Let me tell you guys a quick story about a truly incredible dog. Archie was a 7 year old Chocolate Labrador with a pretty wild past. He was the perfect example of how being dedicated with training a dog can transform them into a whole different dog. Archie landed himself in a shelter a few years ago because he was "a lot to handle." This is understandable because if you ever had the pleasure of meeting Archie, he was constantly ready to go and ready to work! Before he knew it, he got the attention of a local dog trainer, Paul Anthony with Champion Canine. Paul has a program where he takes shelter dogs to a local prison for approved inmates to train them. They learn obedience and skills that could help people with daily activities as service dogs and it gives the inmates something productive to do that is for a good cause.
Spoiler alert...Archie flunked out of the prison program. Yepp...even prison couldn't contain him! This wild man bit a few people...like 7ish people. They called Paul to come and pick him up. He then called the shelter and they told him to just bring him down so they can euthanize him. They said since he had bitten people, they wouldn't adopt him out. For whatever reason, Paul had a feeling that that was not this dogs fate. Without much hesitation, he told the shelter he would keep Archie and that he didn't feel putting him down was the answer. So, Archie began his life as part of the Anthony pack!
Fast forward a little and now Archie is no longer people or dog aggressive. In fact, he's one of Paul's demo dogs for his dog training classes! Archie struts into these classes and shows dog owners what their dogs will be able to achieve while being 100% focused on working and not worrying at all about the crowd. When he isn't working though, Archie LOVES making new friends! He happily greets new humans and dogs and in his down time enjoys a good cuddle on the couch with his momma, Annette, or hanging out with Paul and Annette's granddaughter, Willow. I can't forget to of course mention his deep love for his tennis ball and playing fetch! I'm not sure any dog loved his tennis ball as much as Archie.
The Tippy Tappy Lab
So where did Archie pick up the nickname "the tippy tappy lab"? You guys may have seen a few months ago I actually photographed (and was a bridesmaid in) Paul and Annette's wedding. Since Paul is a dog trainer and Annette is a trainer and professional groomer, it was only right that their pack was included in their special day! Now, Archie was definitely the odd man out in their pack. Out of nine dogs, all of them were German Shepherds or Malinois except for Archie the Chocolate Labrador. In their videos and pictures he stuck out like a sore thumb! Especially in one video where the groomsmen were walking down the aisle with the boy dogs and Archie was prancing his way down looking like the happiest one at the whole event! This video went viral fast on Instagram and TikTok and hundreds of people commented on how adorable the "tippy tappy lab" was. So, his new nickname was born!
The hardest part about owning a dog is and will always be saying goodbye. No matter how many times you go through it, it never gets any easier. Archie had recently gotten pretty sick. He stopped eating and was in a lot of pain. Paul and Annette took him to the vet and were told the disease he had for most of his life started affecting him and was taking a toll on him. They made the extremely tough decision to set him free of that pain. I came to the house the morning of to grab some pictures of them spending one last morning with Arch. They took a walk, a car ride, played fetch and gave him lots of delicious treatos. And of course, loved on him. Rainbow or end of life sessions are super hard not only for the owners, but for me too. But for some, they are comforting and those pictures mean more than you could imagine. It's a rewarding feeling that I couldn't describe in words when I do these types of sessions. When I tell you Archie was the happiest boy to the very last breath, I'm telling you the honest to God's truth. It was like he never wanted them to see just how much pain he was in. He went from a shelter life where he was almost put down for behavior issues to living his best life by Paul and Annette's side as the family dog he was always meant to be.
While the ending of this post might have you ripping tissues from the box, it's not meant to be a sad story. It's meant to celebrate the life of a truly amazing dog. Archie overcame so many obstacles and quickly became a dog that enjoyed everything in life rather than being afraid and like he was backed against a wall. It's meant to celebrate the love between him and his owners. He is already so missed by everyone who knew him.
You will never be forgotten...Archie the Tippy Tappy Lab!