Friday, May 18, 2012

A (Wo)Man’s Best Friend

I’d love to share more about my boys, who I love dearly, but I decided from the very beginning when I started this blog that I would respect their privacy.  Other than a few snippets I might offer here and there when I post, I will respect the privacy they deserve and refrain from going on and on about how wonderful they are. 

Instead, I thought I’d write about my other kids…or rather, my dogs. 

Do you agree that dogs are somewhat like children?  If you have a son or daughter out on their own who is even thinking of having a baby with their spouse or partner…get them a puppy.  It will wake them up to the responsibility of taking care of something small, helpless and in need of constant attention. 

That’s how it started with me.  I had never had to care for a dog by myself before.  We always had dogs while I was growing up but I did not have full responsibility of caring for them.  I’d never cared for any animal, really, other than my cats. 

And I was a complete cat lover. 

My husband, on the other hand, was a complete dog lover.  I guess he should have taken out a ‘must love dogs’ ad because for a number of years after we shared a home together, I only wanted cats and wanted nothing to do with taking care of a dog. 

And then one day, my husband came home with a surprise.

He brought home a white, curly-haired fluff ball which turned out to be the smallest, cutest, two-month old Cockapoo I had ever seen.  My heart melted.  I held that little guy in my arms and I was completely in love as he cuddled against my neck. 

I was soon on my way to becoming a dog lover. 

We named the puppy Jake and he was a great training tool when it came to teaching us how to care for something other than ourselves.  I hadn’t realized a puppy would take so much work!  We had to move things out of reach so Jake would not chew or choke on anything, then there was the potty training (yeah, that was fun), a regular feeding schedule, and we had to find a babysitter when we were gone on vacation and could not take him with us.  For at least one, maybe two years, we had to celebrate with a small Christmas tree on a table because he would not leave the ornaments, or the presents, alone.  When he got mad at us for leaving him at home alone, he would deliberately tear things up…like one of my favorite plants (not poisonous) and another time, one of our wedding photos. 

I can laugh about it now…though not so much then.
Jake is gone now and has been for some time but he did the job of turning me into a dog lover.  It wasn’t long after losing Jake that we adopted a Dalmatian we named Zoey and she is by far the sweetest dog we’ve ever had.  We lost Zoey a year ago and it was a difficult time for me after she’d been with us for over 13 years. 

Zoey, however, did not leave us before getting a taste of what being a mother and even a grandmother might be like for a dog.  Zoey was never able to have puppies of her own, so when our Mastiff/Lab mix named Shadow came to live with us as a 2-month old pup, Zoey was more than happy to take her in.  They made quite a mother-daughter duo.  
Although two dogs are plenty, especially when it comes to big dogs, we had every intention of breeding Shadow with another Lab, preferably a Chocolate Lab.  Shadow became pregnant, all right, but not by a Lab, or a Mastiff or anything remotely close to either.

Nope.  We received an unexpected visit from a stray Border Collie.  Don’t get me wrong.  These are smart dogs.  But we had hoped for Mastiff/Lab/Lab pups, not Mastiff/Lab/  Collie/Whatever-else-might-be-in-there pups.  However, I was now a dog lover.  Even more so, I loved puppies.  I was soon over what type of puppies we were having…I was just excited about having puppies!

And puppies we had, well, Shadow did anyway…a total of 10. 

Taking care of one puppy is doable…taking care of ten was insane.  If I had been on Facebook at the time, my friends and family would have been treated to daily updates, funny stories and photos as I cared for all ten pups the first two months of their lives. 

Like these…
Newborn pups napping

How small they looked when they were first born,  even when they were all clumped together:


Or how they ate together out of their bowl (the bowl is there, you just can’t see it):

Feeding frenzy!

How cute a Border Collie mix pup can be:

Cute Collie

Hanging out with
Jack (-o’-lantern):

Hanging out with grandma:


Enjoying their first real snow while I kept a watchful eye because I could not let them wander very far (again, just like kids):
First snow and it was a lot!

The pups will be four years old in October but I still remember how much fun it was to raise them from birth until we found eight of them new homes.  We ended up keeping two.  Why two?  Just like when I loved cats and my husband loved dogs, this time he had his eye on one pup while I was attached to another.  Neither of us wanted to let our favorite go.  So rather than choose between one or the other, we could do nothing else but keep both. 

Piper & Mandy:


Two peas in a pod. 

And while I have raised them from the time they were born, they have in a way also raised me to become even more of a dog lover than I thought was possible.  At this point, it is arguable who is more of a dog lover, myself or my husband.

It really doesn’t matter though.  Dogs are not just a man’s best friend or a woman’s…they are part of the family and always will be. 


  1. Ahhhh, what a treat to read. Libby's birth story!!! :-)

  2. I can even pick her out. She is at about two o'clock eating out of the dog dish. :-)

  3. Thanks Courtney, glad you enjoyed the post. I see what you mean about picking Libby out of the group...I think she was the only female to also have the tipped tail!

  4. John H here. Love this one, Paula.

  5. Thanks John - Glad you enjoyed it!