This week, we had to say goodbye to a good and faithful friend, our yellow Lab, Spot. So, in his honor, I pulled out a quilt top made years ago as a class sample when I was teaching a class from the book “Quilts for Baby, Easy as ABC.” This top is at least 14 years old, as I’m sure I made it in our old house in Portland, but the bright colors and cheery dog faces seemed like a perfect tribute to the “laughingest” dog I’ve ever known.
When Sarah was two we took her to the Sportsmen’s Show and she had her first introduction to yellow Lab puppies. We had a wonderful black Lab at home, named Naughty, who was Sarah’s best friend but those puppies really captured her imagination! We promised that, when we had a bigger house with a bigger yard, she could get a yellow pup. This was at the height of the Eric Hill “Spot” books. These wonderful pop-up books featured a yellow puppy with a big spot going for walks, baking a cake, and taking a trip to the sea shore. The name for our future pup was never a subject for debate…our yellow pup was going to be named “Spot.”
Four year-olds forget nothing, as I’m sure you know, so when a bigger house came our way there was nothing for us to do but start searching for our yellow pup. We hit a stoke of luck when our breeder’s dog had her pups. There were only three and they were all boys. This left her with one extra boy. We met Spot for the first time when he was only six days old. I have a great picture of Sarah sitting with a yellow pup on her lap and a look of wonder on her face.
Spot came home and I learned that I had a lot to learn about raising a puppy. I made tons of mistakes, I’m sure, but Spot took it all with good humor. In fact, he laughed, no seriously. Whenever Spot would make a particular sound I would say he was laughing and, sure enough, my niece saw a piece later on dogs that confirmed it. Spot would also snort at you on purpose when you were playing…at first I was afraid he had allergies but it was just his way of tickling you back!
Spot’s arthritis has been holding him back this past year. Just a few weeks ago, he took his last afternoon walk to the school to pick up kids. Still, he was happy to stay home and keep a sharp eye out for any stray treats. Even last week, I found him sneaking into the pantry for doggie cookies…a rascal until the end! In nearly a decade and a half, Spot added immeasurably to our lives and to our store of family stories, there’s the time he nearly drowned at the fish hatchery, the time he got stuck under the bed playing hide and seek with the girls, the time he and Naughty got out and appeared at school looking for Sarah, and then there are the thousands of times that I looked down at his face, smiled, and watched him smile back. So, it seemed fitting this week that my finish be smiling dogs in tribute to one of the happiest dogs I’ve ever known. Spotty boy, this one’s for you!
Week 14 finishes 24.