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TideWriters Tales
Two Yellow Labs ~ Part One
By Sharon Slaughter

     Once upon a time Jim (husband) and I decided to take a camping trip that would include our two Labrador Retrievers, Katie, our Therapy Dog, and Pooh, our six month old pup. The weather turned cool and wet. Nevertheless we determined to make the best of our situation. We had chosen Thousand Trails in Gloucester County for our camping retreat specifically because the Chesapeake Bay Preserve has a "Bark Park". We were most disappointed when we discovered that the "Bark Park" was closed due to Poison Ivy. Thus taking the girls for long walks on lead occupied a large part of our time. 

     Katie, our perfectly mannered at all times canine, was most satisfied with her life as a camper, but Pooh being a puppy needed more activity. As far as Pooh was concerned this camping confinement thing was almost more than she could tolerate. As my son, Timothy, at age four once said to me "It so hard to be a little person, Mommy," just prior to his being punished. Pooh kept pleading with me for more active fun.
I looked out the window of our camper. It hadn't rained for a while It was just about dark outside. I said to Jim, "Let's take the girls for another walk", as I shoved the tennis ball into my pocket. So around the campground we walked again a biting wind blowing off the river. I finally tired of walking and decided to take a shortcut back to our camper. Then I saw the tennis court. What a wonderful fenced area I thought .I'll just put that chair in front of this gate and then Pooh and I can play ball.

     I was completely surprised by what happened next. Removing Pooh's lead I held her collar until I worked the tennis ball up out of pocket. I showed Pooh the ball and gave it a toss .Pooh blasted off after the ball as if she had been shot from a circus cannon. Why? I thought we were going to play ball together as in Pooh would go get the ball, bring it back to me whereupon I would then throw the ball out again might have something to do with her breed name Labrador Retriever. Instead once Pooh got her tennis ball treasure in her mouth it was as if a booster rocket exploded and the speed at which she was running instantly tripled. In addition to Pooh's now triple rocket speed the hair upon her back stood up and a growling noise came from deep in her throat. I stood shocked at the sight and sound. Pooh's speed was so fast that she had to enlarge her running circle. It was at this point that I realized that I had not anticipated the fact that tennis courts have nets. I watched in horror thinking, "Will she make it around both ends of the net?" Yes! A sigh of relief came from my own body. Pooh would do No harm to herself or the net. I turned toward Jim standing with Katie outside the fence. We just glanced at each other. Pooh continued her running and growling. Her speed continued to increase. It seemed the greater her speed    the louder her growls. It was now dark and I would not have been able to see Pooh had she been anything but her pale yellow color. Around and around the court she ran and growled. I started laughing. Jim was laughing. Our laughing seemed to be just the encouragement Pooh wanted. She ran faster. She growled louder. Soon tears were streaming down my face as I watched my racing pup. I commenced to wonder if we were making too much noise? How many people were peeking out of their campers at the strange event over at the tennis courts, I wondered? At last I just sat down on the chair I had placed in front of the gate. I kept saying to myself, "I can't believe this is happening." I was mesmerized. I couldn't take my eyes off my racing growling pup. I thought, Does she think something is after her? Is she afraid of the dark? When is she going to come to her senses? This could not continue. My brain informed me that Pooh would stop her foolishness. I continued to watch. Pooh continued her episode. Jim saw some other campers moving about in the lodge. He decided to leave pretending not to know me. As Jim and Katie walked out of sight Pooh begin to slow down. Her growls became softer. Her running strides became shorter. Thank God. By the time the other campers left the lodge Pooh was no longer growling, her pace down to a trot. I held out a dog treat as Pooh trotted past me. I wasn't laughing anymore. I just wanted to vanish. Pooh went one, two, three more circles around the tennis court. Each time she passed me I offered her a dog treat. Finally, Pooh trotted up to me, dropped the tennis ball at my feet and took the dog treat from my hand. I grasped her collar, attached her leash. As quietly as possible we melted into the night. 

© 2001 Sharon Slaughter All rights reserved. 

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