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My Life with Pets

6 Jan

Today I was watching an Oprah rerun.  It was an episode I heard about when it originally aired and I really wanted to see it, but I’d missed it.  It was about animals–how smart they are, how they communicate, what they can learn, and a couple of feel good stories for good measure regarding their companionship with humans.  And, I most definitely cried during some of the more heartfelt stories.  Not all that shocking because I hold a special place in my heart for animals. 

When I was a kid, I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian because of my intense love for animals.  My grandma lived in Mississippi and always had a ton of animals on her property including cows, horses, goats, chickens, a rumored alligator and a fox or two.  And of course cats and dogs.  But, I remember one particular cow that I spent hours with trying to get it to trust me enough so that it would take the feed directly from my hand.   I would make a lot of progress, get to the point where I thought it was just about to eat from my hand and then someone would come out and tell me lunch was ready or some other comment, and the cow would get nervous all over again.  Finally, I got it to trust me enough to eat from my hand. 

Growing up we always had animals at our house too.  We had cats, dogs, hamsters, ducks, turtles, frogs, rabbits, and of course some fish.  But we didn’t have all of these at the same time.   I’m pretty sure we asked our parents for a new pet monthly.   Most of the time they said no, but every once in a while we would break them down and they would say yes.  Then we’d spend some time contemplating names for our new pets.  My brother was the youngest and would often come up with what we considered ridiculous names, like toothpaste.   We still make fun of him for that.

So now we have our pets.   Sean says they lucked out big time since we picked them from the shelter.  Molly has what you might call a wee bit of an anxiety problem, and we work with her to ease it.  She’s also the smartest dog I’ve ever had.  And Belle came from a high kill shelter.  And now they get to things like this with their white lab friend:

So, this was my long-winded way of saying if you’re contemplating a new pet, I highly recommend getting a rescue.  They are the sweetest, snuggliest pets!

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Love for Molly and Belle

28 Dec

I’ve talked about Molly and Belle (my doggies) several times before, but when I saw that Trupanion was doing a Pawliday blog contest, I knew that I needed to tell you a little more about them.   

We got Molly first. 

She was 3 months old when I adopted her from the shelter.  She had a fever, was underweight and had kennel cough.  When I took her to the vet, she told me that sometimes shelter dogs just don’t make it.  Although I’d had her for just 2 days, my heart broke.  I knew that my shelter dog was going to make it.  Well, fast forward 1 week and she was happy, playful and destructive, just like any new puppy. 

After several happy years with just Molly, we decided that she needed a playmate and we were yearning for a new dog too.  We were so glad that we were able to help a shelter dog the first time; we couldn’t imagine getting a dog any other way.  So once again we headed to the shelter for our next fury friend.  I found Belle at a shelter about an hour away. 

She was previously adopted.  Twice.  And returned.  Twice.  Since she was just a small puppy when she was first adopted, and the previous owners thought she got “too big” as she matured into an adult and didn’t want her anymore.  The shelter made me promise that we would just give her a happy life and not return her.  We intended to do just that. 

Phew!  Now that we got the background out of the way, time to get to the point of why my dogs’ love is the best holiday gift…

Here’s the thing, dogs love you unconditionally.  I know we all already know that, but its worth repeating.  When I come home from a long, stressful day, nothing cheers me up more than seeing my two dogs excitedly greet me at the door. But more than that, here are all the things I love about my 2 pooches:

  • That when my nieces wake up in the middle of the night with bad dreams, Molly will nudge me awake to go check on them.  And, even though it’s 3 in the morning, she’ll wake up and sit with me while I get them back to sleep.  I imagine that when we have our own kids and I’m up with late night feedings, Molly will always be right by my side even if Sean is snoring. 
  • When Belle cuddles with me like she’s a baby.  She lies on her back, closes her eyes and sits with you for as long as you’ll let her. 
  • That both Molly and Belle look at me to see if they really have to do whatever command Sean is asking them to do.  You know, like sit, stay, etc.  I’ll nod behind him to tell them that yes, they do in fact have to listen. 🙂
  • That when I’m feeling depressed and ugly my dogs give me kisses and always think I look my best.
  • When they encourage me to exercise when all I want to do is cuddle up on the couch with some cheese and wine.  They wag their tails and dance around me until I grab their leashes and head out for a walk.
  • When they stare at other dogs on the tv and cock their heads to the side as if they’re confused about what the dog is doing in that box.
  • That they can learn any trick I’m willing to teach them.  My favorite is when Molly shows me her tummy.  I think it’s her favorite too.

So, those are a few of the reasons why my dogs are the best gift I could ever receive.  I can’t imagine my life without them.  I miss them when I’m out-of-town, and look forward to seeing their happy faces when I return.

Where Sleeping Dogs Lie

11 Jul

I started to feel bad for Belle because Molly had a bed, but she didn’t.  But, I didn’t want to buy her an expensive bed because let’s be honest, dogs sleep wherever.  And most of the time that “wherever” spot is our living room rug.  Even still, I wanted to get her something.  So, I went to Tuesday Morning and found a pillow sham massively on sale.  I figured they’re much prettier than any of the dog beds I’ve seen at Petsmart (ok, sidenote: I was just at Petsmart and apparently Martha Stewart has started to make dog merchandise, so there are some decent choices now). 

Anyway, back to what I did.  Tuesday Morning.  Found a pillow sham:

I stuffed it with blankets we had around our house that we never use.  If I’m being honest, it was the bedding Sean had on his bed when we met.  It looks like a typical guy sheet set.  Picture brown with geometric shapes.  Anyway, I used that to stuff the pillow sham with, and came up with this:

And Belle likes it, sort of:

But of course once we started taking pictures, Molly wanted in on it too.  This is her “bow” trick:

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out, it fits in her crate too when she has to be in there.  And, its way cuter than the store-bought ones for a fraction of the price.

I Lost My Dogs

1 Jul

So, we have a hiking trail near our house that we visit everyday.  It’s a great way for Sean and me to connect and talk about our day while also giving our pups a little exercise.  Here are our pups:

Molly:

Belle:

On this particular day, Sean really didn’t want to go because I got home late from work and it was throwing off our whole routine, but I encouraged him to go, saying we could just take a quick walk.  I even put on flip-flops instead of my sneakers to show him just how quick a walk I was planning. 

Off we went.  Once we get to the hiking trail, we always let our dogs go off leash because it’s better exercise for them, and it gives us an opportunity to actually enjoy the walk without having to worry about a dog pulling on their leash.  It isn’t uncommon for our dogs to run off after some sound for a little bit, and then come back after whatever animal (usually a deer) they were chasing gets away.  But this time once they were gone for about 10 minutes, we started to worry.  After 45 minutes I was frantic.  Sean and I took off on different paths to try to cover more ground while we whistled and yelled their names, but we didn’t see them anywhere.  Each time I heard him whistle, my heart sunk because I knew it meant that he wasn’t having any luck finding them either.  Then it started to thunder and there was lightning and we were in the midst of a forest.  It had been about an hour with no dogs in sight.

Sean suggested that he run home to see if maybe by chance they’d gone home once they realized they couldn’t find us.  As he was leaving, he passed another hiker and the guy mentioned that he’d seen Molly, but not Belle up near the exit.  Sean ran home and when he got there Molly was in our backyard. 

While he was gone, I had no idea if he’d found them, but I continued to run around the trail like a crazy woman screaming both dogs’ names.  Another hiker saw me and asked me if Molly and Belle were kids or dogs.  I guess because I was screaming their names with such urgency, he thought I might be missing children. 

When Sean got back, he told me the good news about Molly, but at this point it had started to pour and we were still missing Belle.  Sean said we should get in the car and drive for a bit to see if she too was trying to find her way home.  I reluctantly agreed because I really didn’t think Belle would be smart enough to make her way home, and I didn’t think she would leave the trail without us.  But, we got in the car to start looking for her.  As we were driving around, we had to roll down the windows because it was raining so hard that it made it difficult to see.  After several trips around the neighborhood, I told Sean we needed to go back to the trails.  He suggested I go home, probably because I was a crying mess, and he would go back to the trails in the pouring rain, lightning and thunder to look for our little Belle. 

I kept wondering how Molly got in our backyard because the gate is always closed, but when I got home I found out how she got there.  My neighbors’ little boys left a sweet note in little boy handwriting about how they saw Molly running down the street and put her in our backyard.  It was precious.  But Belle was still missing.  I didn’t care that it was raining, I stood outside in the rain, crying just waiting for Sean to come back feeling totally helpless and just unsure what I should do.  I kept glancing at my phone, hoping that someone had found her and would call us, but my phone was silent.

Shortly afterward I saw Sean turn the corner with a little red leash in hand.  Both he and Belle were soaking wet, but I couldn’t help but smile and run to them.  I was SO relieved and happy!  Sean was so wonderful through this whole thing.  I kept being all doom and gloom saying that we would never find them, and he kept reassuring me that we would.  Once they were safe and sound, I asked him if he really thought that they would be ok all along.  He said that he really wasn’t sure, but he didn’t want me to worry anymore than I already was.  Now that’s a good husband. 🙂

Oh, and if you’re wondering, yes I did thank the kids.  I went over to their house with cookies and chocolate covered strawberries to say thank you.  I am so grateful.  And the dogs? Now they are on their leashes at the trails.  I am not going to relive that day ever.