Molly the Labrador in a canoe.

My canine companions

It struck me that, having mentioned my dogs in a previous post, I should probably introduce them properly. So here we go.

Molly (the orange one) and Ozzy (the black one) are both Labrador Retrievers. They’re bred as working dogs, so they’re slimmer, more agile and higher-energy than the show-breed versions. A lot higher-energy…

Molly and Ozzy the Labradors.

We’ve had Molly since she was a puppy. She’s been my sidekick and constant shadow since the day we got her. She’s fourteen now, so I really do struggle to remember what life was like before we had her.

She has quite severe arthritis now, so can’t walk as far as she used to. But she’s pootling along quite happily and still displays the curiosity, sociability and sense of fun that have always been a part of her character.

Molly the Labrador rolling upside down in a field.

I’m all-too-aware that Molly’s entering her twilight years – or, more likely, months. But as long as she’s happy and not in any pain (she gets a lot of medication from our amazing vets), she’ll always have a place at my side.

Ozzy is five years old and we’ve likewise had her since she was a puppy. She comes from a line of successful working gundogs, with an incredible drive to ‘do’ stuff. And she exhibits a degree of focus on whatever task is at hand that is difficult to believe until you see it.

Ozzy the Labrador ready to work.

To satisfy Ozzy’s need to work, I’ve trained her in various forms of scent detection. She can search for live people (which involves her ranging over a wide area on various types of terrain) and for more delicate scents (which involves a more detailed search of a smaller area).

Ozzy and I also run together several times a week. (I used to run with Molly, too, but she’s retired from that now.) Ozzy usually just runs alongside me, but we also run ‘canicross’, with Ozzy attached to me via a bungee-style lead. This is hilarious and terrifying in equal measure.

I’ve worked hard to develop and to nurture a strong bond with each of the dogs. And to ensure that they have a bond with each other, too. They form a big part of my life – and take up a signifiant proportion of my time and of our household finances – so I’m sure I’ll be writing about them again at some point.

For the moment, though, these are Molly and Ozzy, my canine companions.

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