David and His Chocolate Lab—Consummate Teachers

Tommy’s been getting over his fear of dogs, but he’s not there yet. He still cringes at the sight of a puppy, even a tiny one.

We’ve just walked over the bridge in the big park, enjoying the sound of our footsteps on the wooden planks, when we see a young man and his chocolate lab. The dog is chasing a stick, and we go over to watch.

What a pair! David is calm, speaking to Coco in a firm but gentle voice. Coco loves his work—bounding down the little hill into the creek to retrieve a stick.

Would Tommy like to throw the stick? “Will Coco try to take it from him?” I ask, envisioning the dog knocking my grandson over in his enthusiasm.

David and Coco have competed in dog shows, and they’re pros. David shows us how Coco waits, not only until the stick is thrown, but until he has permission to fetch it. And Coco stops on a dime, on command.

We walk a couple of feet away and David stays with Coco just to be sure (or just to assure us). Tommy throws the stick and Coco, on David’s command, fetches it.

What’s this? If Tommy holds out his hand, Coco will drop the stick into it. This is fun!

I hold Tommy’s hand and we go down near the water. A big throw, and Tommy gets the stick right into the water. Coco fetches it and shakes himself, giving us all a shower.

David’s wife calls, and he has to go and pick up her and the baby. I thank him and tell him how much he’s helped Tommy. As he leaves, I wonder—does he really know how much this has meant to me? God bless you both, David and Coco. And may you continue to be a blessing to others.


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