Clyde and Louie

In the summer of ’98, just a few months after losing my black Lab Buddy to cancer, I saw an ad in the Washington Post for 2 Labs that the owner was giving away. I went to see the dogs where they had lived since puppies. They were now 2 and 2 1/2 years old. The yellow English Lab, Clyde, was the quieter and smarter of the two. Louie was a redhead whose papers said that he was a yellow lab.(???) He had been bred to be a hunting dog and was always wired. I used to say that he would play ball until his heart exploded. I was a little leary about adopting 2 dogs who had been raised in a yard and not spent much time in a house. I told the owner that I would give it a try for a couple of weeks and see if they adjusted to a more domestic life. They settled in quickly. They loved the freedom of a couple of acres to run and play ball on. Clyde was fond of chasing golf balls after I would hit them across the pasture. Louie just loved tennis balls. They both were crazy about having a pool. They could spend hours belly flopping into the pool after tennis balls.

The boys became my total responsibility in 2000 when my husband and I separated. The Separation Agreement actually stated that the dogs were to stay with me. My ex moved into an apartment which did not allow pets, anyway. The boys and I moved to Ashburn in 2005. The new house had a fenced yard and miles of trails to walk. The boys were older now and didn’t really miss the pool and acreage to run on. They were such wonderful company for me. Each time I would come home, Louie would meet me at the door with a ball in his mouth and his tail wagging his body.

In 2006, Louie had surgery to have a plate put in his leg to support the ligament he had damaged. He did well after that.

The next year, Clyde had severe breathing problems and I was told that the flaps in his throat to keep him from asparating were not opening properly to allow him to breath. He had surgery to tie one of the flaps back. He subsequently was diagnosed with cancer but seemed to be doing okay.

In December, 2008, my mother died from pancreatic cancer. Less than a month later, Clyde also died from cancer. Within a week of Clyde’s death, Louie collapsed on the kitchen floor after playing ball with my daughter. She and I picked him up and carried him to the vet who said that he was bleeding internally and there was nothing to be done. I had to let him go.

Clyde was 13 1/2 and Louie was 13. Ripe old ages for Labs. I still miss them.

— Martha from Ashburn, VA