Chapter 14: The Christmas Tree Forest (excerpt from Chert Dog)

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

My Father’s Greatest Gift

We went for a ride out through the rolling countryside on a
snowy day to meet the family to get their Christmas trees, but Lori
does not cut down living trees, she is into planting them. She tells me
that trees are our best friend, because they breathe in carbon dioxide
and give off oxygen. They provide homes for wildlife and shade
on sunny days and soak-up the moisture after the rain to prevent
flooding. The way that I see it, the more trees that there are, the more
oxygen for all. That sounds like one step towards achieving a sense of
balance in the environment, what do you think? Anyhow, we have an
artificial Christmas tree that was Connie’s which takes several hours
to assemble, but once it is complete, I could just gaze at the lights and
glistening ornaments all night. It is my important job to supervise the
whole process of putting the Christmas tree together!

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Chapter 15: Cousin Dugan “My Father’s Greatest Gift” (excerpt)

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

My Father’s Greatest Gift

This past summer, we went up to the family cottage and I met
my new cousin, Dugan, a Wheaton Terrier. We became friends right
from the start! He was still a puppy, so he did test my nerves a bit,
but as soon as we both went into the lake and swam together, things
were great! We lounged alongside the sloping grassed bank of the
lake and took naps. Then, we went swimming again! Chris and Lori
went swimming with us, too. Then, they took me for a canoe ride.
I used to be able to sit up in the canoe and look around, but my legs
were sore, so I just laid down for the ride.

The real surprise came later that summer when the side door
to the house opened up and cousin Dugan’s family came inside with
a crate, food, treats and toys and they LEFT cousin Dugan in his
crate in the basement! Well, since I will not do those basement stairs
anymore (long story…), I waited for my family to get home. Then,
cousin Dugan was out of the cage and running around everywhere!
What was going on?! Finally, I learned that cousin Dugan was staying
over for a few days while Chris’ family visited Papa and Bobci on
the St. Lawrence River at Cape Vincent. Apparently, no dogs were
allowed there either!

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Chapter 15: Cousin Dugan (excerpt from Chert Dog)

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

My Father’s Greatest Gift

The next morning, Lori took me for a walk and I visited with
my Syria and had some more photos taken of me. It was a beautiful
day with the autumn leaves expressing their joyous celebration of
color as they lit up the hillside with their vivid hues. The sky was a
brilliant deep blue which brought a sense of peace to my heart. Then,
we all went for a ride, but this ride was not at all like all the other
rides I have been on in the past. I just knew something was different
about this trip. When we arrived at our destination, Lori went inside
the building and came back out to say that we were to come back in
about an hour.

Guess where we went? My most favorite place – watershed!
They helped me out of the back seat of the car and we strolled along
the pathway with the little pond nearby. Several Canadian Geese
were floating on the water and flying around the shoreline. There
was a creek on the other side of the pathway which flowed across the
many rocks in its bed. The colors on the hillside were a breathtaking
backdrop to our unexpected walk. I must say that it was truly the
most wondrous day of my life!

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