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Lately, I’ve been making a point to take more walks with one of my oldest, closest friends. Some of my clients who have been with me for a few years may have seen him around the firm back in the day, “talking” just a little too loudly from his spot in the corner of my office. Though I had to stop inviting him around during workdays, he’s a steadfast buddy who’s been with me through thick and thin. I’m talking, of course, about my English Labrador, Rawson. Ever since I picked him up as a little white puppy from Westover Animal Hospital veterinarian Henry Hart, he’s been the best friend a guy could ask for. I know I’m biased, but Rawson is one of the most friendly, happy-go-lucky dogs you’ll ever see. Certainly, he’s never met another dog or human he didn’t like, and he’ll come scampering over at the first sign of any attention he can get. Though the original plan was to train him to be a hunting dog, the trainer who was supposed to get him up to speed claimed Rawson didn’t love retrieving quite enough. So these days he’s not out nabbing birds too often. He much prefers to spend his days lounging on the couch, completely destroying any toy that comes in his path. And not only toys, for that matter. Rawson defies the laws of science with his digestive tract and eats all kinds of crazy stuff without a thought. He’s been known to fully consume starter logs straight off my fireplace, big bowls of chocolates, hairbrushes, aluminum foil wrappers … the list goes on and on. One time, he ran right up to the fire pit, grabbed a charred aluminum can, and ran off with it. I didn’t think anything of it, assuming he was just playing with the thing, but when I went to check out what he was doing, the can was gone — he’d eaten straight through the middle. What’s more, no matter what he chomps down, it never causes him any problems. The only time his eating habits prompted me to call the vet was when he was about three months old. It was about seven weeks after my father had passed away, and my godmother was staying with me along with her little toy-sized spaniel. Both dogs had their own food bags. While my godmother and I were out of the house running some errands, Rawson broke into the other dogs’ bag of food and ate the whole thing. When we got home, he was passed out on the MEET RAWSON: The 120-Pound Lap Dog
floor and happy as can be, but he looked like he’d swallowed an entire basketball. “It looks like he’s about to explode!” I told the vet. He just chuckled, and assured me that Rawson would be fine. And lo and behold, over the next couple days, my spherical pup shrank down to his normal size again. Unfortunately, he’s looking a little round again lately — he’s gained some weight as I’ve gotten busier at work. By now, I might even declare him morbidly obese for a 7-year-old English Lab. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been making sure to take him out more and more often to walk around the neighborhood and the nearby park. Honestly, though, that’s just a good excuse to get outside with my buddy by my side, helping him hunt for whatever weird thing he’ll inevitably eat next.
-William F. “Trey” Underwood, III
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