Happy Tails for Birdie
February 27, 2007
I’ve been remiss for over a year in writing to thank you and everyone at LRR for bringing Birdie into my life. She’s doing great! It feels like we’ve been family forever. As you may recall, she’s a sweet, loveable, well-behaved girl, who LOVES being with her people. What you may not know about Birdie is she’s an incredible athlete too.
“Kong” is her passion (the yellow, elongated tennis ball type), thrown in the water or a backyard, preferably with her best friend Shayla, a three year old chocolate lab from the neighborhood (a competitive game of frisbee or retrieving a tennis ball is A-OK too). Shayla is quite mouthy and when she wants to play with Birdie she’ll stand in her backyard and let out a few piercing barks, which Birdie can hear from our house about a block and a half away – we refer to this as the “call to Kong” – Birdie will then grab her Kong from her toy box and come find me, wherever I am in the house. It’s hard to resist when you look at Birdie, with her silky black coat, big brown eyes, gorgeous Lab ears cocked forward, holding the Kong in her mouth, with her entire back half wiggling from side to side from her tail in full wag, and her dancing from one side to the other. I have never actually been able to throw the Kong long enough to wear her out. I don’t think I have ever before witnessed such unadulterated joy. She’s like the Energizer Bunny when it comes to Kong. I chuckled when I recently re-read her bio from when she was up for adoption, which said; “so even though I am a Labrador Retriever, I�m not very good at retrieving! I’ll chase the ball but I’m not very good at returning the ball to you - maybe I will learn in my foster home?” Suffice it to say she learned it, she’s mastered it and she LOVES retrieving.
Conversely, if she’s not retrieving she is the calmest, quietest, most mild and well mannered girl. My neighbor says that when he walks into my house and Birdie is curled up on her bed, he thinks she’s “flat lined” because she’s so calm; she doesn’t bark or jump up. She stays close to me, loves being petted, particularly belly rubs, but is never pushy. She doesn’t chase squirrels, cats or bunny rabbits, she seems to think of them all as friends; I think her motto is “why can’t we all just get along.”
She is still quite timid with strangers, particularly men or anyone who speaks in a loud voice. It breaks my heart when I see her flinch because it makes me think she may have been abused in her past. She also has some separation anxieties (perhaps because she was abandoned by her people before??). While she’s never needed to be crated, she will bark when I first leave the house (although she can be bribed with a Frosty Paw!) And the only thing she HATES in this world is thunderstorms. Poor Birdie will shake, pant and crawl into the darkest, quietest part of the house during a storm; she truly is inconsolable until the storm passes.
Birdie did suffer a sports injury this past winter, with a partial tear of her Achilles Tendon. While in the past, surgery was the most common approach to healing, there are now veterinarian sports medicine and rehabilitation doctors available (and much like human medicine, rehabilitating the original tendon is often far better than invasive surgery). We found a terrific husband and wife orthopedic and sports medicine rehab team, and I made the commitment to drive Birdie 84 miles round trip twice a week to get her Therapeutic Ultrasound, Laser Therapy, Magnetic Field Therapy and Massage / Stretching rehab. Birdie was an excellent patient, even while in a hard splint for 8 weeks. The best news is, the tendon fully healed and she is back to playing at full speed.
So suffice it to say, you made a fantastic placement. I don’t know whether Birdie chose me, or you steered us towards each other, regardless a heartfelt thank you. She has brought great joy into our home, and she is very, very happy. The LRR dogs are certainly fortunate that you do what you do.