Throwback Thursday: Rip

One of My First Memories of a Dog

I recently came across some old photos, including one of my mom and her friend Anne Barnes on vacation in Maine. I got to thinking about Rip, a black Labrador Retriever the Barnes family owned back when I was a little kid. I remembered that Rip was a very well-trained hunting dog. For some reason, I also had a very vivid memory of a watercolor of the Barnes kids, Lesley and Jason, Mr. Barnes, and Rip. I asked Mrs. Barnes about the painting and she sent me this scan of a “version” of it.

Rip LL Bean
“Rip” and the Barnes Family

The first thing you’ll notice, I’m sure, is the big LL Bean logo on top. You’ll also note that the dog in this painting is not a black Lab. Lesley had this to say about the painting (and why I describe it as a “version” of the original):

The story on that image … is that my parents have a beautiful painting of Dad, Jason, Rip and me on the mud flats in Cape Porpoise, Maine, done by Francis Golden. I think my dad gave it to my mom as a gift one Christmas. For whatever reason, in 1997, Francis was commissioned by L.L. Bean to do a cover image for the catalog and he repainted the painting but substituted a Golden for Rip… we thought the more recent painting was a bit of a slight to Rip!!

I guess LL Bean thought blonds had more fun? Or maybe Golden Retrievers are somehow more “New England-y” than Labrador Retrievers? Who knows?

I asked the Barnes family what they remembered about Rip: Lesley said he was “awesome” and Mr. Barnes told these stories:

Rip was a great waterfowl dog who could swim all day in frigid water and then come home and sleep in the kids’ beds.

He knew how to heel – I once heeled him off-leash through the Montreal airport accompanied by a RCMP in full uniform who was convinced I was an undercover agent with a drug-sniffing dog.

He was a very soft mouthed dog – I made a lot of money betting that he could go into the kitchen, pick an egg out of a bowl on the table and bring it back to me in the living room whole!

As I said: Rip was incredibly well-trained!

Here’s one of the pictures of Mrs. Barnes and my mom in Maine. They are on the very same mud flats from the painting.

Anne Barnes and Luisa Sheer in Maine
Anne Barnes and Luisa Sheer in Maine

All in all, a nice, nostalgic post for Throwback Thursday!

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