First of all, a beautiful picture. Prepare yourself, it's very cute, and you may be tempted to go out and kidnap three small children and a dog without reading the story behind it. But there is a story. So: one, two, three:
Still with me?
Now I can't speak for the human puppies, but I am personally responsible for Lindsay the Golden Retriever's continued existence. Were it not for me, those children would be sobbing inconsolably with a picture of dear, departed Lindsay, or trying to play with a hissing cat, or the frozen turkey carcass, or who knows. But I gave Lindsay the will to live.
It all happened the summer before last. I was with mom in California, housesitting for Lindsay's mom and dad (also the parents of one of the small children, I can't quite tell which). I'm not sure how old Lindsay was at this point, but she had given up. If it weren't for a faint, doggy odor, I would have thought she was a rug. The usual combo of arthritis, upset tummy, malaise, lack of appetite, loss of desire to socialize etc... that signals a doggie on her four last legs. On her last side, with the four legs arthritically splayed out on the floor. But I knew that she had two young children who were not ready to lose a best friend, and a dad who was pretty neurotically attached to her too.
There was no way I was going to appeal to her with reason or with gentle encouragement. She would have to be annoyed into action. I began by eating her food. Followed shortly by sleeping on her bed, getting walked while she stayed home, chewing her toys, and protesting vigorously whenever she was being patted. When we did go out to walk together, I made sure to completely tangle her in her leash, and to every now and again "accidentally" step on her tail. She said nothing. She endured. I kept it up. I knew I would eventually find the straw to break the Retriever's back.
Finally, at about day 6, it happened. I was just sauntering by as she lay sprawled out in the hallway, and I made a casual comment about going to flirt with the Lab next door, and she snapped. In the history of dogdom, there has probably never been a recorded case of a vicious Golden Retriever. Saying you've been bitten by a Golden Retriever is about as believable as saying you've been shot by Gandhi. But I did it. Arthritis, schmarthritis, she leapt to her feet and went directly for my throat. (Whoever made up that crap about the Retriever "soft mouth" has never had one tearing for its neck. Probably the same guy who named the softball). She kept coming and coming--if it weren't for my amazing dexterity (and yes, ability to yelp for my mom), my life-giving intervention might have been more life-giving than I had planned. But mom stepped in, and we sorted things out. Divided the house in two and didn't talk for the rest of the week, but the cure had worked. She was like Rosa Parks on the bus. She was not going to take this lying down anymore. She did not want her children to grow up in a world where a Chihuahua could come into your home, eat your food, chew on your bones, and go unpunished. And she never found out it was all part of my plan.
Lindsay, if you're reading this--you're welcome, and in lieu of flowers, please send turkey leftovers!