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The Bestest Dog

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Let me tell you about Earle.

I'm going to give you just the facts, because I don't buy into the whole dog thing. You know, the whole dog thing. When people talk about and sell a million books about and tell all their friends about how their dog changed their life and how their dog is the bestest dog in the whole wide world. They even use made-up words such as bestest.

Anyway, I don't buy all that, so here are the facts about Earle, who is a dog. That's fact one. Here are more facts in order of their most factfullness, a word I get to make up because I'm talking about dogs.

Earle is a black Labrador, a breed not related in any way to a full, half or quarter pit bull breed.

Earle is inherently chill.

Earle is also a chocolate Lab judging by his mocha-colored nostrils and gorilla-like eyes. Because I'm a trained journalist, I learned when these types of labs date seriously; the result is often a black lab because the chocolate lab gene is recessive, a genetic term meaning "weak or inferior to a black lab."

Earle was rescued from a kill shelter. "Kill shelter" sounds rather inhospitable, so Earle became of special interest when dog searching began in earnest this month.

Earle appears relieved to have left the kill shelter on his terms.

Earle is 18 months old. Or 2. Or maybe a spry 6.

Earle was the name he came with. It's a noble word meaning, "that which is better named for a black lab than a yellow."

Earle will answer to his name every single time except the times I call him.

Earle came house-trained. And this is the greatest miracle recorded since the dawn of miracles and houses.

Earle, one might concede, looks mighty cute when he balls up on the nice white sofa under the cloak of night, and no one has the desire to evict him. I'm not saying he looks cute -- I'm just reporting the fact.

Earle does not appear to possess vocal cords capable of what animal experts call "barking."

Earle will never have to pay estimated taxes.

Earle, a labrador retriever, has been seen retrieving a tennis ball. Twice. Then, the mysteries and vagaries of Earle's mind lead him to the nearest tree.

Earle may or may not look mighty cute when he clumsily sits. Too much torso to really stick the landing. He starts sliding.

Earle replaces two family Labradors, although I've learned "replace" is emotionally inaccurate and potentially marginalizes the memory of Sally and Oscar, who may or may not have been the greatest dogs since the dawn of dogs.

Earle does not replace Sally and Oscar.

Earle is a rescue dog, who sits all clumsy, retrieves to distraction, favors white sofa fabric, won't or can't bark, might be 2 or 6 years old and embraces the miraculous value of outdoor plumbing.

Earle is our new dog.