|Harry's Mom, Maggierose|
|Harry's Sister, Lily|
When we lived down south in Bokeelia Harry was a sort of celebrity. We lived on a dead end road. Houses on both side of the road, Barrancas with canals running parale to the road behind all the houses. There were three swimming pools, and two boat ramps. All of our neighbors. And I mean 100%, loved Harry more then any other dog or creature they had ever met or known. We had neighbors who would leave their garage door open part way so that Harry had access into their homes, through the mud room and the kitchen to the pool. Not like he could not just walk down one of the boat ramps into the warm brackish canal water. Well, okay he did that too. Every day he would walk down the road and go to each house for a treat. Then he would take a nap on one of the neighbors couch. They kept a flannel table cloth on the couch so he did not ruin it.
Harry was conceived with the assistance of a turkey baster. Yep, his mother, Maggierose was a virgin when she conceived and gave birth to the eleven freakish giant puppies. Harry weighed 18 ounces when he was born.
So Maggie was two years old and we applied to all the best breeders in the area and were lucky enough to be accepted by a breeder in Naples. We took Maggie the first time and when Breckins Excalibur of South Pine aka Elwood swaggered up to Maggie, she snapped at his face. Kelly pulled Elwood, I grabbed Maggie. Elwood was showing that weekend, and he did make grand champion at that show. But of course if he had had a blemish on his beautiful square head, well, he would not have gotten grand champion. So Kelly suggested that maybe we should do artificial insemination. I jumped at the chance. After all who wants to stand by and watch their "little girl" do it.
Kelly got the equipment, which basically was a turkey baster, which I do not believe she used for basting turkeys. well, I hope not anyway. So she grabbed a hold of Elwood's, well you know and got the sample for Maggie. I sat in a chair she had brought out and had Maggie's back legs up on my lap. She was happy, she was getting lots of attention and scratches and loving, so she was just fine. Then Kelly brought up the turkey baster and in a minute we were done. Maggie never knew what happened. No really, she did not know what was happening and let me tell you she was terribly surprised almost 60 days later when these freakishly giant things started popping out. Larry was at school, so Kelly and I handled things by ourselves. I put Maggie in the Saturn and drove the hour and half home. Which worked out well, because Kelly told me not to let Maggie pee for at least an hour.
The next week Larry, Maggie and I returned for the second go. Larry had brought the camera to get photos of Elwood to show potential parents of what the father looked like. So there were were, Larry with the camera, me in the chair with Maggie's back legs up on my lap and Kelly getting the specimen from Elwood. Just about that time another couple came around the house. They were interested in the car Kelly's husband had for sale in the front yard. The three of us looked up and must have looked terribly guilty. The other couple screamed and ran back around the house. Kelly, yelled for her husband who ran after the couple to explain that we were not some sick group of lab porno photographers, but were actually breeding Maggie. They came back and apologized for the confusion. We were all uncomfortable. Well, except for Maggie and Elwood. Elwood had a big silly smile on his face and Maggie was getting lots of attention, so why should they be embarrassed. Now that the deed was done we needed to get Maggie in the car before she could pee and we loose the sample. The couple kept insisting to apologize and we kept insisting that we needed to go, and I was holding Maggie's back in like that would help. Larry was trying to steer Maggie to the car, she needed to pee.
Each day after that, Maggie got bigger and bigger. She looked like a pregnant goat. You know how they get those wide sides? We have no doubt who the father was because Maggie would barely leave the house and when male dogs came sniffing around she would hide in the bath tub. Plus most of the puppies got Elwood's droopy eyes and large square head. Then February 14th, a Sunday, I went down to the park where we held the Music On Pine Island concerts. I handled my responsibility which was to make sure that the musicians showed up, had everything they needed and received their checks. I had a feeling that I needed to go home, so I left as soon as I had done my job and drove the few miles back home. There I found Maggie pacing and nervous. She looked at me like she had never been happier to see me and then immediately dropped a giant yellow male puppy. Every hour or so she would birth another puppy. Harry was the third born. He was the only chocolate pup. The next morning about 4am Lily was born. Well, sort of. She came out breech and by that point Maggie had birthed 10 puppies and more then 10 pounds of pups. Her muscles had no more push. Lily was not moving. It took us 20 minutes, Maggie and I to birth that child and to get her to breath on her own.
We had to hide Harry from the beginning. Everyone wanted Harry. The main reason we had bred Maggie was to have a chocolate male lab. And we had one. We had Harry. And Lily, well, she was my ugly duckling. You know, she thought she was a duck but she was actually a beautiful swan. She had sky blue eyes until she was 6 months old. We had to hide her also. I had dreamed of Lily Magnolia the night before she was born. I dreamed that she was the last puppy born. She was breech and the size of a walnut. Okay, in real life she was not the size of a walnut. She weighed 16 ounces at birth. Nice size puppy. But as soon as I saw Lily's little back legs not moving, stuck in her mom, I remembered the dream and Maggie and I worked so hard to bring her into this world. And she was mine. Lily was mine. Harry, well he belonged to everyone. He was every one's favorite, even if they had their own pets, they all loved Harry.
He would sit on the side of the road and then when people walked by, he would go out and graciously allow them to love him. When he saw bicyclists he wait to just the right moment then he would step in front of the bike and the riders would go flying over the handlebars and skid across the road. They would come up immediately and ask about Harry. They were bleeding, he was fine. he would again, graciously walk up to these people he had just thrown to the ground, well, with a little help from gravity and again allow them to adore him.
Oh, there are so many many Harry stories. He loves children. He loves the smell of them. He will walk up to babies and just sniff them all up. Then of course his giant tongue would come out of his giant head and would lick the child from toe to the top of their head in one giant slurp. And the children would giggle and laugh and grab a hold of his face and just pull on him and kiss him and he loved it. I am not sure I would have been as happy as a parent to allow this huge giant mouth with teeth that close to my children, but we never met a child or parent who did not know that Harry was something special.
Yep, he is something special and today is his 14th birthday.
So happy birthday my precious hairy little boy!
And Happy Valentine's Day everyone else.