Jessie, a Yellow Labrador Retriever - Part I

[Jessie at 3 Months]

Meet Jessie, a Yellow Labrador Retriever, at the age of 3 months. Jessie was born on a ranch about 24 kilometers east of Nanton, Alberta, on February 4, 1997. Jessie must have obtained her quiet disposition from her mother and hopefully her hunting instincts from her father, an excellent game bird dog. The purpose of this article is to provide you with ongoing updates about Jessie and her development as not only a well behaved and loving pet, but also as a top hunting and retrieving dog.

How did I come to own a lab that appears to have super potential? A friend of mine, Tom West, had arranged for a Calgary friend to deliver a male yellow lab from the Nanton ranch to a rendezvous point at Revelstoke, BC, in early April, 1977. A week later I happened to pick Tom up at his place to go to a trap shoot and I met his new lab pup. I couldn't get over the qualities that were immediately evident in seeing that dog. The same evening, I told my wife, Lois, what a magnificent pup my friend Tom had and, I further added, without much hope, that Tom had said that there were more pups still available from the same litter! Well, Lois surprised me totally by saying, "Why don't you look into it?" I soon obtained the telephone number of the Alberta ranch from Tom and called the owner that night. Sure enough, there were 3 females still for sale and I arranged a trip to Alberta just two days later! A 1460 kilometer round trip in one day was tiring but well worth it when I introduced Jessie to my wife around midnight of that day. By the way, how did I pick Jessie from her other two litter mates? Very scientifically, she was the one that came over and licked me!

[Jessie at 3 Months]

The pup, from day one, has proven to be a great traveller without a hint of car sickness or other problems. A friend has loaned us a pet crate so that's where Jessie sleeps at night, next to our kitchen range island. For the first few days she cried every 3 hours or so but after about a week, she learned to sleep right through the night, although I swear she still wakes up on Alberta time which is an hour earlier than BC time! Every morning before breakfast, we walk the hill behind our house for about an hour. Knox Mountain Park is located there, many acres of Ponderosa Pine and woodland trails, ideal for developing the muscles of a young dog. Jessie leash trained very quickly but has learned to run free and come on call in areas where there are no vehicles or other people. She is a natural retriever on just about anything, tennis balls, old shoes, pine cones, plastic bottles, almost as if to say, throw it and I will retrieve it! We have taken Jessie to two trap shoots, not only because I am an avid trap shooter, but to introduce Jessie to the noise of shooting. She immediately passed this test with flying colours! What about toilet training? Yes, there have been a few wet "accidents" in our house where we block off all areas to Jessie except for the kitchen and the family room. However, if we take her outside on a regular basis and with the longer walks up our hill both morning and evening, Jessie is doing what comes naturally well away from any houses or developed property and at 4 months old, we consider her almost 100 % toilet trained. I say almost because when she greets ladies (not men) that she knows and likes, she tends to wet the floor in her initial excitement of greeting them! We now know to have such greetings outside the house! She has not yet learned to stop jumping up on people but that will come with more time.

[Jessie at 3 Months]

Jessie shows you her affection in many ways. In a car, she will lay her head on your lap or arm as you drive along and at home, she likes to lay tight against or across your feet! It doesn't matter what you are doing, she likes to help, which when doing things like tying shoe laces, can be a hinderance. So far, no furniture has been chewed perhaps because she has several toys to chew on as she goes through the teething stage. We have selected a Vet in Winfield for her health care needs such as booster shots and heart worm immunization. She is fed a measured amount 3 times a day but sometimes receives small snacks in between, especially when she has behaved well! More on her training in the near future.

Your comments are welcome at or call Don Haaheim at 1-250-861-4192

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