The 105 pound heart


If you were the lab with your sleek coat and paws that make tracks like a wolf in the mud, your tail would clear a coffee-table with one sweep while running to the door to enthusiastically welcome the neighbors with an accidentally and completely oblivious swat to the groin.

And you would be confused as to why you didn’t fit on the couch, or on a lap, or in the arms of your favorite human, but nothing could keep you from trying.

Because if you were the lab your self perception would be slightly off. In your mind you would be fluff, weightless and wishing to fit in the palm of a hand, or in a pocket, or on the soft cushion of a chair all the while working to squeeze your body between the small spaces of this house, taking up the limited carpeting available for walking.

But if you were the lab you would be polite and move out of the way when prompted, not recognizing that perhaps you are indeed fluff after all…and the rest of the 105 pounds is taken up by your heart.

Because if you were the lab your heart would have to be big enough to fit in the one-eyed pug who came into your life as a little black, squishy blob with two eyes that couldn’t climb the stairs and quickly took over the house and the walks and the yard and the lap that used to belong only to you.

And your sticks. He would always be taking your sticks…

while biting at your back legs.

And yes, if you were the lab your 105 pound heart would give a nice growl, but never a snap, after the 330th time the cat bit your tail and you would attempt to protect the barnyard with enthusiastic barking, only to follow it up with head rubs and giant licks and tail wags and all of the things dogs that love their world do when approached by good humans.


And you would chase deer and pheasants and cows when told a million times to back off to go home, but you would avoid porcupines at all costs, forever remembering the single quill you once had barely dangling from your snout from the first and last encounter with the prickly demons. 

And in the depths of your slumber when you’re drooling from your floppy lips and your droopy eyes are closed up tight for the night, you would have nightmares about this, squealing and whining and moving your legs as you lay on your side.

If you were the lab you would drag out garbage, and bring home dead things and roll in poop and bark up trees and almost spontaneously combust at the site of your person putting on tennis shoes or boots or grabbing a gun or hitching up the boat for a trip to the lake.

You would be four years old with a gray beard and the softest ears and joints that seemed to ache when your old soul arose and you would howl at my harmonica with the same vigor you use to howl back at the coyotes at night…

and during the course of a day your 105 pound heart would fill up, combust and be broken 175 times.

Yes, if you were the lab all of that love and life and adventure you made room for in the 105 pound heart of yours—the pug, the tolerance and acceptance of the cats, the cow poop, the neighbors, the sticks and the fear of the sting of the porcupine would be incomparable, thrown to the wind, forgotten and completely and utterly abandoned at the first site of water….

…water, the only place you, the lab, is truly weightless…

…105 pound heart and all.


13 thoughts on “The 105 pound heart

  1. He is just absolutely adorable…..I mean handsome. 🙂

    The pictures that you’ve captured of him are wonderful! The one of him crying is sad. 😦

  2. Thanks for this story. We had a black lab that would play and play and loved the water. One night, an amorous boyfriend of mine kept locking the door on my side of his truck and wouldn’t let me out. I finally got the door open, Shadow jumped in, got in the guy’s face and scared him to death. I never saw the guy again, but, that dog and I walked, threw sticks and jumped of the bridge into the creek below for a swim. Thanks for the memories.

  3. Oh your sweet, gentle, giant Hondo. The dog that saved our kid from being terrified of all other dogs. He’ll forever have a soft spot in my considerably smaller human-sized heart! 🙂

  4. He’s so luscious I want to wrap my arms around him and bury my face in his neck fur. And I know he’d let me.

    Love the shot of his giant paw pushing down into the water; how did you ever capture that? Wow!

    cheers! MJ

  5. Such a beautiful description of the lab – we have two (well one is border collie/lab mix) with 80 pound hearts, who firmly believe they are meant to be lap dogs and know with certainty that everyone loves them.

  6. My family always had Labs. Each one with a separate personality. Yet you manage to describe each and every one down to a Tee. You captured the quintessential essence of ‘Lab-ness’.

  7. Pingback: The only cow dog on the ranch « Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

  8. Pingback: “Where the deer and the mis-guided pug with an identity crises play…” « Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

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