Lab Diaries


I was scrolling through old photos on my iPhone a couple of days back when I found a gem. A photo of our darling Coco taken a couple of days before we decided to bring him home.

He was hanging around with his brother, and this photo of the two of them together just pulled at my heart. It was just a few months ago that he was this little thing that I would carry in the palm of my hand, and who would nap peacefully on my lap while I read.

Making a decision to pick a dog was so difficult. We hemmed and we hawed. I wanted a small dog – Pug, Beagle, or Spaniel that would be in the house for the most part, and which would be the right size for everyone to cuddle with.

K wanted a big dog who would mostly stay outdoors (primary concern was Snubnose’s allergies), and who would also guard our house. He eyed a lot of big guard dogs, but the rest of us eventually cut him down to size and forced him to shortlist a labrador, or a golden retriever. Neither of them are guard dogs, true. But I argued, all we needed was a dog who would bark if anyone was around. Did we really want a trained attack dog around the kids?

Put that way, he agreed. I then tried to argue him down to a Beagle (Snubnose and I even had the name Shiloh picked out). But my influence ended with a lab. It also ended when someone sent us a photo of a litter of lab puppies, and we just melted then and there. I mean, look at this photo, wouldn’t you?

Cutie siblings

Cutie siblings

This was a mixed litter – as in the father was a cream lab and the mother was a red roan, hence two puppies with such different coloring.

We fell flat for Coco when we saw him. He was the smallest of the bunch, the one with the saddest big brown eyes, and apart from the cuteness factor, my practical mind went – hmm, his color would hide a lot of dirt when he is in between baths.

So, he was the universal choice. Snubnose and Piglet didn’t really have too much of a say in the matter of dog, mainly because she was too scared of dogs to say anything sensible, and Piglet too indifferent at the time.

We made up our minds on the spot and brought little Coco (again universal on the spot choice of name) back home in a crate. The rest of the first day was familiarizing him with the surroundings and helping him to explore his new home.

We hit a few milestones within the next few days:

  • His first shots from the vet
  • Loose stools from us overfeeding him enthusiastically in the beginning
  • His first peaceful night without waking us all up. Hurrah!
  • His first bowel movement in the allotted place

We cheered for everything. Coco was really turning out to be a very smart dog!

The first couple of months passed by very peacefully. By the third month though, Coco was large enough to knock Piglet over, and he started teething, which alarmed Snubnose, and even though I was reluctant, for safety sake, we started to think about keeping a little distance between him and the kids. Piglet especially is prone to a lot of rough play. And there were a couple of incidents where Piglet and Coco got snappy with each other, that we felt Coco might deal better left outside during the day after Piglet gets back from school.

Our sweet Coco adjusted to that transition also pretty amiably. In fact, overall, as long as we give him his food and walks on time, he’s pretty undemanding preferring to snooze quietly on the patio for most of the day.

As Coco’s teething eased and he stopped trying to chew on her, Snubnose also started taking to him. Now the two of them are close friends, and she is the regular dog walker on days K or I don’t feel up to it. He does play a lot of doggy tricks on her though – pretending to be too tired and flopping down after only traversing a couple of blocks.

Snubnose has wizened up though, and she has taught him to play Fetch, Shake hands, and a few other commands, which being the sharp dog he is, he learned pretty fast.

Piglet, alas, is allowed to play with him only under strict supervision. He often protests this decision, but until I can trust him not to pull Coco’s tail, or try to ride him like a horse – two of his favorite Coco-related activities, well, he will have to tolerate the strict monitoring.

In the meantime, Coco moves on smoothly in life – growing bigger and glossier, and generally just pleased with life. This photo below was taken last month, and I think now he is already a full head taller.

Coco resting at home

Coco resting at home

I have also chilled a bit regarding the situation between Coco and Piglet. I know Piglet is fond of Coco, a bit too fond at the moment. But he just needs to grow up a bit to curb his excitability. Coco has also matured a bit and no longer jumps excitedly at Piglet.

Hopefully in time they will learn to play together peacefully.

  • Hahaha, boy, you can really tell from those puppy pictures how big he’s going to get — those paws! Coco is adorable, and I’m glad he’s fitting into your family so well. I’m sure once Piglet gets a bit older and learns best practices around dogs, he and Coco will be the best of pals too. 😀

    • Nishita

      yup @readingtheend:disqus Coco is going to be a really big dog. I think Coco and Piglet will be fine in the years to come. Piglet loves his walks with Coco and loves all the patting and cuddling, not so much the licking and the bounding. They just need to get used to each other.

  • The Bride

    V wants to move to Bangalore and I’m totally resisting it, but the one bright spot is that we can finally get a dog. It’s such a privilege for kids to grow up around one. Though obviously a lot of work for the parents.

    Smart thinking on the colour. Love that Coco plays doggie tricks on Snubnose. I’ve told the kids that if we get a dog they have to walk it. They’re all enthusiastic except for picking up a poop.

    • Nishita

      @disqus_n8id8gueu6:disqus could we exchange places? LOL. We’d love to move to Hong Kong – the fantastic public transport, general orderliness and cleanliness, and power all the time is something that’s a dream over here.

      Though if you want to move to India, then Bangalore I believe is the better option compared to the other metros – good weather, good schools. If you can get over the sticker shock of the astronomical house rentals (or buy) and the school fees (but then it might be reasonable if you are coming back from HK), it’s a chill laid back place to be.

      And no one want to pick up poop! We all squabble over turns 😀

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