Etta James: Our Canine Member of the Family

We have always been a dog family.  Over the years, there has always been a rescued lab of some sort in our family.  Now that we are empty nesters, we decided we still wanted a lab in our home, but decided an older dog, rather than a puppy, was the right choice for us.  Our latest family addition is named Etta James, and we couldn’t be happier.


 This was our second time adopting with Brookline Lab Rescue, so we were proven adopters but we were still passed over for the first dog we wanted to bring home.  I was definitely a little insulted, but as it turns out, it was all for the best! I can’t imagine that first lab being as sweet and loving as Etta is!

After a bit of anxiety about yet another change in her life, this lovely 6 year old English lab has settled in with the “old folks”.  At first there were many Goldilocks moments as she tested every bed and chair in the house, not knowing what was her own safe haven.  She enjoys her early morning walks and if it is not too hot after playing long games of catch, she will walk again at night. She has taken to the neighborhood youngsters eagerly and basks in the extra loving my young adult daughters shower her with on the weekends.

At first, Etta was skeptical about the toys we have always kept in two different buckets in the house.  It took her some time to recognize that they were meant for her and could be hers whenever she wanted them.  Now she puts her nose in the buckets to find old favorites and new discoveries and thinks that tennis balls are the best gifts, right after food. She has learned to play. And this doggy mama is back to picking up toys at the the end of the day.

Etta was rescued from a Lancaster County Amish breeder.  Gosh, we did the math to learn the minimum number of puppies she bore in her 5 years- it was shocking.  After a lifetime spent mothering puppies it made sense to us that she may have been missing her babies. So, we made it a mission to find and collect Beanie Baby "puppies" for her birthday in July. She is now attached to her puppies and will carry them around the house. She keeps a 'litter’ of them in her “safe” bed.

We are also in the midst of dog training with the Dog Training Center of Chester County.  I must report that she is utterly brilliant.  She knows when the treat apron goes on, and she is perfectly behaved. Though teaching a doggie “how to learn” has challenges all its own, I wouldn’t change it one bit.  Etta and I enjoy our lessons and it is my goal to get her to the Therapy Training Certification.  She is so gentle and would be happy to be a Tail Waggin’ Tutor in our local schools.

Etta is amazingly placid, so sweet and affectionate. There is rarely a bark, unless she is dreaming, when we might hear a soft woof. She wiggle wags her backend constantly and has become my shadow.

Some would say that Etta is lucky to have found us, yet I know, we were the lucky ones.

Look for Etta on IG #whatwouldettado