The transformation of ‘Cash’

We are the proud parents of a giant dog – 96 pounds of lean Labrador retriever. His name is Cash, and dogs just don’t get any goofier than this one.

He Said She SaidAmy: This “goofy dog” thing was not Brandon’s intent when shopping for a hunting dog. We went to pick out a puppy with the understanding he would be raised as a hunting machine. I rolled my eyes, but understood.

Brandon: I got a call from a friend one day. He knew of some great lab puppies at an irresistible price. I knew the bloodlines were great because the pups were from my friend’s dog. What a hunter! I was so excited! The choice was easy; I picked the biggest male with the most energy. There he was with a fat belly stealing the toys from his siblings, running around like a complete maniac. Perfect!

Amy: I’ve never owned a dog that “came with papers.” I grew up with strays – misfits of the dog world. So, owning a dog registered with the American Kennel Club must be a big deal, right? This dog will naturally be smart and well-behaved, like canine royalty. Phooey.

Brandon: Using his ancestor’s names, we came up with “Drake’s Cash Hayseed Too” as our dog’s AKC registered name. We call him “Cash” after the man in black, Johnny Cash. Well, Cash had a different idea and established his name to mean, “I eat money.” Here’s the story: When he was about 1, we piled cash from our garage sale on our kitchen table under a heavy candle. We came in later to find shredded and missing cash. Cash almost went up for adoption that day, but tears from the wife and her sister changed my mind. The saving grace is that Cash is a hunting machine. He is a born-natural at pheasant hunting.

Amy: With my husband’s crazy work schedule, Cash and I were spending a lot of time together; the bigger he grew, the harder he was to handle. Off to doggie obedience school we went – just the two of us. We both needed the training, me on how to command him and he on how to obey. We were off to a stellar start and I thought there just might be hope for this guy. Then, as each participant took a turn showing off their “heel” skills, Cash and I took our turn. He was doing well and I was so proud, but then, the beast stopped and lifted his leg on me in front of the entire class – a stream of urine hit my leg with precision and I… was… mortified. We made a quick exit. I loaded that dog in the truck, called my husband crying and told him what a piece of… work his fancy hunting dog was. Then I stopped at Dairy Queen for a cone of consolation.

Brandon: I remember the call like it was yesterday. It was hard to decipher through the sobbing but I got the details straight. I think Cash was close to adoption that day, too.

Amy: Over the years, Cash and I have come to an understanding: he’s my big baby now. Our relationship has evolved. Cash has mellowed over the years and I can’t help spoiling that goofy dog. Admittedly, I’ve ruined Brandon’s big fancy hunting dog. It wasn’t on purpose; it just happened, one doggie toy at a time.

Brandon: Seriously? One at a time? It looks like a doggie toy bomb exploded in our house – they’re scattered everywhere. From the ducks and frogs to the fluffy skunk and squeaky whatcha- ma-thingies, it’s endless. One day I came home to Cash sitting on the kitchen rug with this “help me” look on his face. He was wearing a tie that said “Woof” on it. I think that was possibly the first time I rolled my eyes at my wife. And then there are the nicknames. She calls my dog Mr. Boogers, Silly Banilly, Zippers…. No wonder he is “special,” the poor guy doesn’t even know his name. I have to admit, though, I am accepting things since the big fella has done a great job at keeping Amy company while I’m working. His personality is pretty funny, too. Just try and mope about a bad day when Cash is around…. I dare ya.

Amy: I guess the moral of the story is that men can change – male dogs anyway. Cash went from a spazzy money-eating, leg-lifting, slobberlipped hopeless creature to a mellow, tie-wearing, cuddly puddle of fur. So much for the fancy hunting dog…

Brandon and Amy Chaffins of Alexandria have been married nine years – long enough to have learned to live with each other’s “quirks.”

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