This is a story about two Lab puppies that were very special dogs.

The best place to start is at the beginning...

I heard about a daughter of River Oaks Way-Da-Go Rocky that was for sale. She was field-bred, but looked like a classic Lab with a broad head, good angles and plenty of bone.

It was a no-brainer. I had to bring her home.

Dee was wonderful in the house - clean, quiet and she fit right in. In the field, she was dynamite. She was focused, fast and so easy to run.

She was the first dog I ran in hunt tests. She started in four tests and titled in four tests. In hindsight I should have run her in the next level as well.

But then she came in season and I bred her to my very talented chocolate boy, Chip.

I was hoping for a chocolate female puppy.

The birth of two Lab puppies and their siblings...

The first four puppies came out every 30 minutes like they were on a timer - boy - boy - boy - boy.

Then we waited. And waited. An hour went by. Two hours. Three hours.

It was so long since the last puppy and there were no more signs of contractions. I thought Dee must have finished whelping so I started putting away all the whelping supplies.

I was so sad not to get my chocolate girl.

A happy surprise...

Then FOUR HOURS after the last puppy was born, she had another puppy.

A boy. Jeez Louise!

Shortly after that she had two more puppies - a black girl and a chocolate girl!

Meeting my heart dog...

The story doesn't end there though. I was so happy to get the chocolate girl I'd wished for, but there was another puppy. Every time I cleaned the whelping pen or interacted with the puppies the black girl paid attention to me. She had fabulous eye contact!

The more I got to know her, the more I fell in love.

She was Arwen. My heart dog.

The story doesn't end there however...

The first born boy became my husband's favorite. I think he liked him for the white star on his chest.

He promised he would train him and take him to work with him. It didn't happen so I put the puppy up for sale. I got several good offers for him, but I couldn't do it. I'd fallen in love with him too.

He was Tory. Another heart dog.

The two Lab puppies grew up...

Tory grew to be a big, impressive male with a deep bark. Often he would sit in the car watching as I went in a store. When he saw me come out, he would woof. Just once and just loud enough for me to hear.

He earned four Rally titles in 29 straight runs with a perfect score and several placements. He enjoyed competing.

Tory also competed in hunt tests - both AKC and HRC. He was on the verge of completing his Hunting Retriever Championship title when he collapsed. I rushed him to the veterinarian who said his heart was failing. She gave him a few weeks to live.

He made it nearly six more months and didn't show any signs of a heart problem. To be safe, he didn't run in any more field events and lived a happy, but quiet, life.

Arwen was smaller than her brother, but she was the alpha. Tory was the enforcer and kept the other dogs in line. One day he thought Arwen did something wrong and he trotted over to set her straight. She just turned and gave him "the look." It was comical to see that big dog do a reining horse slide stop and then tip-toe away from her.

She was multi-talented and competed successfully in several venues - hunt tests (AKC and UKC), obedience, Rally and Barn Hunt. In addition to titles, she also earned special awards. At the Labrador Retriever Club national specialty, she received the Dog For All Reasons award. She was the third dog to earn the LRC's Versatile Producer of Merit award. Arwen also received awards such as a Multi-Purpose Retriever and a Retriever Achiever.

However her most important roles were as my shadow, my sidekick, my confidant, and my friend.

Not an ending...

These two Lab puppies and their dad, Chip, were my Musketeers, my constant companions and my teachers. Anything I asked, they tried.

Someday there will be a joyful reunion at the Rainbow Bridge.

Two Lab puppies:
HR UH Justamere Aviator CD SH RAE CGC CC

HRCH Justamere Chocolate Chip CD TDX SH RAE CGC

Knight's Tail Dehlia JH

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Dual Purpose Labrador Retrievers

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