We shouldn’t have Carly.  I almost didn’t take her.  When I realized we had walked into a puppy mill, I told 12-year-old Matthew that we wouldn’t be taking a puppy.  I had picked him up at a Friday night birthday party, and driven 1.5 hours to Colborne, Ontario to get this pup on July 16, 2010.

But we got swindled.  The farmhouse lady handed the 9-week-old chocolate lab to my son.  He was in love – but trying not to – and put her down.

“Oh … she won’t be able to walk in here.  I keep her in a blue bin.”

Matt’s eyes flew to mine.  He was the rescuer first.

“No.” I said.

“Yes!” he replied. 

So … I paid $500 cash for a puppy I wasn’t sure I wanted and we loaded my son and his new puppy into the back seat.  Matt held Carly all the way.  She threw up on his lap one block from home.

They fed her Ol’ Roy … the cheapest food you can find.  It smelled like rancid, old shoes.


The “breeder” wrote a birthday date on a scrap of note paper that was different than what she had told me on the phone.  Was this pup nine weeks or older?

We reported them.

Was she born on May 12 or May 22?  We’ve never known for sure but our vet thinks it was the 12th … but we sometimes celebrate on the 22nd.  Since Annie’s birthday is May 14 – we think – it spreads out the puppy fun.  They seem to know when the celebration is just for them.  This year we have crammed so much into the good weekends.

I didn’t know what kind of dog we got – she wasn’t a purebred Chocolate Labrador Retriever – that was for sure.  You could see Doberman in her immediately.  But she was all melting chocolate personality.


From the very beginning, we could see her gentle soul, her fun-loving spirit and her intelligence.  She loves everyone and everything … every dog is a playmate, every person a friend.  Every man … she loves!  She likes ladies too, but men … she’d leave me in a heartbeat to go home with a man.  She followed my handsome neighbour home once … because I said I needed to clean her ears.

Carly … is the dog I want to be reincarnated next to me through each lifetime … because one life with her is just not enough.

She makes every day worth getting up … every morning walk is beautiful.

There are just too many good photos to share in one post!


She has amused us with her pure labrador love of food.


She has warmed our hearts when we were sad.


She has been the most amazing big sister to Annie that we – and Annie … My heartdog could ever hope for.

Annie did not know how to play when she arrived.  Annie was a stray rescue from Northern Ontario and all she knew how to do was defend.  Carly gave way to Annie and allowed her to move in peacefully.

Just a week after she moved in, I was driving both dogs somewhere and separated them … Carly in the back and Annie in the front.  Annie was having none of it.  She hopped in the back and laid her head down on Carly’s back. Carly turned to nudge and kiss her.  Sisters already.  My heart swelled.

We’ve been a family of four for two years now.

Carly … it pains me to see your muzzle go gray.  You are the best thing that ever happened to us. You are on the other side of “puppy”, but your playful spirit keeps on going.  I pray we can have a summer full of hikes, swims, dives, BBQs and playdates and visits to the pet stores so you can choose your own toys.  Because you deserve the best life a dog can have.

The dock diving season will open soon!

I love you deeply and forever, my souldog.

dock 1

I love you,

Lisa (Mom)

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