As listed in the title, the aim of this blog is to simply share thoughts, insights, and general information from one ‘dog-person’ to all others. To get started, it may make the most sense for me to share how I became one of these dog-people.
Maybe it has something to do with being born during the Chinese Year of the Dog? I can’t say for sure, but I’ve always been one that enjoys and understands the companionship a dog offers. It’s not that I dislike other animals or people, but that dogs ‘make sense’ to me.
The first dogs in my life were my grandparents Schnauzers – Bijou and Coquette. My grandmother would walk them up to the daycare center at the end of the day and I’d grab Bijou’s leash and the little 15-20 pound guy would pull me all the way back to their house. He was my buddy. I’d get both of them all riled up to ‘chase the cat’ and then set them loose in the backyard. They’d tear around barking at everything/nothing. Later, we’d take naps together in the recliner in the den. I still miss the both of them.
Then, when I was around 7, my mother brought home Sara. Sara was around a year-old when we got her and was an Australian Shepherd / Mix. We had no idea what we were getting into with that breed of dog, and in hindsight, had no business even trying to raise her. My family, by the way, was just my single-mother trying to raise my sister and myself on her own. She worked seven days a week and money was tight.
Sara was loved but neither trained nor disciplined. She was obsessive about fetch and very stubborn if she didn’t want to do something. I still laugh when I remember her and my mom basically arguing when she got in trouble. My mom would yell at Sara and Sara would yell right back. It was hilarious. Sara’s favorite things were trips to the beach and chasing deer and raccoons into the woods behind our house. We fed her too many treats and took her on too few walks.
This was when my obsession with dogs really cemented. We had to move and the place we were going wouldn’t allow dogs. We had to give her away. This was a very bad day for a 12 year old boy. I remember us finding a home for her a couple of towns away – at least that was the story and to this day I don’t ask if it wasn’t true. I vowed then and there I’d get a dog again and NEVER give it up. I waited many years before getting one of my own. In the meanwhile, I did plenty of surrogate parenting with the dogs of friends and roommates. If they were at work, I’d take the dog out. When they went on vacation, I’d watch the dog. I’ve spent time with mutts and pure-breds alike. Marley the Black Lab, Jaxson the Chow/Golden Retriever; the list goes on.
Then, after college and when money became a bit more steady, I knew I was ready. My girlfriend and I were getting ready to move into a condo which allowed dogs and so we started searching the web sites of the humane societies around us. One fateful Saturday morning before we moved (and were still in an apartment where dogs were not allowed) we decided to just ‘go look’. Famous last words.
As we walked into the first place, Dana was about five steps ahead of me and got to the kennels first. All I heard was an ‘awww’, and that was it. The cutest little white puppy with black ears and a patch over one eye was just sitting there in the most perfect and content pose you’ve ever seen. I know it’s trite to say this, but it’s like she was waiting for us. She was the last of her litter, which was guessed as Labrador / Australian Shepherd. Again, she was as cute as they come and I liked the mix – those are two of my favorite dogs. At twelve weeks old, however, she looked a lot like a full grown Jack Russell. (More on that later.) I really thought I’d find a boy dog that day and had the name ‘Grady’ all prepared. Now, with this cute little girl-dog, Grady wouldn’t work. So as we finally got to the parking lot with our new pride and joy, I suggested ‘Sadie’.
And so it is. The adventure began.