On Friday, May 25, 2003, at a puppy farm in Victoria Australia, a male, pedigree, Chocolate Lab, was born. Eventually, after weaning, and just 10 weeks after greeting this world, he was sent to Hong Kong to be sold in a local pet shop.
While all this excitement was going on in this puppies early life, My life-partner, Henry and I were again talking about getting a dog. My last dog (named Kodie, after an Alaskan bear he resembled) had recently died. He had retired, in the US, by my Father’s side, when I had moved to Hong Kong some eight years before. While he had mostly and justly become my Father’s dog, I was still, at least, partly his, and felt the loss.
We had tried a short few weeks with a rescued dog, but that dog kept going after our cats (whom we had rescued about 5 years before). The extremely abusive attitude the local SPCA presented towards me when I returned the dog put us off considering another rescue. We had also read that starting a new puppy with the older cats would make it easier for everyone to learn their new roles.
Some evenings, after dinner, we would walk through the pet shops along a street in our neighbourhood of Causeway Bay (then home to a pet-shop-street), considering breeds, sizes, temperaments, character, and everything dog-related. We had done our research, learned what breeds were best suited to our life, that overseas puppies were generally better bred and were thinking to order an Australian Black Lab.
On August 7th, 2003, we headed down the pet street planning to end at the last shop on the right, which provided Australian Labrador Retrievers by pre-order. We intended to order our new dog. As we walked down the street we looked in a few pet-shop-windows and in one shop, saw the aforementioned Chocolate Lab, newly arrived. We decided to stop in and see the sort of dog we would be ordering.
The clever shop keeper immediately opened the cage and let the pup come out to play around with me on the floor of the shop. The pup’s temperament was excellent. He allowed me to put him on his back, but didn’t playing dead once there. This told me he was neither aggressive nor timid. He was cheerful, playful, and quickly grew on both Henry and I. He had a rich dark chocolate (almost Coffee) coat, bright, laughing, puppy eyes, and an incorrigible smile (yes smile). He also had huge paws and we both thought this was going to be a giant-sized adult dog, it was our only concern, but still we became fast friends.
While I was on the floor playing with Cody, Henry, always the smart business man, began discussing the practical matters of the pup and his price. He was from Australia [tick]. He had only arrived that day (pet shops in HK have a reputation of giving diseases to new pets and then selling them) [tick]. He had pedigree papers [tick]. He was available for immediate purchase [tick]. He cost about half the price of pre-ordering a pup [BINGO!]. We quickly conferred and agreed that this pup was coming home with us.
We arranged various ancillary purchases and with all, and the new puppy in hand, headed back to our flat. While we walked, two men and a dog, I asked: “what do you think we should name him?” “Cody” was Henry’s immediate reply. Surprised, I asked: “Oh yeah, why Cody?” “Because you love and miss Kodie” was the answer. I couldn’t argue, it made perfect sense. Kodie, had been a large, dark brown Lab/Newfie mutt. And that, is how we first met, and started falling in love with Cody.