Chapter 1: Puppy Number 8 (excerpt)

“My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

Ah, Doghead here. Let me begin by saying that from my
vantage point, things are really warm and toasty! I kept it that way
as long as I could to be a gentleman and let my brothers and sisters
go before me. And then my turn arrived. All of a sudden, I felt a
large tongue licking me and heard a lot of noises that were new to
me. Then, my eyes were opened and I could see my Mother, Parisian,
with all of my brothers and sisters! Wow, we were out and making
noises that I had never heard before! My Father wasn’t there, but his
name was Broadway Bound and I inherited his dancing abilities as
I’ve been often told!

One by one I had to say good-bye to my brothers and sisters as
they left our home to live with their new families. I wished them well.
I stayed with my Mother and her owner, who happened to be my new
Master’s nephew! They were similar in some ways – they both had
been athletes and they could speak both Slovak and Doghead (more
on that further into my story). My Mother, Paris, was very lucky to
have such a kind and dog-friendly master who seemed to always have
special things for us to learn. I think I especially enjoyed the rides in
the cart behind his tractor. Going for rides in the truck is still one of
my most favorite pastimes!

My most exciting moment was when I met my Master,
whose name is John! John is a handsome, stoic man whose firm,
commanding voice gave way to the most endearing soul I could ever
wish to have – we were best of friends from the start! John’s son has a
very similar compassionate soul – a dog’s heaven on earth, to be sure!…

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Chapter 10: Tomatoes, Sunflowers and Roses (excerpt from Chert Dog)

“My Father’s Greatest Gift:  Life Lessons from a Black English Labrador Retriever”

My Father’s Greatest Gift

On a bright and sunny day, while basking in the afternoon
sun on the cool-grassy yard, a few goldfinches and cardinals flew to
the bird feeders as a soft, soothing breeze ruffled my fur. Chris and
Lori unloaded the truck to reveal oodles of red, juicy tomatoes that
they had picked from John’s garden. Even though he was no longer
with us, his garden was producing an incredible crop – his generous
heart was still giving to us from beyond. He taught me through his
patient process of germination to his bountiful plants bearing fruit
how important it is to give things their appointed time to flourish.
No two plants are the same; I am pretty certain that can be said for
Dogheads and people, too…

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