Tag Archives: Chocolate Labrador Retrievers

Wrigley, the Champion Chipmunk Chaser…..


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about………more of Wrigley’s heroism! On Wrigley’s tombstone (and there will likely be a tombstone) it will read, “Here lies Wrigley Nunley; friend to all.” No matter where we go, Wrigley is under the impression that everyone, man, woman, child or pup, would like the pleasure of making his acquaintance. Whether on the sidewalk, the street or the Prairie Path, whenever Wrigley comes across another pooch, he comes to a screeching halt; his front paws out stretched, digging into the ground, while his hind quarters are up, with his tail wagging, as if waving a white flag in surrender. After Wrigley meets his new friend, he happily resumes our run, on the lookout for more new pals.

Because he is more of a lover than a fighter, Wrigley is not your ordinary, garden variety Labrador. I always thought that Lab’s were known for their killer hunting instincts; proudly bringing half nibbled critters (bunnies, birds and rodents) home to their parents. Thankfully, Wrigley is not that kind of Labrador. He prefers to live in tandem with nature, such as the five bunny rabbits we’ve seen perched in our backyard and the army of chipmunks burrowing tunnels under our walkway (compromising the infrastructure. Surely, one day the sidewalk will just collapse, like a giant sink pit). Wrigley’s cute as a button as he lies on our front porch, his chin wresting on his front paws, eyes darting back and forth, from right to left, as he watches the critters make merry in our yard. Tom the Cat would be so disappointed (as one who wages a full scale assault against Jerry the Mouse)!

Well, the other day, as I was lugging groceries in from the garage, I decided it would be easier if I propped open the screen door that leads to my Mud Room. I was bringing in the last of the bags, when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a flickering shadow. I did a double take, inspecting more closely, when to my surprise I saw a chipmunk climbing up my collection of umbrellas, darting across our chest of drawers. Naturally, I dropped my bags and started screaming. Seriously, who wants a chipmunk in their house? With my own cat like reflexes, I ran into the Mud Room, throwing the umbrella stand out of the way, slamming the door from the Mud Room to the Kitchen behind me.

With all of my screaming, Nick came to the immediate conclusion that Wrigley had been hit by a car. He ran with me out the front door, to his relief, finding Wrigley calmly laying in the front yard (very much alive). While I ran through the garage (continuing to scream) for a broom, Wrigley suddenly perked up, as if, after nearly 8 ½ years, he was alive for the very first time. Wrigley sprang into action, sensing danger, darting into the Mud Room. Thankfully, as quickly as I noticed the shadow, I saw the blasted critter, flying, like a bat out of Hell, from the Mud Room, with Wrigley in hot pursuit! I half expected to find that stinking chipmunk, having expired from a heart attack, stroke or brain aneurism in our driveway, with rigamortis setting in.

All hail to Wrigley; the Champion Chipmunk Chaser! Such a good deed, protecting his family from the wild, should be rewarded. Hot dogs for everyone!!!

More fright, more fear, more blasted chipmunks, more heroism….  

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A Spa Day, Gone to the Dogs!


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about………more Wrigley at the groomers! My Wrigley is an 8 year old Chocolate Labrador Retriever. Labs are rugged manly dogs. They don’t require much in the way of maintenance, providing you can keep your pantry well stocked with kibble, pig’s ears and rawhide. Natural born chewers, even their toys have to be tough; virtually indestructible. A soft and fluffy squeaky toy has no place in our home. It would provide seconds, not hours, of entertainment. I’ll bet Wrigley can extricate the squeaker out of a stuffed animal in about 60 seconds flat! His mouth is like the Jaws of Life.

Wrigley is the first dog the kids and I have ever had. When we brought him home from the breeder it took us 24 hours to name him. We had so many great names picked out, but it finally came down to Wrigley (in honor of our beloved Cub’s and the Friendly Confines, not the gum) or Gretzky (in honor of the Great One). Chuck said he didn’t care what we named our beast, as long as we finally gave him a name. So, after much debate, the kids and I settled on Wrigley Sheffield Nunley III, as he became the third child in our family. After a few weeks, it become apparent that his name had become Wrigley Sheffield Nunley The Last, as in he will likely be the last dog we ever have. He’s wonderful, but exhausting. In his 8 year old body beats the heart of a puppy. While he may not be terribly “good”, for us he’s the very best dog in the entire world and we wouldn’t have him any other way.

This guy lives with a commitment to passion, readiness and exuberance. It doesn’t matter where we’re going, he just likes to go. Out of a sound sleep, while he’s dreaming, drooling and extreme snoring, he can be roused with a simple whisper, “Do you want to……..?” It doesn’t matter what it is, he totally wants to do it. Do you want to go for a run? I’d love to go for a run! Do you want to wake up the kids? I’d love to wake up the kids!  Do you want to go bye-bye in the car? I’d love to go bye-bye in the car!  Even when we pull up in front of the vet he can’t wait to go inside, dragging me to the front door. He likes to sit on the scale and have the doc rub all over him. He sits very nicely for shots and getting his ears cleaned. He just likes to be living in the moment.

For Wrigley, other than his occasional visit to Doggie Day Care, nothing beats going to the groomer. As soon as we get a few blocks away from our destination, he starts reverberating with excitement; running all over the car, trying to squeeze out the drivers side door with me. He runs directly to the main entrance, throwing himself against the door, yelping in celebration (they must give him sooooo many special treats). The girls at the Barking Lot are always so happy to see him and greet him with big hellos and hugs. Wrigley feels like a total rock star. He’s not a particular fan of the tub, hates the dryer, but loves to get brushed on the table. Even when he’s finished, he jumps right back up for more. He’s a comical fella and the girls enjoy his company, even though he’s been known to eat a hairbrush and wrestle with all of the other pups. When he comes home, he’s beautiful, polished and clean. So much better than when we hose him off in the back yard and leave him to drip dry in the sun. It truly is a dog’s life!

More excitement, more passion, more spa days, more happiness…….

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How Much is that Doggie in the Window?


As the More is More Mom®, I’m all about…….more celebrating Wrigley’s birthday! This week commemorates his 8th birthday. Milk Bones and rawhide for everyone!

 

Wrigley as a pup

How much is that doggie in the window?

Well, actually, we didn’t find him in a shop window. Perhaps you can tell by just looking at his perfectly square, regal head and his beautiful, angelic face that Wrigley is, of course, a pure bred Chocolate Labrador Retriever. In other words, he hails from…….Wisconsin. I mean really, for a dog this special (read: NAUGHTY, but lovable) one must pay top dollar and travel five hours round trip by automobile. One of our most favorite things about him, other than his charming, winning, dear, sweet and funny personality, is his enormous block head. It is so big that people frequently mistake him for a Rottweiler. While he is my baby, I am thrilled to pieces that I didn’t actually give birth to him the old fashioned way, because that head would certainly have been a real deal breaker as it made its way through the birth canal. I have nightmares just thinking about it!

At the tender age of 8 (56 in dog years…he’s older than both of his parents!) he is just as naughty now as he ever was when he was just a pup…..which is plenty naughty. When he was a little guy, I would always tell him that if he didn’t shape up I would take him to Chinatown where they would make Moo Shu Wrigley out of him; at nearly 100lbs that would have been some pretty good eating.

One of Wrigley’s favorite past times is to swipe things that don’t belong to him. He’s surprisingly quiet and cat like for such a moose of an animal. He loooooves it, almost as much as a good belly rub (and who doesn’t love a good belly rub?), when you chase him around in circles after he steals something. Oh, he lets me know when it’s go time. The chase is on, when out of the blue, I hear an enormous thud upstairs, and then I hear him tear down the hallway. He’s got something that doesn’t belong to him, and he can’t wait for me to find out what it is! Sometimes he does these things for the sport of it and other times he just can’t help himself. Once, when Amanda was little, we were having lunch while we watched one of Nick’s baseball games. She was eating a lovely sandwich, made from very thinly sliced left over filets, while sitting in a folding chair. Before we knew it, Wrigley had quietly snuck his enormous head between the chair and the armrest and was nibbling at her sandwich from the underside. She never saw him coming.

Like any good Lab, Wrigley’s been up to plenty of mischief during his first eight years. He once ate the arm rest off of the door of our car, down to the metal stud. Twice he has eaten a tray of brownies, which the vet’s office informed me was not a lethal dosage for an animal of his size. When I inquired what would be a lethal amount, they did not respond, and I think they may have reported me to DPFS (Department of Puppy and Family Services). Seriously, when I brought him in for his 11 week check up, the doctor was running behind schedule due to an unexpected bunny rabbit emergency. When I told them I couldn’t wait any longer because I had to pick up my human children from school, they said I could leave Wrigley with them for his check up, but that he was so darn cute he might not be there when I returned. I told them, “Don’t make any promises you’re not willing to keep.” Those animal lovers are crazy! I once had to bring them a stool sample and they thought nothing of the fact that I had dog poop in my Kate Spade purse. I am quite sure Ms. Kate Spade had never intended her beautifully crafted handbags to be used to carry doggie stool samples. Wrigley was such a holy terror when he was a little pup that I cried nearly every day for the first six months. Chuck would tell me, “If you want to, we can give him away.” Between sobs I would tell him, “Of –course- I- want-to-give-him-a-way-but-he-lives-here-now.” 

He has gnawed through the telephone cord, while I was talking on the phone. He ate a Burning Bush, one branch at a time. When he didn’t die right away, I prayed that it was a slow releasing poisonous bush, which it was not. He ate all of the bark, strip by strip, off of our beautiful Crimson King Maple tree. It went in to shock and died. He ripped entire sheets of lattice off of our deck. When he would dig holes in the back yard, and all you could see were his hind quarters, I would tell him, “Go ahead and keep digging. It’s just about deep enough to be your grave.” One time he was angry with me because I put up the gate to keep him near me in the kitchen, and just to spite me he went and took a bite out of my favorite Puma gym shoes, and brought the piece over to me and dropped it at my feet. But I think my favorite naughty Wrigley story would be when he spent the night at my parent’s house and while George slept on the couch (because Wrigley was peacefully sleeping next to my mom on George’s side of the bed, and George did not want to disturb him) Wrigley stole his teeth! My mom heard a strange clank, clank, crunch sound and made the unpleasant discovery that George’s denture plate was gone! She pried open Wrigley’s mouth, and stuck her hand inside to find that he had already dropped it on the floor. Thankfully there wasn’t any damage; they were just covered in gooey, slimy, dog slobber. Apparently Wrigley hasn’t read any of Emily Post’s etiquette advice on how to be a good houseguest.

 

Hobbs 6 months, Wrigley 1 year

But more than anything……Wrigley is a lover. He has a girlfriend, Genevieve. When she’s not outside, he’ll meander to her house and tap at her front door until her mom, my friend Missy, either lets Gen out, or allows Wrigley in. His best friend in the entire world, however, is Hobbs who lives next door. They have been pals since they were puppies. Hobbs is a Golden Retriever by birth (meaning normal), but is an honorary Lab through friendship. He certainly holds his own when Wrigley, The Bull, comes charging at him at top speed. Hobbs is a true friend.

 

Nana and Wrigley

He loves his Nana, my mom, in a completely bizarre and unnatural way (though she totally encourages his obsession). At the mere mention of her name the drooling, the whimpering and the pacing begins. He reverberates with excitement! Nothing trumps his Nana.

 

I’ve never had a dog before and had absolutely no idea the kind of love you can feel for an animal. To me Wrigley is not just a dog, he is my baby. When people ask how many children I have I say three; my son Nicholas, my daughter Amanda and my furry son Wrigley……….I am now one of those crazy dog people.

Wrigley represents the very best parts of our family; love, affection, a sense of adventure, loyalty, devotion, adoration and satisfaction. He plays hard and he loves hard. He enjoys everything with such complete freedom and abandon; swimming at the quarry, sticking he head out the window when we go bye-bye in the car (someone always gives him a window seat), the vigor with which he takes off for our runs in a dead sprint (nearly taking my arm out of its socket every single time), the way he flies down the stairs when he hears the garage door open, and he hesitates for just a moment at the window in our Living Room to make sure it’s us, before he meets us at the door, and the way he enjoys and appreciates a fine meal.

 

Amanda, Wrigley and Nick; February, 2003

 

Christmas, 2009

When we first got Wrigley he was seven weeks old, Amanda was seven years old and Nick was ten. Soon Nick will be heading off to college and Amanda will be driving. Where did the years go?

 

Wrigley's most distinguised portrait, December, 2006

This is Wrigley, our beloved dog who has never missed a meal, a chance to go bye-bye in the car, never turned down an invitation to go for a run, never met a stranger, never missed an opportunity to nudge a guest in the crotch or ask for a belly rub. This is Wrigley….this is love…….Happy Birthday!!

More loyalty, more love, more devotion, more family……..

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