Lab X spayed female
July 2000 - December 3, 2010

Jim, an avid bicyclist, was out on a ride over Labor Day weekend (September 2000) and on one of the country roads near our home, with no houses in sight, he passed a little black puppy sitting by the side of the road. He continued on, thinking if she was still there when he came back by on his way home, he'd bring her back with him. A half hour or so later, with a nasty thunderstorm brewing, he returned- and there she was. He stopped and she came up to him. He rode three miles home holding that puppy under one arm, steering with the other.

Stormy matured to about 50 pounds and appeared to be mostly Labrador Retriever, with some Chow or other breed (Husky and Border Collie have been suggested). She loved everybody and everything and was a very energetic, determined and independent-minded dog. She had a knack for getting into trouble and as she was very smart, we used to say that she "used her powers for evil"!

Stormy was Jim's "adventure dog"- the one who loved to go places with him in the car, and hang out with him when he was working on projects outside. We joked that some toy manufacturer should make an "Action Stormy figure"! Jim had always said he wanted a dog who did not get sedentary with age, one that had puppy-like qualities forever- and he got his wish with Stormy. Sometimes that was annoying, as she never quit digging holes, tearing up landscaping, or chasing varmints to the point of property destruction- yes, as I said, she was determined! - but you had to admire her for her tenacity. She had so many funny little personality quirks, like her mock attacks on the vacuum, ironing board, plastic bags making that swishy sound (she'd go nuts when I'd use a bag whip to get ears up for pictures of the horses, and changing the garbage bag in the kitchen was always met with attempts to "kill" the evil plastic!) and my feet when I'd scrape them on our metal heating grates (we used to play like that- weird, but she loved it). If she didn't want to come inside, she'd ignore our calls and do a few laps around the yard instead. If a dog could flip someone the bird, that's exactly what she was doing. On the other hand, when she wanted in (even if we wanted her out!) she ran a claw on the screen of the living room window (to signal us, her peons) until we came and got her.

In late October 2010, I noticed Stormy's belly looked fuller than usual. Palpation revealed a hard mass. She was rushed to the vet and surgery was done several days later to remove what turned out to be a FIVE POUND hemangiosarcoma - a very aggressive form of cancer- attached to her spleen. The cancer had already spread to Stormy's liver and we knew we had very little time left with her. We took her home and hoped for the best- at least a few more months with her. That turned out to be just four weeks. She had some very good days and most of the time, to look at her you would never know she was so sick. The day before she passed, Stormy had a lot of pain. Our vet prescribed two different painkillers and Stormy bounced back and felt pretty good that afternoon. The pain meds helped her stay comfortable and she actually was running around (albeit slower than usual) barking at coyotes outside that night when I let her out to do her business. But the next morning, her hind end was completely useless. She was crying non stop despite the two different pain medications, drooling and would nip at us occasionally (something she NEVER did) when we tried to comfort her. It was time. On the way to the vet, she struggled to sit up and look out the window- one of her favorite things to do, though the look in her eyes told me she was not really enjoying it so much as fighting for some sense of normalcy. If her liver was compromised by the cancer, it did not show- the anesthesia the vet gave (to sedate before giving the euthanasia solution) did not work, so she gave her a second dose- total, enough for an 80 pound dog (by then Stormy only weighed about 40 pounds). The vet said she had no idea how Stormy was metabolizing that so well with her cancerous liver. I do. Determined, independent, strong and absolutely fearless- to the end- that was Stormy. I have always wished I had her qualities. Strange to admire a dog, perhaps- but I did.

Stormy was a character, and she will be sorely missed. She is buried right beside my first Morgan horse Marie, in the pasture she loved to play in.

We'd had Stormy for two weeks in these first four pictures. The vet estimated her to be between 10-14 weeks old, and she weighed 11 pounds. Stormy learned very quickly to sit on command with the aid of food!

How can you resist that face?

Everything is fun for Stormy!

Jim's favorite picture of his new pet.

Here's Stormy in October 2000. She has grown a lot, and her coat came in a lovely glossy black with good food and health care.

Stormy, five months old, December 2000. Snow was a novelty!

Stormy at 6 months old with the lovely Golden Retriever, Dutchess Price. This was taken on New Year's Day 2001. Dutchess is owned by our friends Jason and Melanie Price and family. I wish I had taken Stormy's Gentle Leader off for this picture! Despite Stormy's stance and the look in her eye (camera flash effect actually) she was NOT the dominant dog in this twosome. Dutchess was most patient with Stormy's social ineptitude, however. The success of this playdate was the impetus for my adoption of Jackson as a buddy for Stormy.

This is my friend Cassidy Evans, her boyfriend David, and the "pack o' black dogs"! Left is Dustie, Cassidy's 5 month old Lab X Sheltie female puppy, center is Jackson (on his back) at 6 mos. and right is Stormy at 10 mos. As you can see, Stormy's tail got more curly as she matured. Memorial Day weekend 2001.

Stormy really liked this Jolly Ball! December 2001.

Jackson and Stormy relaxing on their favorite, dog-worn chairs, February 2007.

March 2, 2009- We got snow! Stormy really had a blast. In this picture I think she looks like she should be pulling a sled!

11/1/10- Stormy the day before surgery to remove her tumor. You can see a fullness in her belly from the left side but not so much from the right. Many hemangiosarcomas are only discovered when they rupture and the dog collapses and bleeds to death. Thank goodness this did not happen in Stormy's case.

11/13/10- Stormy almost two weeks after surgery, "helping" Jim fix a wheelbarrow.

11/16/10- Stormy had a bad day but by nightfall when this picture was taken she was feeling better. It shows her typical porch sitting position of butt on the top stair and front paws one step down.

My last picture of Stormy, with my friend Cassidy Sutherland on November 28, 2010.

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Jim and Laura Behning
75 Glass Spring Rd.
Covington, GA 30014
(770) 385-1240
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