I picked up Mark’s book in hopes of getting inspired to write my own “dog story” in the near future. Although my story is tragic, it is a story that needs to be told. It is about a yellow lab named Bodie and about the dark side of dog breeders.

Like others drawn to Mark’s book and this web page, I have always been a dog lover. Growing up, I didn’t know what life was like without a dog. We always had one and our dogs were a part of the family.

When I went away to college I started counting down the days (and years!) until I could have my own dog.

Even though year after year I desperately wanted to purchase a pooch, I knew the responsible thing to do was wait until I lived in a house with a yard, and had the time to devote to a loving 4-legged creature.

The day finally came when I no longer lived in an apartment that wouldn’t allow pets, and felt that I had the time and money it took to have a dog.

Soon after my husband and I bought a house, we decided to get a dog. We wanted a yellow lab and my first idea (since I was going to be the primary caretaker and pooper scooper) was to adopt a dog from our local branch of “Guide Dogs For The Blind”. I soon discovered that the dogs up for adoption there – the ones who are not quite suitable to become sight dogs for anything from allergies to training difficulties – are extremely hard to come by. I then looked into “Golden Gate Labrador Retriever Rescue, Inc.” which is a great organization, but I suddenly realized I wanted a PUPPY… a cute little puppy of my own, from scratch.

After a few more weeks of research I finally found what I thought was a reputable Lab breeder, and we brought an 8-week-old yellow lab puppy home on December 9th, 2006.

He was euthanized on October 22, 2007 – 5 days after his first birthday.

His name was Bodie.
He was a “good” puppy… a really good puppy, but he was also a lot of work, as most puppies are. A quiet house and sleeping more than 6 hours in any given night were things of the past for us, but he quickly became best part of every day! That little creature could touch places in our hearts we never knew where there. We loved this dog.

Little did we know he would get to a part of our hearts that would leave us devastated.

Our little Labrador puppy had a pretty strong sense of self and thought that sometimes we were not as smart as he was. We knew better than that so, our little Bodie not only went to puppy school, I began training with him to be a SAR dog (Search & Rescue).
I felt like we had to do something positive with all that yellow lab puppy energy. I felt it was the start of a long, rewarding life with this dog. I was so optimistic and loving every day with Bodie. I had waited so long for this.

Life was good. Bodie seemed so happy and was doing really well, both in puppy school and SAR training. Then one day, he attacked me. He jumped on me, fiercely growling and bit me several times, drawing blood and sending shivers down my spine. I felt so betrayed. This dog was in a loving home and had received nothing but affection and good care.

I contacted the breeder right away. She asked if we had hit him with a newspaper to tell him that what he was doing was unacceptable. She then said she would be happy to take him back. To think we could just give this puppy back – like trading in a faulty car to a dealer. To think we could hit him! I was beyond appalled.

I took him out of SAR training. It happened again & again. He also attacked my husband and after about 3 months of this I started to loose count. This is a yellow lab puppy. Labs are not supposed to do this. Where is this coming from?

The perplexing thing was, Bodie would continue to be a happy, loving puppy. After an attack, he would just look at us and wag his tail as if asking us “OK, what’s next, something fun?” It was unbearable. This little puppy that we loved like a child was turning on us at the drop of a hat for no reason, and then acting like nothing was wrong. He was never aggressive with other dogs. He thankfully never bit anyone else.

I consulted with the SAR group I had been training with, but they had no answers. We brought him to his vet and he was tested for everything from thyroid to low blood sugar. They could find nothing wrong with him.

We continued with the dog trainer spending $150 a week in hopes of breaking Bodie of this odd behavior. This went on for months.

Then on Saturday October 20th, Bodie attacked me twice and my husband once within a 30 minute timeframe, leaving me crying so hard I was gasping for air – not to mention bites that needed medical attention and 5 distressing hours in the ER!

We knew we could no longer live with this problem.

Two agonizing days later, on Monday October 22nd, our vet put Bodie to sleep, and my husband and I were left with unbearable feelings of grief, guilt, and sadness.

What transpired in the following weeks and months after Bodie’s death has fueled my desire to share this story and possibly write a book about it all.

What I’ve learned about Bodie’s breeder (and what we are doing to the pure bred dog) is but a chapter or two. My “dog story” is about grief and dog people. It’s about dogs we have loved & lost – and it’s about dogs who are out there that need our love.

I am interested to know if others out there might like to read my “dog story” some day!

Ashley from CA