This is Viola when we adopted her almost nine years ago. Sorry for the terrible picture but this was from a phone nine years ago! She wasn’t in bad shape but she was definitely of the couch potato lab lineage (unlike Phoebe who was much taller and leaner and athletic). She didn’t ever really play with the other girls — not interested in playing ball or chasing the other girls in the perpetual game of tag that went on in our backyard. Viola was a gypsy!
Mostly Mutts told us that Viola was turned in because she kept breaking loose and taking over the neighbor’s pool. We experienced her wanderlust the first day we had her as she bolted out the front door and took off. We hadn’t officially adopted her yet — we were fostering her! I took off in my truck looking for her and found her in the new subdivision that backs up to my neighbors backyard. She was in the middle of a makeshift dumpster that the construction workers had made wallowing in all their trash! She was in hog heaven!
We wondered if she was the right dog for us because we couldn’t seem to keep her from getting loose. The doorbell rang, she’d bolt out the front door. She could run really fast on her short little legs and would run and run and run. Every time we got near to her she would maneuver and keep running. We learned that if we didn’t give chase she would just run down the street and come back and knock on our front door to be let in. As she got older, her interest in what was outside that front door waned. Now she rarely bolts from the front door. But when she does, she comes right back home.
We recently had to get her stairs for the bed. She is able to jump into the bed, although it is getting more and more difficult for her. She wakes up in the middle of the night and get off the bed. Then she barks — we think she is disoriented and doesn’t know how to get back up with two human bodies and several dog bodies. At first she wouldn’t use the stairs. We tried them in several different places but the place that clicked for her was on Andy‘s side of the bed, basically where the pillows are. She has a thing for sleeping on the pillows anyway (while we get scooched down to the middle of the bed).
Viola’s always been the dog that the puppies and younger dogs go for. They like to sleep on her and snuggle her. Sophie the Jackahuahua is never far from the warmth of Viola. She is very snugalicious. Viola has always, until lately, snuggled with me in my chair in the family room. Usually with Sophie on top of her or wedged between me and Viola. Now, she hardly jumps up on anything. Sometimes when she is just standing her legs splay out from under her. She says that it is ok though because she really did want to lay down and take a nap.
But there are two things that liven her up. One is the dog park. She must run and run and run and visit all the humans. In one dog park we frequent, they have named her the mini M&M because there is usually a choco lab of regular proportions there making Viola look even more shrunken!
The second is swimming. She does LOVE the water and is always anxious to go to her favorite place to stay, Gone to the Dogs, a great bed and biscuit that my friend Eileen Francis runs in Kennesaw GA. Eileen has a pool for the dogs to swim in and Viola is always the first in and the last out!
Viola just went for her annual check up and had a large mass removed from her paw. We called it her potato. She has another “fatty deposit” in the muscle around her rib cage. We call that her side car. Last night I just felt another one on her shoulder. The thing I want to do for her now is just make her comfortable and loved. Other than these growths, the Doc gave her a good bill of health. We guess she’s about twelve or so…that’s pretty good for a lab.
She may gray eyebrows and a gray beard and gray paws and chest but every morning she runs down the stairs and swats at the other dogs like a puppy! Here’s hoping she never stops!