I always wanted a Chocolate Lab and it took me just about 38 years to get one.
We always seemed to have a mutt showing up, needing  taken care of, so it wasn't
until early 1998 that I found myself able to look at the newspaper and see what
was available.  To my surprise a litter was just born a week earlier. February  
19, 1998. I called and found I was the first to call and would have first pick after
the owner's picked theirs. They graciously allowed me to come visit almost
everyday until I was allowed to pick and bring Chasse home. I held her and
bonded with her everyday I visited and was so happy when the owners picked
another pup of the 9 pups born. Her father was a Champion Chocolate lab, her
mother was an almost redish colored Yellow lab.

The above picture was taken, just before I put her in a dog carrier and brought
her home. The owners of the litter were very kind to me allowing me to visit
almost daily and could not let me wait one more week before bringing her home.
So I brought her home at 7 weeks old.
The line up, here is eight of the nine, as much as they tried they just could not get
all nine in the same picture. As you can see the three largest pups were light
brown, three medium sized pups where a slightly darker shade and the three
smallest were dark brown. The ones chosen at that point had a little ribbon
around their necks. Chasse was the fourth one from the left and you just see part
of a red ribbon. Chasse and one of the smallest dark brown pups were female, the
rest were males.
Mom with Chasse. I don't know exactly when this pic was taken, it was at the
home where we got her from. I couldn't afford the entire price of $500.00 for her
so Mom paid half , so she just had to come see her. It was love at first sight and
she always said she owned the tail end.
Learning to sit and come. She learned fast, the hardest part was getting her to
stay as I wheeled back a little and then had her come to me but she figured it out
in no time. By the third day she was house trained.
She had a good sized fenced in area at first, before she learned the boundrys. I
bought and used the "Art of raising a puppy" by the Monks of new Skete from
N.Y.  It wasn't a religous thing, the book just caught my eye when I was buying
things to prepare for her and I bought it. I think I read it three or four times from
cover to cover before she came home. The book, just made sense.
A very tired puppy
I had a neighbor who had a beautiful Golden Retriever who had to be drugged during thunder
storms or any loud noises. She died at three from a heart attack because of a storm. I was
determined not to have that happen. Having her during the spring time which usually is the
worst time for storms here, which gave me an oportunity to try the only thing I could think of. I
would open all the shades to the windows and get on the bed and play with her during a storm,
a bad storm was play time. What developed after that first summer was a puppy who grew into
a dog that would sleep through thunder storms. Sometimes those right over the house, she
would pick her head up as if to say, " what was that?" Most of the time she would snore though
them. I cannot tell you how happy I was the time I spent doing that helped give me a dog
unafraid of anything.

We had a tall round tin that I'm not sure, maybe popcorn came in at one time. I got this idea
and this tin, which  was as tall or just barely taller, than her standing up, when she first came to
live with us. I used it to put puppy cookies in it. I stood her up one day and patted her front paw
on the top of the tin and would say "cookie" every time. I did this for a few minutes and maybe
three times one day. A little while later she asked to go out to do her business and when she
came back in, she ran to the tin and smacked it with her paw!  She was not quite 8 weeks old,
House broke and knew how to get a treat. For almost twelve years she knew where and how to
get a treat. Today that tin is a bit beat up but still full of cookies. It took a while but after
watching her do this for years, I believe Hobbs was eight the first time I actually saw him paw
the tin. He does it now.

I also taught her to be quiet. At first she would bark whenever she wanted something, like going
outside. I would say shhh quiet girl and talk to her in a low voice, it didn't take long and she
would come to me and "mouth" or barely "woof" to let me know she needed to go potty or
needed something. She drank a lot of water and would let me know if I let it get to low. She
would walk over and put her head on my knee with tail wagging and eyes looking at me. I
would start asking what it was she wanted and once I said it, she would for the most part mouth
a woof but if she got excited she would forget and bark sometimes.
She loved snow and there was never a mud
puddle she couldn't pass up walking through.
Here she's waiting for me to let her go play
in the snow.