The Pup Breed Read: September 2019

K.+Bjurstrom

K. Bjurstrom

Kimberlynn Bjurstrom

On a cold February day, the snow crunched beneath my feet as I approached the shelter. I eagerly waited until my name was called and then I looked at the litter. They were all so small, but I locked eyes with the smallest and my heart melted. I knew she was meant to be mine.

My dog, Waffles, is a mix between a Labrador Retriever and Border Collie and she loves to both give and receive love. She is incredibly outgoing and loyal because of the fact that she is part Labrador. This breed is one of the most popular breeds because of their affection, ability to train, and devotion. However, because of their popularity, there are 36 dogs that are a mix of Lab at the Animal House Shelter.

Upon entering the shelter on a damp September afternoon, my senses were overcome with the odors that come with having over 100 dogs in the same place. And yet, the smell was comforting. Bags of dog food, a busy front desk, and volunteers bustling around are the everyday scene, providing coziness to the concrete building. 

With the grass being soaked through, any volunteers headed straight for the comfort of the cat room. The dogs, however, still had to go outside, and thus the workers took had to control them all. So I went around the side of the building, awaiting a dog excited to walk. 

I tramped around the small outdoor space, ensuring that each dog I walked had received enough outdoor time before returning them to the helpful Animal House worker. It had been almost two hours and I was about ready to head home and warm up, but decided to walk one last dog. Kylie Moran, the volunteer coordinator and the worker bringing me homeless dog after homeless dog, brought me one last pup to walk. 

She went inside and returned with this big, brown ball of wiggles. Moran said her name was Sammy and that she may be a little shy at first but she would become more comfortable after a little bit.

She had been right. After walking her around for 10 minutes, the shyness vanished and she acted as if I had known her for years. This 2-year-old dog craved my love, and all I wanted to do was give her a home. Her soulful eyes expressed her inner sorrows, her traumatizing past that makes her so shy. She just wants acceptance, I had thought. Don’t we all? 

I think of Waffles, in a cozy home with an adoring family, and I wish there was more I could do for the homeless Labs and other breeds at the shelter. 

No animal deserves to be treated that way and Labrador Retrievers are no exception. With a life expectancy of 10-to-12 years, a height anywhere between 21.5-to -24.5, and an expected weight of 55-to-80 pounds, Labs are solid dogs and the perfect size to provide the best type of comfort.