I have always considered my dogs to be a reward from God himself. Nothing else on earth can love us unconditionally without reservation. I count my four legged family as one of the biggest blessings of my life.
For most of us, our pets are our children. My first dog as an adult, when I no longer was living at home, was a Whippet named Terra. She lived to be 12 years old and became my husband and my dog when we married. Terra was very, very special to both of us. She was our baby.
When Terra died my husband and I were inconsolable. We were stricken hard with grief. We could barely cope. We buried Terra in a cardboard box I covered in wrapping paper and buried her in a pet cemetery north of town. We could barely function when we left the cemetery that day. The house was so quiet it was deafening. We knew immediately we wanted another. Our son was 4 years old at the time and we knew we wanted him to grow up with a pet.
So we searched for another Whippet and found a breeder in Dallas which was only an hour drive from home. The breeder had a puppy that was 4 months old and a grown dog that had been returned to the breeder because the owner was a college student who, when she left home, couldn’t take the dog with her. That dog was free but we would be allowed to choose which animal we wanted.
My husband was out of town that night, but when my son and I returned home that evening. My husband called to see which dog we had selected. When our son got on the phone with his dad, the first thing out of his mouth was, “Dad we got TWO dogs!” Yes, that’s right, I had come home with both dogs. I knew when it came time to say goodby to my next dog, I didn’t want to be left without a pet. This would continue for 27 years, for the rest of my children’s lives while they lived at home. I would always have at least two dogs, up to 4 dogs at one time.
When both Whippets passed away, we got the kids a Golden Retriever named Avery. Avery grew to be one of the best dogs we ever owned. She was super obedient and she loved to go for walks on the river and hunt ducks. Once when she was less than a year old, she caught sight of a mamma duck and her ducklings and literally swam across the Trinity River trying to get them. I have never been more terrified of losing an animal doing what came natural to her. When Avery died she had been for a walk on the river just the week before. About a mile from the car, she collapsed on the ground and could not get up. I found a neighbor with a wagon and we rolled her back to the car and to the emergency vet. She had fluid on her pericardium. We never knew she was even sick. We drained the fluid, but a week later we both left to go on a trip and she died peacefully between the sofa and the coffee table before the dog sitter arrived that day. It was painful knowing she was alone, but she would have done anything to not let on she was sick or in pain.
When my son graduated college in 2005 he had rescued a wee little pup from underneath a car in his apartment parking lot, the day before graduation. He said the little fellow was whining and crying, cold and wet, and very smelly. He said he gave the little guy 3 baths before he got the stink out. No telling how long he had been there or how he got there. He was the tiniest thing we had ever seen. We told my son we would take him back to Fort Worth, get him vet checked and find him a home. Well, as you can imagine, but the time he sat in my daughter’s lap for 5 hours on the drive home to Fort Worth, he was ours.
We named him Abu because of how much he looked like the monkey in the movie, Alladdin. He has been the most unusual pet of our lives. Perhaps he really is an alien. He is extremely needy. And, being the only boy, he always has to be the first one out the door!
Honestly, our little Boo=Boo looks more like the Alien from Men in Black!
Our next precious canine was Bella. She was a blue Great Dane and was the absolute best dog I have ever had. Hands down. Not one day of her life did she ever once do anything wrong, that was her fault. Loyal to a fault, I even had to train her not to protect me from my daughter when I was in bed reading. Bella would act like a cutting horse trying to keep my daughter away from me.
Great Dane’s are the best apartment dogs on the planet. Her entire life was going from the sofa to the king size bed. She had her spot and she never deviated. She was totally trained off leash and when I would take her to the river she loved meeting other dogs until the day she met a male Golden Retriever, who was also off leash, who did not take to Bella very well. She was quite aways from me at the time, and unbeknownst to me he bit her and she was bleeding quite a lot by the time I caught up to her.
We immediately took her to the vet to see if she needed stitches. She bled all over my car, but like I mentioned before, none of it was her fault. The Vet said she did not need stitches, and to go home and give her plenty of ice water to stop the bleeding. We got home and I immediately headed to change my clothes which were covered in blood. When I returned to the kitchen, my white cabinets and countertops were covered in bloody slobber. it looked like we had been visited by Freddie Kruger.
Bella only lived a couple months past her 5th birthday, and while I would love to have another Great Dane, it was just too heartbreaking to loose them so soon. I highly recommend them as pets, but do your research and make sure you choose a breeder whose line has good longevity.
My son’s first college pet was Boston who he adopted from the shelter in Lubbock. We think Boston was a cross between a basset hound and some kind of terrier. He had a gigantic personality and unfortunately was hit by a car in front of our house on New Years Day. We still have no idea how he got out, but we found him injured on our front steps. You were well loved little one, and we all still miss you.
When Boston died we knew our son needed another dog really bad. He had just graduated from college and was moving to Austin to start an internship. We knew he would not have time to grieve the loss of Boston and I convinced him the best thing would be to adopt a rescue before he moved.
This is how Sookie became a part of our pack. We think she is half Whippet and half Pit bull. She’s the sweetest thing in the world. She has been a very, very good lovey for him all these years. We still have her.
Boston. Look at those ears!
Bella as a 5 month old puppy!
Bella and Abu, Mutt and Jeff, but best of pals!
Bella’s foot and Abu’s head……..
When my daughter started college, and I became an empty nester I knew I needed a project and I thought a puppy would be the perfect answer! I started my search by researching dogs that don’t shed. After years of having a Golden Retriever, I swore I never wanted another dog that shed.
When I came across the Australian Silky Terrier on the internet, I was smitten immediately! Every night before I went to bed I would scour the web looking for a silky terrier puppy. I had absolutely no idea how rare they are in America. A Silky is often mistaken for a Yorkie. When they were originally bred they were a cross between a Yorkie and an Australian Terrier. However, Yorkie’s weigh between 4-7 lbs and Silkys weight between 8-13 lbs. So they are a bigger, sturdier dog, with a beautiful coat and a spry temperament. I found a breeder in Texas and couldn’t wait to get my hands on the little devil!
Anyone who knows me, knows the story of Hadley and the important, painful and crucial lessons I learned about shopping for a pet on the Internet.
When Hadley died, I had fallen so in love with the Silky Terrier, I wanted another one the very next day. I had found an entire community of Silky Terrier owners from across the country on Facebook. When they heard Hadley had died they started blowing up my phone with condolences. I was trudging through the riff of sympathy’s when I saw a photo a woman had posted of all of her Five Silky Terriers asleep on her bed. An alarm went off in my brain immediately telling me this woman knew where to find a Silky.
And so began a 6 month long conversation with the owner of my future dog’s mother, grandmother, sisters and cousins. I asked her if she was a breeder and she said she only bred a litter every few years so that she could have a dog in the show ring. She said she was getting ready to breed a litter the next month as soon as her female came in season.
In the end, I have a wonderful dog who is truly now my “heart” dog.
She’s definitely a winner and having a healthy dog, with a line of longevity in her pedigree is not overrated.
On a side note, when Addison is on the trails in the summer, hiking with me in the mountains, which is right where I want her to be. With me, in her natural habitat doing what terriers to best, chasing bunnies!
When my daughter married this past year, we added another mutt to our pack and that is her husband’s dog, Nala. Last Christmas when we were all together, this was our pack on Christmas morning all begging for a treat!
Nala, my Grand Dog!
The whole Pack!
I pride myself in being a Dog Whisperer of sort, so when my husband ran into Ceasar Milan and Junior at the Austin Airport a few years ago, I was so delighted they took a selfie!
My friend, Tullie’s dog, Maggie, having a stare down with a chipmunk.
When I retire……