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Indie Christmas, The Yellow Lab

Eleven-year-old Indie Christmas Uytingco (“Indie” for short) was born in Modesto, California. He’s a Yellow Lab and is extremely loving and friendly to everyone and everything (except raccoons, ha). He’s also very active, always wanting to play with his tennis ball and have an occasional wrestle. His parents Rob and Sally Uytingco wanted a small to medium sized dog but when we saw Indie at the rescue, they immediate thought he was beautiful and fell in love.

“The fact that his adoption name was ‘Christmas’ further enticed us,” Rob says. “When we finally met him, he was just so excited, curious and a little ball of energy, playing with his reflection in the mirror. Although knowing that he would eventually grow to be a large dog, the connection was there and we just went for it and have no regrets.”

Read this exclusive interview with the owner of the sweetest yellow lab around!

Dog Whisperer: Tell us about yourselves!

Rob: My wife Sally and I live in the San Francisco Bay Area and have always had dogs, and cannot imagine not having them in our lives. We are both UI/UX Designers that work from home so we are fortunate to spend all our time with Indie even during working hours. We also play in a band together called “Starry Eyed Cadet” where we gave Indie the honorary title of being our band manager. Our recording studio is also in our home so if you happen to listen closely to some of our songs, you can hear Indie contributing his talents by barking/singing in the background.

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Sally, Indie that band manager, and Rob. How cute!

DW: How long have you had Indie?

“We also play in a band together called ‘Starry Eyed Cadet’ where we gave Indie the honorary title of being our band manager. Our recording studio is also in our home so if you happen to listen closely to some of our songs, you can hear Indie contributing his talents by barking/singing in the background.”

R: We have had Indie since he was three months old, so about 10 1/2 years now.

DW: Where did you first meet Indie and bring him home from?

R: Our first encounter with Indie was through the rescue group “Pups N Palz” based in Modesto, CA where we also picked him up from.

DW: What are some special traits about your dog’s breed?

R: I think a lab’s special traits include always being hungry, being super patient and loving with kids no matter how rowdy, always wanting to play, always being trusting and loyal to their parents, the ability to understand our moods (specifically sadness and attempt to comfort by snuggling and licking) and just always being extremely sweet. Indie has never shown an ounce of anger towards us even at his brattiest and always seems to look at us with adoring eyes even when we as humans are at our worst.

DW: What is your relationship with Indie like?

R: We are definitely a pack. Indie always makes sure he is in a room that either Sally and I are in. We relax together, play ball together and he takes care of us as we do with him. He literally comforts us during hard times and won’t leave us until we are better. He sleeps at the foot of our bed every night and wakes up when we do. There is no doubt that he is family just like our siblings or parents. We love him to no end.

“We are definitely a pack. Indie always makes sure he is in a room that either Sally and I are in. We relax together, play ball together and he takes care of us as we do with him. He literally comforts us during hard times and won’t leave us until we are better.”

DW: What are Indie’s favorite activities?

R: Indie’s favorite activity is, without a doubt, eating. He’s extremely food motivated and literally drops everything if there is food within reaching distance. A very close second favorite activity is playing fetch with his tennis ball while having a stuffed doll in his mouth. He literally needs to have a toy in his mouth in order to fetch his tennis ball for some reason. Very strange yet the cutest thing ever. Third would be another strange thing, sucking on his plush toy monkey as if it were a pacifier, to relax. We have a couple sets of monkey toys he’s had since he was a wee pup and won’t settle for anything else.

DW: What are your pup’s favorite foods and snacks?

R: Indie’s favorite food is Acana Meadowlands kibble (although he can eat anything and make it look like it’s his favorite including veggies, except asparagus) and loves to snack on chicken jerky and sliced apples.

DW: Does Indie have any best friends?

R: We recently adopted a one eyed cat named Momochan from our dog sitter, Joyce, who fosters rescue cats for Saving Grace. During one of his stays with her, she noticed most cats stayed away from Indie except this little one eyed one that followed him everywhere. Indie seemed to enjoy her company as well. We thought about adopting a cat before but never pursued it. After seeing their relationship, there was no way we could pass on her, so we snatched her up right away and they’ve been living in near perfect harmony. We’ve noticed she sometimes likes to tease him, which gets him a little frustrated, but in the end, it’s all love and play.

“We recently adopted a one eyed cat named Momochan… most cats stayed away from Indie except this little one eyed one that followed him everywhere. After seeing their relationship, there was no way we could pass on her…”

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Indie and Momochan.

DW: What are some fun facts about your pup?

R: Indie’s adopted name is ‘Christmas’ yet his birthday is on Halloween. He was named Indie for a few reasons. We noticed, as a pup, he was extremely curious and did a lot of crazy, sometimes fearless, exploration. We thought of naming him after Indiana Jones or “Indy” but we also loved the Indiepop genre of music. We jokingly called him “Indie Pup” so we decided “Indie” was the perfect name for all those reasons.

“We thought of naming him after Indiana Jones or ‘Indy’ but we also loved the Indiepop genre of music. We jokingly called him ‘Indie Pup’ so we decided ‘Indie’ was the perfect name for all those reasons.”

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DW: In what ways has Indie grown since you got them?

R: Indie is not quite the fearless explorer he once was. In fact, he is quite the opposite and very careful of his surroundings and makes sure he does not knock things over or break things. Other than that, he really is still the energetic, excited, playful and the loving pup he was when he was a three-year-old just with a bit more white hair on his face.

DW: What’s it been like raising Indie?

R: Though we’ve had dogs as children, Indie is the first we consider our very own and our son. Having had to raise him on our own, bring him up at his brattiest and most destructive to the present where he is just bratty… but in the best possible way, he has made us really appreciate the endless love and joy dogs give. In these crazy times where we sometimes lose hope in humanity, Indie can just come up to us without words, with a sincere stare, a meaningful lean into our side and give a simple lick on the face to make us realize that pure love does exist. Even during our darkest moments, that can bring a smile and swing the mood pendulum to the other side. We thank our lucky stars for Indie every single day.

“In these crazy times where we sometimes lose hope in humanity, Indie can just come up to us without words, with a sincere stare, a meaningful lean into our side and give a simple lick on the face to make us realize that pure love does exist.”

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