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ANN BAILEY: Maggie the incorrigible, yet lovable, Lab does have some good qualities

After our family was given Maggie, our yellow Lab, we did some research about her breed. One of the things we read about her said that Labs like food and fun.

Ann Bailey
Ann Bailey

After our family was given Maggie, our yellow Lab, we did some research about her breed. One of the things we read about her said that Labs like food and fun.

Oh, really?

That's like saying that President Barack Obama has been a little concerned about health care reform since he took office. In other words, it's an understatement.

During the two years since Maggie became part of our household, she has consistently demonstrated in a myriad of ways just how important food and fun are to her.

We learned the day we got her, for example, that if we left food on the counter it would disappear. Now, we stack baked goods such as loaves of bread, muffins and cookies on top of the fridge. We know that if we are going to move any of that food to the counter so we can serve it, we better keep it protected.

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Still, once in a while when one of us has our guard down, Maggie scores a treat that was intended for human consumption. The other day, for example, I set a brownie on the kitchen counter, then turned around to go to the fridge for a glass of milk. I figured it was safe to leave it unattended because Maggie was sleeping in her kennel.

When I came back a few seconds later, the brownie was gone and Maggie was standing by the counter smacking her lips. She must have smelled the brownie in her sleep or was sleeping with one eye open. Either way my afternoon snack was history.

Veggies

It's not only sweets that Maggie craves, however. She also eats her veggies and loves this time of year as much as gardeners do. Earlier this summer she ate what meager pea crop that we had and this month we're battling her for the cucumbers. If she gets to the garden before we do, there will be none left for dinner, so usually we run out and pick the cucumbers before we let her out of the house.

She also likes small pumpkins and winter squash, zucchini (which she can have whenever she wants) and green beans. But Maggie doesn't limit her consumption of garden produce to vegetables. She also enjoys eating apples and cherries off of the trees and raspberries from the bush. She thinks the berries taste even better when they're picked and sitting in a bowl.

And fruits

The other day I went out to pick raspberries in the late evening because the forecast was for rain and I knew they'd be ruined if I waited. I bundled up in a long-sleeved coat, even though it was warm, so I wouldn't get my arms torn by thorns and eaten by mosquitoes. It wasn't one of my more enjoyable times communing with nature, but after about an hour I had several bowls filled and sitting at the end of the row of bushes.

About the time I finished up, Brian let the dogs out for the last time of the evening. I wasn't too worried about the raspberries because he was standing where I thought that I had left the bowls and I knew that he would defend their contents.

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I was going to gather up the bowls when, to my horror, I recalled that I had left them at the other end of the row. I ran over there and found all but one empty and a happy-looking Maggie wagging her tail as if to thank me for feeding me her favorite fruits.

Those are the times when I dream of finding Maggie a good home. However, it's only a dream because I don't think anyone else would put up with her shenanigans. More importantly, we made a commitment when we agreed to become her owners and I won't go back on that, no matter how much she tries my patience.

Playtime

During the frustrating times with Maggie, I try to keep in mind that she does have good points. For example, she's an excellent running partner for my husband, Brian. She seldom strays far from his side and can run for miles without getting tired.

Maggie also is a friendly soul and, as the research we did also noted, she loves to play. She and Rosebud our golden retriever, love to wrestle and play "chase," running laps around the yard after one another. Maggie also loves to play fetch and never tires of running to grab a toy or ball and bring it back to us. She likes playing hide-n-seek, too, and is good at finding us.

We figure that one of these days, Maggie, who will be 3 years old this fall, will outgrow the puppy stage and become more well-mannered. If she doesn't, she will keep me on my toes and continue to supply me with good column fodder.

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