Isn’t this the standard practice when entering into a relationship with a new group of people? So I figure it’s time to introduce a few characters to you. After all, it’s difficult to follow the story if you don’t know the key players.
I decided to start with the four-legged members of our family. Because, well, they’re easier to describe in one paragraph, I don’t mind putting their pictures on the Internet and frankly, we need to liven up this blog a little. It’s been pretty serious as of late and these 3 beasts are the perfect antidote to anything serious.
This is Cosmo. He’s a full bred Doberman Pinscher. He’s also a full bred pain in the ass. He’s truly the world’s worst dog. He also goes by Bubba…mostly because he’s the only male in the house; not because it accurately describes his personality. As I type this, he’s currently in the backyard participating in his favorite past time. Barking continuously at nothing while waiting to see something to bark at. Cosmo is about 90 pounds and is very, very tall for a Dobie. He’s a beautiful dog. Silky black fur (that I’m constantly sweeping up and wiping off seemingly every surface of our home), gorgeous tan markings (that are now filling in with gray given his age 😦 ) and sparkling eyes that, quite literally, twinkle with mischief. We bought Cosmo the summer we got married and he’s been with us ever since. We got him as a leggy 7 month old pup that was afraid to go up the stairs. He’s now afraid of nothing and scares the crap out of anyone that doesn’t know him. From day one we’ve learned the hard way that nothing, and I mean nothing, can be left in his reach (which is no easy feat given his size). To this day he will chew up whatever he can grab. Just last night he ruined a brand new pair of flip flops I had left UNDER the kitchen table. I can’t tell you how many sippy cups and snack cups I’ve wrestled out of his mouth…because in addition to taking everything he can find the words “drop it” mean absolutely nothing to him. If I could calculate the amount of money we’ve lost due to items ruined by this dog…well, suffice it to say the amount would be substantial. In addition to being horribly behaved, he’s a pure bred dog which translates to costly vet bills. This dog has been to the vet and required more treatment than I ever dreamed. My mutt barely costs us anything…but more on her later. You see, even as poorly behaved and challenging as he is, he’s our Bubba. He’s my husband’s dog and we love the big guy.
We even paid around $5,000 a few years ago to get him neck and spinal surgery to cure his Wobbler’s Syndrome. That’s right folks, you read that correctly. It was heartbreaking to watch him lose control of his (long) limbs and balance. We had the means to help him medically, so we did. I’m glad it’s given us several more years with him. I was pregnant with A when all that happened and I’m so glad she knows him and loves him. She’ll most likely always remember him and that makes me happy. And, one of his favorite pastimes is to cuddle on the couch at night, well, as well as a 90 pounder can cuddle. And who doesn’t love a 90 pound, sometimes, lap dog?
Meet Erika. The world’s dumbest dog. We call her Goose. Because apparently we have a problem calling our animals by their given name.
Erika was our last attempt at “being parents” before admitting we really wanted an actual child. We will never have 3 dogs again. Not that we don’t love her, but it hasn’t been the seamless, easy endeavor we hoped for when we decided to add a third dog to the mix. Goose was a rescue from the Doberman Rescue Society of North Texas. She was originally taken to the Weimaraner Rescue only to be handed over to the Dobie Rescue because despite her fawn coloring and natural ears (they were never cropped)…she is a Dobie. Acts just like one. Erika was the name given to her by her foster parents so we kept it, but we call her Goose; short for Mama Goose (we think she was used as a puppy mill) and Silly Goose. She’s so dumb. And yet, so sweet. My husband deemed her swoopid (sweet + stupid). Whenever she happens to be in the same room while we’re eating or I’m cooking, she spends the whole time staring at the floor. She thinks food just magically appears, doesn’t realize it gets dropped from above. Stupid. Her main goal in life is to play fetch and for someone to pet her. It’s impossible to play fetch with her because she can’t grasp the concept of allowing you to pick up the ball, shoe, whatever, and actually throw it for her. The second you reach for the item, she starts trying to grab it. It’s a pointless endeavor. She’s also impossible to pet. She won’t sit still for even a second and once you try to pet her she starts licking you incessantly. And she has terrible skin issues. Because of her fawn coloring, she genetically has less hairs per follicle making her coat extremely thin, so thin that she requires coats and blankets in the winter. She also smells bad. Really bad. We finally mentioned it to the vet and were told she has a yeast that grows on her skin but we can spend $20 on a (small) bottle of shampoo – use it weekly – and it will solve the problem. It works, but she rarely gets weekly baths. To top it off, she’s allergic to corn so she requires a special and highly expensive food. But here’s what I love about her; when she finally sits still long enough to pass out, she’s a great cuddler. Sometimes all she wants is to lay her head on your lap and let you stroke the soft and silky fur on her head. The rest of her hair is very coarse, but her head is super soft. She’s actually been known to work her way under the covers during the winter and sleep snuggled next to my legs all night. I love that she loves to be outside and will gladly spend all day out there by herself. I love that when she comes in at night and passes out she usually ends up on her back, one paw laying over her eyes, mouth open and snoring up a storm. Makes me smile that her life is so uncomplicated that she can sleep THAT well. I also love her because while we don’t know for sure why or how she ended up at the rescue, I do know that she’s got a great life here and loves us. And we love her…swoopid and all.
Meet Maggie. She has other names too. I know, you’re shocked. She goes by Mags, Mag Pie and Maggie Dog. She’s my baby. I’ve had her since college, we’ve been best buds from the beginning. I love her and she’s perfect. Except for the horrible scar running almost the full length of her back where no hair has managed to grow in the 11 years I’ve had her; she was burned with either hot water or chemicals, the rescue organization wasn’t certain. But I don’t even see it when I look at her. Most people that know her don’t see it anymore either. And everyone that knows her would like to get just 5 minutes with the monster or monsters that mistreated her. You’ve never met a sweeter dog in your life. She’s a dobie mix of some kind. Looks like a dobie, but she’s only about 40 pounds…that number keeps creeping up with her age, poor girl.
I love everything about this dog. She’s fiercely independent and would have preferred neither of the other dogs came along, could do without the toddler and I honestly think she’s still somewhat resentful of me getting married at all. Sometimes, in the midst of the chaos I’ll catch her looking at me and I think she’s trying to say “You see, you see what you did here? Don’t you remember the good old days when it was just you and me?” Most days she spends lounging on the bed in our room. She’s the only one of the dogs allowed in the bedrooms. If I’m feeling particularly nice I’ll open the curtain in the bedroom and you’ll find her sprawled out in the sunshine. She’ll move along the floor all day long to stay in the direct path of the sunshine. She loves to find a sunny spot outside to lounge in (we have to put sunscreen on her scar 😦 ) as long as we’re outside as well. And she loves a good back scratch by wriggling all over on her back in the grass. She has no interest in spending any additional time outside if there isn’t a human outside also. She’s a begger though. This is her biggest fault. Although, her begging is just silently sitting by your chair, she doesn’t whine or anything so I guess it could be worse. And she’s a scavenger. Constantly scouring the floor for crumbs. Drives my husband c.r.a.z.y. She loves to go on car rides – short ones. She doesn’t relax well in the car so long trips aren’t her thing, but 10 minutes with her head out the window and she’s a happy camper. She’s not much of a cuddler, but every now and then during the winter, if she gets really cold, we’ll wake in the morning to find her curled up between us. Makes me smile every.single.time. And I treasure those mornings that I can wake up and pet her because they are few and far between and I know they won’t be around for long. I’ll never forget the day I got her, and I will always, always, always love her. She was my college dog and has been with me the whole time. I hope I’ve given her and continue to give her the kind of life she deserves after enduring the kind of abuse she had to go through. You’ll hear people say that rescue dogs seem to have a different personality, that they seem to know they’ve been given a new lease on life – it is so true and so evident in Maggie.
I’ll leave you with this, from one dog lover to another:
Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like this…
- When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
- Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
- Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.
- Take naps.
- Stretch before rising.
- Run, romp and play daily.
- Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
- Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
- On a warm day, stop to lie on your back in the grass.
- On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
- When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
- Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
- Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you’ve had enough.
- Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you’re not.
- If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
- When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.
- Be always grateful for each new day.