is our black Labrador retriever, supposedly pure bred, but we sometimes think that she is at least partly a flatcoated retriever -- she looks somewhat like the black Labs in the books, but very much like most of the flatcoats in that book, and she has all the instincts that the book says to expect from a flatcoat. She was given to us free, but her upkeep quickly exceeded her acquistion cost. She eats dry dog food, no table scraps, and when we lived in Washington state, she loved to gnaw on green apples fallen from the trees out back. She has a stunning glossy black coat, and is difficult to photograph except in very bright sunlight. "Chorny"? That's Russian for "black."

Chorny understands, and frequently obeys, the following commands:

sit, stay, stand, come, settle, go play, don't touch, take it, look at me, upstairs, downstairs (both to go and to stay), inside, out of the street, outside, kiss, shake hands, other paw, dead, drop it, lie down, lie down in your house, lie down on your pillows, where is..., front door, back door

She also understands these nouns:

Mommy, Daddy, leash, treat, toys (squeakers, boney, billy club, baseball, raspberry, virus, squeaky, whitey, red toy), park (dog off-leash play area), tractor (for chasing the lawn tractor), walk, roughhouse, and the name of the neighbor dog she played with in Washington state.