I like to call my family’s yellow Lab, Biscuit, the expensive warmblood I never had.
Biscuit (or #thebiscuit as her fans on social media know her) is fluffy in both fur and fat layer, hilariously joyful, remarkably ungraceful, a ridiculously loud snorer, and has the metabolism of a sloth. She’s also burned up about five figures in vet bills and requires considerable maintenance.
Biscuit as a puppy
After an OCD (osteochondritis dissecans) diagnosis in both hocks as a six-month-old puppy—a joint problem that also crops up in young horses—Biscuit had surgery to remove the cartilage fragments floating around in her hocks. Cha-ching.
To keep the wolves of arthritis at bay and keep her relatively sound for as long as possible, we also did a round of platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) after the surgery. Cha-ching, cha-ching. She also gets stem cell injections in those hocks yearly. Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching. And I administer Adequan every two weeks. Thankfully, I made the best decision of my life when she was about four months old and got a pet insurance policy on her, which has made all the difference in the affordability of this circus. She has the joint maintenance regimen of an elderly equitation horse. She’s two this year.
Is it worth it? One hundred percent, because I also have a five-year-old son, and Biscuit is “his” dog. He goes for walks and strolls along with his hand on her back, and she comes into his room every night as we read bedtime books. She still weighs double what he does (literally), so leash-walking is occasionally entertaining when a squirrel is involved, but if he has a cookie in his hand, she’ll do anything he wants. She’s also just such a happy dog that it’s hard to be in a bad mood around her.
She's my son's best friend.
Except, that is, when she rolls in mud puddles. Which she does when it’s hot. Religiously. She loves any kind of standing water, in true Lab fashion. And while swimming is a joy for her, there’s nothing that makes her heart sing like coating herself in mire on our daily walks. There’s a reason I use the hashtag #labrahippo.
Around lunchtime each day, our other dog Turtle, Biscuit and I go for a toodle around the neighbor’s soybean field. If I’m late pushing back from my computer, they sit in the doorway of my home office staring at me with the intensity of a thousand suns until I relent.
These walks are part of my efforts to keep Biscuit as svelte as possible—svelte being a relative term here, as she is a solidly square English-type lab with an appetite like a 13-year-old boy and the waistline of a sedentary matron. I feed her the tiniest portions of “weight management” food possible. I have, in all seriousness, asked the vet, “Just how little can one feed a dog and keep them alive?” I steam broccoli and green beans for her to fill her belly and reduce the pleading looks. #spoiled Her dinner bowl is accessorized with a “Gobblestopper” (remarkably akin to the large stones you put in the feed tub of a horse who bolts his food) and she craves, then inhales, her one cup of food twice a day.
One time when I was away for the evening, my husband called in a panic, convinced Biscuit was tragically ill as she was lying in the middle of the kitchen floor repeatedly groaning very loudly as if she was in great pain. I asked if he’d fed her, which he of course realized he was about 30 minutes late to do. Bingo, problem solved.
To exacerbate the torture of Biscuit’s rationing is the fact that our other dog, Turtle, is skinny and an unreliable eater who needs a full bowl of food available constantly. I tip my hat to Biscuit’s willpower as she very studiously and respectfully declines to eat Turtle’s food. Except for about once every three months or so, when she sneaks into the dining room and inhales Turtle’s portion in a fit of gluttony. I don’t get angry at her, as I recognize in this frenzy my own behavior with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I feel you, Biscuit.
Turtle and Biscuit on walkies.
After dinner, Biscuit goes to bed. My son dreams of the day that she sleeps in his room with him, but as of yet we haven’t allowed it because sleeping in the same room with Biscuit is much like sleeping next to the proverbial freight train. Do they make CPAP anti-snoring machines for dogs? (I’m not kidding, do they? Can they?) Kid sleep is precious, so my husband and I suffer the snoring.
I have, on a few occasions, had to wake Biscuit up from a mid-day snooze to avoid her snoring being overheard on a phone call, since I work from home. #professionalism After her breakfast and a bit of time roaming the yard, Biscuit is perfectly happy to nap until lunchtime, usually wedging herself against the wall belly-first in a position that causes the panic of “cast horse” in every horseman. The only reason I can fathom for this seemingly uncomfortable position is that the reverberation of her nose so close to the wall amplifies the snores substantially. Her post-lunch-walk afternoons are usually spent on the front porch with her paws crossed, watching the world go by.
Through it all, we love her dearly. She’s the canine version of the stereotypical Amy Schumer character—a little bit crass, hilariously funny, completely lacking in athletic prowess, constantly bemoaning her diet, and completely without shame.
The 4-1-1 on Biscuit
Hometown: Frog Level, VA
Favorite activities: Eating, sleeping, eating more, mud-bathing, swimming, eating
Least favorite activities: Baths and toenail trims
Best trick: Sleeping upside down and knowing when mealtime is to the minute
Worst trick: Shedding like a hair tsunami and stepping on bare feet with her nails
When she’s on her best behavior: Out walking and any time there’s food on the horizon
When she’s on her worst behavior: Pretty much never
Molly Sorge, the managing editor of Jump Media's content, grew up eventing and achieved her A rating in Pony Club. She spent a few years grooming on the A circuit before starting a 20-year career at the magazine The Chronicle of the Horse. She joined Jump Media in March 2018.