BLM (Black Lab Mix)- the Catchall Breed of Rescue Dogs

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And the dog wheel goes round and round. The only thing consistent is the color of all these dogs – black.

When I turned up at the OPH event in York this past Sunday, it seemed like a bit of a racist event – all black dogs. Well, to be honest, there were a couple brown dogs and even one tiny white (and black!) dog named (appropriately) Sylvester, but they were all on the smaller size, so they were eclipsed by sheer size and number of big, black dogs.

If OPH has a trademark dog is must be “black lab mix.” BLMs are prevalent in the site’s listings on most days. Nothing wrong with a BLM, mind you, I’m just a hound girl myself.

Bernie landed in a stellar forever home on Sunday. She’s got an adorable, like-sized fursister to hang with and two of her very own children! Her new family was super nice and they seemed like a perfect fit. They sent me pictures later in the day that clearly showed Bernie (now Zora) is making herself right at home. Happy for Bern!

With Bernie’s departure, we welcomed our fourth BLM of 2016 on Sunday. Catalina is a skinny (seriously skinny), leggy, long-nosed girl who resembles a German shepherd in her size/shape/nose length, but has the short black coat of a lab. She’s spent the last week in a local boarding facility as there was no room in the foster inn.

When I met Catalina, she was nervously guarding her own personal space at the event – happy to meet people, but snarling at dogs that crowded her. Perhaps a week in boarding, after a month or two in a shelter, had made her a little defensive and suspicious. Being shuffled like a number and lodged with other nervous strangers in noisy unfamiliar quarters would make me touchy, too, so I tried not to judge. Just took her leash and carted her quaking self home.

Now that she’s settled in here, she’s warm and affectionate, sweet and eager to please. It took less than 24 hours for her to go from running from Nick (maybe she doesn’t like men) to jumping all over him with kisses (maybe she likes men best).

Ian says she looks like Sirius Black when he was in dog form in Harry Potter. I think she’s gorgeous – long legs, shiny coat, sweet face, big smiles.

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Catalina is a major fan of the cats, so we’ve nicknamed our cat-obsessed guest, Cat  (because Catalina makes me think of salad dressing – no one else in my house seems to remember that sickly sweet red dressing of our youth). She keeps tabs on the cats’ wearabouts and announces any sudden moves they make on or off the porch.

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When we’re outside, she finds it very difficult to focus on the task at hand if the cats are anywhere nearby. She seems to feel it’s her duty to track their movements. One of my cats, Hermoine, likes to torment Cat, by following us as we make our way around the yard while staying just out of reach of the leash.

While Cat is large and leggy and full-size, if underweight, she is still a puppy, so the chewing is a thing.

Last night she ate a baseball, unbeknownst to us (like a cat, she is very quiet and stealthy and no one noticed her with the ball during dinner when she was being so well-behaved on her side of the room). The only reason I know she ate a baseball is because she barfed it up overnight. Have you seen the inside of a baseball? Endless white string. This morning, when I found the mess in her cage, I thought – crap, she’s got SERIOUS worms. But upon closer examination (so many fun times in fostering!), I realized that there were bits of red leather mixed in and there couldn’t possibly be worms that long. Hunting around for the one red baseball we possess confirmed my suspicions. She ate it. Pretty impressive in the sheer quantity – not a single bit of evidence left, except the barf.

This morning, while I was cleaning up the crate, sorting out the barf mystery, and getting the laundry started, Cat managed to remove a peanut butter knife and the top to my husband’s coffee thermos from the counter. Luckily, she didn’t ingest either of these two things, simply licked them clean and left them on the dog bed. This afternoon, she decapitated my car phone charger and ate a portion of the cord. Ugh.

I’m imagining it’s going to be a fun week! I’m only half kidding. But it certainly will be challenging as three college age boys will be home for the Easter break to enjoy Cat’s antics and up the potential chew toys spoils. Game on!

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Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and occasional cowgirl who lives on a hillside farm in Southern York County, PA. You can find information about my books and all my writing adventures on my website CaraWrites.com.

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