• Mick McMahon and Hamish on Milford Beach.

Mick & Hamish, the Black Lab

MY DOG & ME: Mick McMahon and Hamish, the Black Lab

In association with our good friends at DogHQ each month we meet Shore people whose four-legged family members add a great deal of joy to their lives. Our very own dog-lover Aidan Bennett (he has two doggies of his own he spoils – Olive a Cocker Spaniel and Maisie a French Bulldog) loves the task of putting this monthly feature together. This month he talks with Mick McMahon of Glenfield about Hamish, their much-loved Black Lab who loves going to Dog HQ.

AIDAN BENNETT: How long has Hamish been part of your life?
Forever, or that’s what it seems. We got Hamish when he was a chubby, cute, mischievous 3 month old from a wonderful caring breeder, Jancerie Labradors  up at Te Arai.

AB: What made you decide to get a this breed?
We have always had Labradors, mainly for their temperament and good looks, and they are great family dogs especially with young children, not that we have them anymore.

AB: Is he your first dog, if not tell us about your other dogs?
Hamish is our third Black Lab. We got our first in 1995 when our eldest was three years old, back in the UK. Her name was Treacle and she was very loving and affectionate. Our second dog was also a bitch, called “Fleur” short for Barfleur Lass which was her pedigree name. She was almost identical to Treacle in many ways, very loyal, loved her dad and followed me everywhere. She would come to work with me daily and had people eating out of her paw! When we got Hamish, I thought we would give him a good strong name as it always felt uncomfortable running around the park shouting for ‘Fleur’ or ‘Treacle’.
Hamish though is completely different in attitude to the other two. It could be because he is the first male dog we have owned, but his persona is more reserved in comparison to the others, however I am sure many at DogHQ or Milford Beach would disagree.

AB: Do you have any other pets?
No although we are hoping for another pup from the same breeder in the near future.

AB: What do you love about Hamish?
That’s hard to put a finger on. He is part of the family, the only one who doesn’t answer back. But he is not as affectionate like the female dogs we have owned. Every morning he wakes me up with a lick or a wet nose in the eye, and he is always pleased to see us. He really just wants his breakfast but we don’t mind. He seems to be miserable when he’s indoors or at least that is my perception but I love it when we are in the car and his face lights up as we approach Milford Beach and he realises where we are going. Then he has the biggest “happy face’ in the world. He also has a white patch behind both front feet called ‘Bolo pads’ which are associated with an early English Dual champion so how cool is that.

AB: Does he have any bad habits?
No not really, he suffers from occasional selected hearing impairment (just like children), when you don’t want him to do something, but he has already decided he’s going to do it anyway, he just pins his ear back and goes for it. This normally happens down the beach, when he wants to swim and I rather he didn’t. At the end of the walk at the beach he will go sit on the grass opposite the car and refuse to move for about five minutes. He is an inquisitive dog and once turned up at a friends house with one of their chickens in his mouth, to gasps from all. The chicken was unharmed, after all that’s what Labs do… right?!

AB: What are his favourite things to do?
He is an outdoor dog, and just loves it when he is not indoors, regardless of where that may be. Getting into the car for him is the possibility of an adventure. He loves playing fetch, or is it throw, as I'm not sure who is humouring who? He becomes very ball focused when he has it and nothing else matters. He also loves sticks, he is great at stripping sticks and reducing them to small pieces.

AB: How long has he been going to DogHQ and does he love it?
He has been going to Dog HQ for about three years now. Initially just a few days a week, but now most days. He seems to enjoy it as he is as equally bouncy when he comes out as he was when he goes in. All the staff seem to enjoy him and he is happy to see them. He loves window shopping in the reception prior to leaving.

AB: Does he love the beach and swimming and or other things?
The beach is his favourite place although he was water shy until he was about a year old. Now its hard, no impossible… to keep him out. He likes nothing better than trying to catch fish, if he sees them jumping at slack tide, although he hasn’t caught anything yet. He also likes walks around Eskdale Reserve, it’s a great place for dogs, lots of new smells and wide enough to roam of the leash.

AB: Any words of wisdom for other dog owners or prospective dog owners?
If your thinking of getting a dog, think what you want from your dog and pick the right dog for you, Labs are great family friendly dogs, and buy it from a reputable breeder. Lastly, be a responsible dog owner, clear up after your dog which means you need to know where it is all the time when out.