We got Lola from a coworker around Christmas time in 2006. She was about three months old, I think, and she was an adorable, big puppy. Ethan named her Lola, which seemed an odd name for a dog, but now I love it. At least once a week, one of us breaks into song: "Lola, La-La La La Lola!" Even 2.5-year-old Allyson sings it now, which is so cute because it comes out, "Wo-wa, Wa-Wa Wa Wa Wo-wa!"
That first night, we put her in a soft, tent-style car carrier in our kitchen. We thought that might make her feel more secure. She immediately started walking it into the living room, rolling it like a giant, awkward hamster ball. So we put her in the garage... where she chewed a hole in the drywall.
After that, we put her outside, and that's mainly where she's lived since then. She chewed up the wood siding all along the lower part of the house, and we just left it that way for a long, long time. When it seemed she was past the chewing stage, Bill patched the torn spots and repainted. It only looks tacky if you get too close.
She barks at everything and everyone who passes our house, which means she barks a LOT because we live on a corner. This drives Bill absolutely mad, but I don't even hear it any more. She races along the fence, behind the privacy hedge, which I think is hilarious. She goes in at one end and pops out at some random point. Bill is not amused. He says she's killing the trees by eroding the soil around the roots.
Lola lives for motorcycles. When a motorcycle roars by, she bounds along the side fence, her ears flapping in the wind. She stops short just before she crashes into the back fence. I can only imagine her rapture if she could actually run along beside a motorcycle outside the fence.
She loves to chase birds. She leaps up two or three feet, swiveling her body in mid-air, while she snaps futilely at thin air. She never tires of this, though the birds seem to be making fun of her. (Unlike most Labs, Lola is a little on the dumb side. In fact, watching her, I think I've found the origin of the phrase "dumb as rocks." I've caught Allyson feeding her soft, white rocks... and she ATE them!)
Actually, Ethan pointed out just now that Lola did manage to kill a bird once. She jumped up and chomped it, and feathers flew. Bill buried it, but she eventually dug it back up. Gross!
Lola's very favorite pastime is cavorting in the water. Whenever Bill hand waters the yard, she spends the entire time jumping in and out of the spray. It's so entertaining to see her leap up and snap at the arc of water with bared fangs. Whenever we set up Allyson's kiddie pool, Lola will not stay out of it, much to Allyson's dismay. One of the first things Allyson learned to say as a toddler was "Out, Lola!"
Despite her gruff bossing, Allyson adores Lola. She climbs all over her, pulls her tail, and pokes her in the nose, but Lola's tail never stops wagging. If she wasn't so busy chasing birds and barking at passersby, I suspect that Lola would keep a watchful eye on Allyson while she played.
Ethan and his friends love Lola, too. They love to get her really agitated so they can pretend she's a mad dog or a wicked monster (not so much of a stretch, actually). They run all over the backyard and tussle wildly with her, their shrill shrieks piercing the evening air.
Bill loves her most of all, I think. When he feeds her at bedtime, he ruffles her hair and mutters, "Good dog" while she gazes up at him in utter adoration. If it rains, or the temperature drops, he brings her into the garage to sleep on an old comforter. Recently, though, she has refused to come inside no matter what the weather, and I think this hurts his feelings a bit. No matter, she has a snug doghouse that he built with his own hands--though she often isn't smart enough to come in out of the rain.
So why am I the only one who stands back and watches instead of getting down on the ground and playing with Lola? The truth is, I think I'm keeping a grudge. The biggest thing I have against Lola is that she eats things. She's eaten:
- Several pairs of Allyson's shoes that were shed and forgotten
- Numerous cups, plates, and utensils from Allyson's tea sets
- Large chunks of the house, as mentioned previously
- A soccer ball or two
- A big toy jeep
- And... not one, but TWO tomato plants that Bill had given me for Mother's Day.
Now, nearly a year later, I guess I'm still holding that crime against Lola. Is it a sin to withhold forgiveness from a dog? When Jesus said we should forgive our brother seventy times seven, did that include dogs?
I want to love her, really. I hope I'll wake up one day and have tender feelings for this oaf who has captivated my family. In the meantime, I'll enjoy watching my kids have fun with her.