When my brother was fifteen, he got his wish-a beautiful two month old yellow lab. Jimmy gave the family two choices for a name. It was either Fred or Rebel. We chose Rebel. This sweet-natured, fun-loving dog was supposed to be my brother's pet, but he belonged to all of us, especially my father. It was my father who fed him every night and took him for his daily walks. It was my father that drove him to the vet and picked out a dog house that was really a large storage shed for Rebel to live in. It even had a window, columns and a front porch that Rebel could stretch out on to survey his domain, a large fenced in yard.
This dog loved to play games, especially with the water hose. He thought nothing of wrapping that hose around your legs or grabbing the hose from you and spraying you from head to toe with water. But when he was tired of playing, he would let you know in no uncertain terms. When he was only a puppy, he stopped my brother from playing fetch with him by dumping the tennis ball into his water bowl.
When he was a puppy, I sincerely believed he was more mountain goat than dog. He literally ate my mother's favorite tulip tree. He even tried to tunnel his way through the family room door by eating a hole in that door the size of a large beach ball. Everyone was relieved when he grew out of the chewing stage.
Rebel would never walk when he could run instead. Whenever he was allowed inside, that dog would take a running leap and literally slide into the French doors leading to the breakfast room. After several mishaps, he learned to slow down a bit and finally made it into the hallway without banging into the furniture or doors.
Being a lab, he sniffed everything in his path with his large pink nose. This included my Chanel No. 5. He loved the smell of it! That dog would smell my wrist and drink in the scent. Unfortunately, he was allergic. The minute Rebel stopped sniffing, he would start sneezing and rubbing his itchy back against the fence. After that, I stopped wearing perfume around him.
Summers were difficult for Rebel. He didn't like the heat. So my father got him a window unit and put it in the storage shed that served as his spacious dog house. I really believe that's why that dog lived to the ripe old age of seventeen-he was the only dog in the neighborhood with an air conditioned dog house. My father said Rebel deserved it. According to my father, that dog gave him twice as much respect as the rest of the family combined. Knowing Rebel and his tendency toward doggie-kisses, my father was probably right.