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Life is Like a Box of Chocolates . . . Or at Least Just One

Let’s talk about Chocolate. Dark, sweet, some with nuts and perhaps a little white chocolate too. That is a lot how I’d describe one Chocolate: Chico’s Chocolate Kiss. At seven years old he is as sweet, frustrating and nutty as they come.

There is something about the naming convention in our little family and Chico is no different. We pre-named his “sister,” a Black Lab, Harley (i.e., Harley Davidson) but her breeder put at little diamond (or Harlequin) on her fur to distinguish her from the siblings and she became the joker’s girlfriend, Harley Quinn. We also knew that a chocolate lab would be Chico for no other reason than it was fun to say, “Chico the Chocolate.”

Little Chico grew up to be a big boy. He is an “American” or Field Lab with long legs and body, where Harley Quinn is an English Lab (shorter and stockier). He has a thin white blaze on his chest which I suppose we could call the white chocolate on our otherwise dark chocolate boy. He has amazing penetrating eyes, is frustratingly vocal and yet one of the best cuddlers ever.

Chico scares some people as he can be boisterous and loud (did I say frustratingly vocal?), but I think half the time it’s a cover up. At the few dog parks, we’ve been to (on day trips when the crew needs to run around after being in the car for hours) it is Chico who becomes the dog greeter at the gate. He shows the new dog around then leaves to find another new dog. When friend and neighbor’s dogs visit he pretty much leaves them alone – except one yellow Lab who he just adores. Oh, and if he gets excited it’s a loud bark fest (again the word frustration comes to mind). At the pool when he is riled up his brain leaves his head to get to any ball tossed in the pool first. Including jumping in on top of another dog – which is not only frightening and dangerous but avoided at all costs.

But for all that big brassy, gregarious Lab – he is a sensitive and cuddle-needy boy. We can’t use loud voices or swat at flies without his ears sinking and with head down he will go to a far corner and watch us nervously. We then, of course, must personally apologize for our behavior until the ears go back up and tail wags. And he gets a treat because we feel so bad. He is also a big mama’s boy. He shivers at the Vet’s office but wants to go to any dog or cat that comes in the waiting room and includes a high-pitched whistle of a whine just to make it more pathetic.

My Chico will follow me everywhere in the house, willing to continually get up as I move from room to room. He must keep me in sight when I vacuum and doesn’t budge even as I get close to him. He wants me to use the hair dryer on him as I dry my hair and lays on my lap (all 66 pound of him) even if another dog has claimed it. He waits for me to go to bed, often relaxing in front of my pillow so I cajole and play with his dead weight paws and head to ‘get’ him to move over. I think he does that merely for end-of-day attention, but sleeps solidly at my side, which with other dogs in the bed I am sometimes trapped and wrapped like a burrito.

So, this is our dark, sweet, nutty with a stripe of white Chocolate. You see him frequently in the Pet Portraits section and I guarantee that life with this Chocolate is never boring. He is the best chocolate in any box.

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