that he is a lousy guard dog:  he never barks, and he greets any stranger at the door like a long lost friend.  Our grumpy cat totally dominates him and deliberately dawdles over his meals, making Jasper wait patiently in the hope of getting any cat food leftovers.

For all that,  he is basically a good dog solely because he has a genuinely nice nature - he is happy, amiable, loving and affectionate, despite having no concept of obedience, or wanting to 'please his master.' 
And ...I kind of respect that.


Phil runs Wine Tours in Auckland NewZealand

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