I love watching Grace run. Her ears flip a little and she looks almost like she is hopping.

Grace is my Chocolate Labrador. To be breed specific she’s a Silver Factored Chocolate Labrador and she is the happiest dog I have ever met. No really she is.

Oh but she’s a lab you say, they are always happy. No some labs are busy. They are smart and always thinking. My first lab was named Grizzly. He wasn’t mine. He just came with the man I was dating and then married. Griz was my first ever Chocolate Labrador. He was a true Gun dog. He was a duck hunter and he was a water dog. Griz could learn any trick you taught him within minutes. He was smart. But because he was smart he also was easily bored. He also didn’t like to be left alone, he would show his displeasure by chewing up pages of books. Not the whole book. Just enough to be annoying and to let you know. He also once saved a kitten from drowning. He was something special. He was also my cat Oreo best friend, but their story is for another time.

Today is a about Grace and my journey to her.

After Griz, we got this furry, big headed Chocolate Labrador named Tiber. He was a big puppy who loved water and food. He was also joyful. He was funny in his own way and stubborn too.Tiber didn’t like to learn but he loved the results. Tiber taught himself to open gates and would take himself, and my Rottweiler, Rion, for a walk. They ended up in Dog Jail that way. Tiber also loved to sleep in the bed with me and would eat chocolate chip cookies fresh out of the oven.

Tiber was alive when we had our daughter, and I cannot express what an amazing and patient dog he was to that little girl. He would stand in a kiddie pool all day and wear the necklace with pride.

I want to tell you about Rion too, I do. She is so special to me that I can’t talk about her without crying. So that story about her will have to wait for another day.

I’m crying now just thinking about Tiber and Rion. They were like Winnie the Pooh and Piglet. Best friends. I got my first ever Rottie from my father in law. She was 5 months old, same age as Tiber, and she was a freaking disaster. Rion had all the issues of an abused puppy. She didn’t trust humans, so I did what I do. I immersed her in life. Rion just didn’t understand love because she didn’t experience it. She became the most friendly, out going dog. She was my fiercest protector and she was so goofy. Her personality was just a big goof ball. She loved to play with everyone and she guided Tiber through any situation. I miss her terribly.

They both taught me so much. Two huge dogs made a lot of my trials and stressful situations at the time a lot easier. I was never alone when I had them.

After they passed away, it was 5 years until I thought I needed a dog in my life. So I went on search for a Labrador. I don’t know why really. I always thought I would get a Rottweiler, but I couldn’t. My heart wasn’t in it. I found a breeder in Montana that would ship to me living in Northern California. I was on the list to get a male Chocolate Labrador but it wasn’t meant to be. Her Female silver factored bred instead so I was offered a female from that litter.

On a chilly day in December I loaded up my daughter and drove to the airport to pick up a puppy. I still remember that Grace was wagging her tail and happy even in a crate. Just happy. We took her home and I thought I would never survive her puppy stage. Grace loved to sleep alone in her crate, which was odd for me after Tiber and Rion always next to me. But Grace wasn’t a snuggler. Then. However, now she can’t wait to put her head on your lap. Grace is the most overly enthusiastic fetcher and she constantly has to have a stuffed animal of some kind in her mouth. It’s the only thing that calms her down. I swear she can’t see but fling food in her direction she will ninja it out of the air. Grace barks at everything and everyone. Dogs and people. Running and barking up to people. It’s embarrassing because as soon as she gets to them, she sits and wiggles all over. She really is all bark. She’s super good with other dogs. I have only watched her go at it with my parents’ dog, Lucy. A kelpie. Even then it was over food and they looked more like two girls slapping each other.

Yes, Grace is a foodie. She waits unashamed for food to be tossed her way. She is best plate cleaner we have.

Grace is pure happiness. She loves green grass and will roll and roll in our yard. She loves to go with my dad and Lucy in the pick up. So much so, if he comes by and she gets in he can’t get her out. She will just sit in stare straight ahead and pretend she can’t hear. I have lost her more than once when she hears his diesel. Grace will just bolt down the street after him.

I am also lucky that she knows where my parents live and it’s the only place she goes when we go out the front door or the back gate gets left ajar.

We also added Jax the Chihuahua to the family when I met Craig. Jax is the sucker fish in our relationship. No, I didn’t know we needed a little dog who has so much anxiety and a capacity to love. He has become more mine than Craig’s.

And Grace just makes me happy. I just love her.

Ya know?