new years day 2020

Annie Chillin'
And so we start another decade, the third decade of the twenty-first century. The real excruciatingly pedantic date police (the ones who tweet REALLY LOUD on Twitter) want us to call 2021 the start of the third decade, but I hew to a different regex rule: the decade is of the form 20[0-9][0-9], such that if its the current decade, then it’s any year in the pattern 202[0-9], meaning 2020 is part of the third decade of the twenty-first century. I’m so glad we cleared that up.

Today it’s Annie’s turn to be photographed. Annie’s a big four-year-old Doodle who will turn a big five in February on Valentine’s Day. Annie is our Special Needs Doodle. She’s OK most of the time, but every once in a while she goes crazy seeking assurances we love her. I don’t know why she has the moments of strong anxiety or what triggers them, but she gets them. The pass quickly and then she’s back to where her calm Labrador Retriever side takes control. She can be so sweet, and when she’s over on her back with her brisket bare for rubs, I look down and see that white heart-shaped marking and my heart melts just a little. It was that marking that inspired Annie’s name; the rock group Heart’s “Dreamboat Annie”, or just Annie.
Annie and her Big Back Yard
Many is the time where Annie likes to just sit quietly at the screen door, looking out into her big back yard. When she’s ready to go out she comes and lets me know, bumping me with her nose and then walking to the door where she turns back to look at me. Non-verbal communication, but quite clear to me.

Now that I’m staying home a whole lot more, both Annie and I look forward to spending more time communicating and sharing life together. She along with her big sister Ruby, and of course with the two Gingersnaps. All four are totally chill with one another.

 

our ‘girls’ are doing just fine

The past few days have been warm enough that I’ve been out in the pool with my wife doing our water therapy. That’s been ongoing since last Friday afternoon when I came home from work. It’s warm enough that even the girls come out and lounge by the pool.Ruby turned 10 back in August. She still has that big, beautiful Lab head, and her ears are still in perfect form. But Labs begin to turn white around their muzzle and head. If you look carefully, you can see white shading into the standard light ginger color of a Yellow lab, and especially under her eyes, down the muzzle, and to her mouth. We’ve owned both Chocolate and Black Labs, and when they went white it stood out against their dark coats. But Yellows don’t have that “issue” and you can’t tell they’re turning white due to age unless you look very carefully…
Annie’s a Doodle with a Standard Poodle’s coat. She’s nearly four (her birthday is Valentine’s day) so she should be really coming into her own. Unfortunately, Annie’s coat already has all sorts of color scattered across her black coat, from silver to ginger. You can see the ginger color on her muzzle in the photo above. Having never cared for a Doodle before I have no idea how she will age or how long she’ll live. But I hope she has a good long life like every other Lab we’ve ever had, which is on average between 15 and 16 years.