Look! Look! See Lab Fetch!

On our way to the beach at Friendship yesterday, we spotted a few people out walking their dogs. It was a beautiful afternoon for walking. There's a leash law in Maine, so when you walk your dog they have to be on a leash or under your voice command, and, of course, you need to bring little baggies with you, in case your dog drops little treats anywhere.

So it was a bit of a surprise to round a hill and have this huge black lab meandering down the middle of the road and crossing in front of our car. We slowed down so as not to hit him, and then saw the owner, a woman, up ahead about 20 yards calling the dog, who was essentially ignoring her. So much for voice control, let alone leash. Often people from away come up here and think we don't have rules or laws. We're the wilderness, after all. It's amazing what we've seen people from away do that they wouldn't think to do at home. Anyway, that's another day.

So we avoided her dog and went on down to the beach where I walked on the beach, and my husband relaxed. We stayed probably only 15 minutes, before deciding it was time for supper at Moody's Diner.

As we headed back up the road, we encountered the woman first, no dog in sight. She was waving her arms a bit and telling us to be careful, as her dog was somewhere up ahead around the bend where she couldn't see him. We could hear her calling him as we slowly proceeded down the road.

Oh, it was near 100 yards down the road, around another bend, out of sight and sound (for us anyway) of the woman, when we saw the lab trotting at a slow pace up the middle of the road toward us. It looked like he had a white MacDonald's bag or bakery bag swinging from his mouth. Something in his trot told of his happiness with himself. Must have found someone's lunch, I thought.

But as he got closer, I saw something red sticking out to one side and two yellow sticks protruding out the opposite way from the bag. Nope, not a bag of snacks had he retrieved. It was a chicken! He had found a neighbor's nice plump white hen, and he was proudly bringing it to his unaware owner.

We stopped the car in the middle of the road - because everyone knows you don't have to follow the rules in Maine - to watch the proceedings.

The dog continued past our car to happily trot up the road, petrified chicken in his gentle mouth. If you can imagine a cartoon chicken in a dog's mouth with the chicken's eyes wide and bugging out and two stick drawn legs with toes sticking straight out like snowman stick arms, well, then you have the picture. I was concerned for the hen somewhat, but knowing how our retriever carries things around I really was only concerned for how freaked out the hen was, and that it might have a heart attack before she was released from the slobbery lips of Lumbering Lab.

MY dog, with her bag o' chicken!
Really, it did look like this to me.
Soon the owner came into sight as we watched through our rear view mirrors. She called to the dog who didn't change his pace in the slightest. The owner hadn't moved much either. Since she had the dog in sight, she just called to him.  She must not have noticed that huge white thing stuffed in his mouth yet.
She called some more and walked closer toward him when he slowed his pace a bit. Suddenly I heard her cry out and start running toward 'Ole Lumbering Lab.  Aha, she must have finally seen it!

This was confusing to him, and he stopped in his tracks.
"What? She seems upset! Why is she scolding me? I brought her a chicken. She loves chicken. I love chicken. We can share it."

Now the dog seemed a little ashamed of the perfectly natural thing he had done, and had been so proud of just a few minutes before. He put the hen down gently on the ground in front of him in the road as the woman came running up to him.

Of course, at this point the hen had begun to come to her senses and suddenly realized that it was her opportunity to exit stage left. She scrambled to right herself onto her stiff legs and ran into the bushes off to the side of the road.

Problem! Now the prize was leaving and the dog, forgetting to remain ashamed and in one spot, had to charge off into the bushes, followed closely by his master - which, by the way,  I'm not really sure you could call her at this point.

Obviously neither one of them listens to orders. And that is where we left them.

Thought about helping. We could have told her - "He's a bird dog. That's what he does. Tell the dog "Good boy!" and grab his collar (he does have one, right?). Then he'll drop the chicken and you can take the dog back in control to your cottage you're renting down the road." But it would be like aiding and abetting, or enabling, or something. How would anyone learn if it was too easy?

Note to summer folk: Our chickens are free range, but your dog shouldn't be. This is not the wilderness. I shouldn't have to watch out for your dog, and neither should the chickens. Next time wear your leash...both of you.


  1. We notice quite a few events in the mountains when people are from 'away' so I get your point exactly. The latest was an elk loose in a cemetery and people trying to get photos of it with their children-scary. You tell a great story, Donna. Love it, & glad you only chuckled & the dog wasn't aggressive.

    1. It was really a funny sight! Wish I'd been able to get a picture of it.

  2. Sounds like they both need to be trained. Great pics. I had a picture in my mind, but your pics brought it to life.

    1. Yes, I believe they both would benefit from some training. It was a priceless moment in time!

  3. I love the picture of the lab trotting down the road with the chicken! Even if he is where he isn't supposed to be! That poor chicken probably lost a year or two off her life!

    1. I was wondering if the chicken would be able to recover from this...probably won't want to leave the hen house ever anymore.

  4. Oh, man, that's awesome. We have people who let their dogs roam around, and it's a huge problem when one of them wants to dash up to my dog to say "hello." Especially if it's a big dog. She doesn't like that at all. These people here know the rules but think, for whatever reason, they're exempt.

    1. As a teacher, I've seen too many kids with scars on their faces because of putting their faces up to dogs who weren't comfortable with being approached like that. So scary. I personally don't like to take walks alone because of the random dog out loose. They are probably fine, but I don't want to find out.
      This one, fortunately was fine. That chicken was just slobbered on and scared out of its wits...which probably isn't hard to do with chicken wits.

  5. What a story Donna! It's really a shame that people who visit seem to think they don't have to follow the same rules -your picture of your pup and her chicken is adorable and hilarious! You have a great sense of humor!

  6. What a story Donna! It's really a shame that people who visit seem to think they don't have to follow the same rules -your picture of your pup and her chicken is adorable and hilarious! You have a great sense of humor!

  7. What a great story - I could imagine it all perfectly, especially that last moment when the lab dashes off to re-find his prize. Priceless!


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