We had to say good bye to our family dog this week. Our black lab "Coal" lived a good and full life adding joy to our days. He was eleven years old.
Coal came into our lives back in 1999 after we were camping with a group of friends. One of the families we were camping with had a black lab who had puppies and all of them had been sold. One of the puppies had been returned to them at the age of 6 months because he was just too much for the family that bought him. After hearing about the dog around the camp fire, our son who was a sophmore in highschool at the time, came to us and begged us to take the dog in......so like all good parents......we said yes!! We had had large dogs ever since we had been married and at the time had a golden retriever...........so what was one more dog!!
Little did we know what we were getting into!! Our son went with a friend and picked him up in the cab of a small truck thinking he would be a cute "LITTLE" black puppy you could hold in their lap......wrong....he was already half grown....I can only imagine the ride back home with the large spunky black lab roaming around and the boys trying to keep him in control at the same time as the truck!! What started out to be our son's dog soon became our dog (mostly DH Jeff's) do to the normal highschool actitvies that take up a young boys life.
Coal's name was Shadow when he came to us but we wanted to give him a name from us. We gave him the name "COAL" you know....like a LUMP OF COAL!!!
His first bad habit was that he barked and barked and barked and barked and barked....you get the picture!! We tried everything to get him to stop!! He hated being left alone.........and I think he barked the whole time we were gone if we had to leave him!!
Of course the kids went off to school and DH off to work and there I was with the BLACK LUMP OF COAL.....barking!! At times when he would stop......... I would have to sneak around the house so he would not see me through the windows moving around in fear that he would start barking again!! I asked everyone I knew if they wanted a dog!! I begged my friend to just come by and take him somewhere......just dont tell me where!! Maybe if I just left the gate open he would run away!! I was desperate!!!
Things went from bad to worse with lots going on at the time with life in general so I told the family that something had to change and since we could not get rid of DH, daughter, son, or me...it was going to have to be the COAL!!! Much to everyone's sadness (EXCEPT MINE)... I said I would take him into the Local Humane Society and maybe they could find a new home for him!! So off I went......I left him in the car and went inside.......looked around........asked questions.........and more questions........went back out to the car and looked at him........he was just too cute to leave.........so I drove him home......crying the whole way and telling him what a STUPID dog he was!!! As you can imagine when everyone came home they were so excited to see COAL!!! We took him in for a little male adjusting which helped hugely to calm him down and continued to work with him.
He and I truly bonded when we moved into a new home which did not have a fenced yard to begin with so he and I were joined at the hip until we put one up. I must say that during that time I fell head over heals for him!! Where I went he went.....where he went I went! He loved just being with you!! DH Jeff was his best buddy....he could not stand the thought of Jeff being across the street visiting with someone....if he was not within 5 feet of you he was too far away for his liking!! When Jeff mowed the yard Coal would follow behind him every step of the way until the whole yard was mowed!
The last three years at our present home he has had lots of room to run and roam. He loved the water, squeaky toys, licking DH's icecream bowl, he loved his christmas stocking and presents, he loved wearing his antlers during the holidays, rolling in the grass, going on walks, chasing rabbits, riding in the car, going to the beach, camping and sleeping in his own little tent, he loved our granddaughter Addison and was so kind and gentle with her. She called him "COAL DOG" just like her papi and loved giving him treats!! And, mostly, he just loved being anywhere we were!!
The house is quiet without him.......DH's homecoming from work everyday is not the same without the black dog running out the long driveway to greet him. What started out as a lump of COAL in our lives turned into a heart warming shiny COAL, a treasure we can never replace!!!!
Everyone in our family had a special bond with him and was there to say good bye to him. He will truly be missed.