I'm currently a cat lady. I love all animals―cats, dogs, horses, goats, octopods... but by circumstance, I'm a cat lady. I have eight cats. I have not lived with dogs for a long time, but I have dogs in my life via friends and family, and I love them all. I want to take some time here to honor the dogs I've had in my life.
For as far back as I can remember, I have shared my home with animals. The only time I did not live with animals was when I was away at college. Even then, I wonderful kitten found me for a short time. I grew up in a house that never seemed to have less than six pets at one time. Way back in the day, before I was around and possibly before my mother was around, my grandparents bred boxers. As I grew up, most of our dogs were boxers. They remain my favorite breed of dog.
I got my very first dog who was my dog when I was a teen. My mom and grandmother surprised me one birthday with Charlie, a rescued boxer. Charlie was about a year old, and she had apparently come from a situation where she was abused. She and I both had issues at the time. She ended up living with our trainer for a while for “doggie boot camp.” It took a while to get her calmed down, though she was never vicious.
Once Charlie was calmer, I took over her training and took her through several obedience classes. This experience awoke in me a passion for dog training, though I have yet to pursue it as a career. My life has taken me in other directions. By the time I was done with Charlie, I had her completely trained. She was even trained off leash. I took her everywhere with me. She was my best friend. I guess you could say we grew up and did a little healing together. She was a wonderful dog.
There came a point, sadly, when I had to move into a home in which I could not keep her. She ended up living with my mom. I saw her regularly, and I visited often. She was still my dog, right up to the end.
The next dog who was very special to me was Bianca. I think she and Charlie lived together with my mom for a while. Bianca was a marema―an Italian sheepdog. She was also an amazing dog. She was definitely my mom's dog, but she had a big heart, and there was room in it for everyone. When she was happy, she didn't just wag her tail. Her tail would do circles. She was very calm, but she was protective of her family. Bianca lived to be about 14 years old. For a large breed, that's a long time!
My next dog was Micki. Micki was a beagle mix, and we think she was either a little inbred or a bad mix of breeds. My ex and I found her in the woods on a friend's farm back in the 90s. We were there for an event, and someone who had found her was looking for someone to take her home, since they couldn't. She was tiny and adorable, so we decided to take her. My ex wanted to name her Lucky, because she was lucky we'd found her. Micki fit better, though. After having been the star attraction at my friends' event, she went home to Maryland with us.
She didn't enjoy apartment living, so when my ex and I split up, she went to live with me at my parents' rural home. While I was living there, I had to commute about an hour back and forth to work and go to school and see my friends back in Maryland, so I did not spend the time with Micki that I should have. She bonded with my mother. I did not learn this until I moved back to Maryland and took her with me. Micki turned on me, sadly. Luckily, my parents felt able to let Micki go back and live with them. I saw her regularly, and though a little snappish, Micki lived a good life at my folks' place. I loved that little dog very much, but she was not meant to be my dog, so I let go.
Now, I have Wally and Poppy, my mom's two current dogs. They're a good match for one another. Wally is an English shepherd, a very large dog. Poppy is a beagle mix, we think partly Jack Russell Terrier. They are both very sweet dogs, and Poppy's loyalty and good cheer balance Wally's mellow demeanor and need to wander really well. They are a great pair, and though Wally has been a handful to get trained, they are now both good for my mom. She loves them as if they were her human kids. I get to enjoy their company when I go visit every few weeks.
Outside of my family, there are even more wonderful dogs among my friends. Every dog I run into... if they, he or she is receptive... gets a lot of attention, and I always ask about them as I would any of my friends' family members. Every dog I have shared about here has plenty of stories, too, but each would be a blog post of its own.
It is my (and my boyfriend's) hope that, when we have fewer cats, we can get one or two dogs of our own again. We both love animals, and my cats are spoiled and want for nothing, but I really miss living with dogs. Dogs are just their own kind of amazing!
I hope you have enjoyed my celebration of the dogs in my life. Please pet your own and give them treats for me !