He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion.
I share my home with my sister Mary and two adoring, loyal fur babies of the canine ilk.
I have not properly introduced the two dogs who occupy my heart. I refer to them occasionally on my blog and I have been asked to write about them.
The living being (pet or person) who has shared my living space for the longest is Chelsey, a yellow Labrador retriever. Chelsey came to live with my husband, my daughter and me as a puppy. She was actually a gift from my husband to my daughter. My daughter had long begged to get a dog. Although both my husband and I had dogs growing up, we came from a country setting where there was a lot of space for pets. Keeping a dog in a city did not seem desirable to us although of course many people do it. But when a friend of my husband’s decided to breed her yellow lab, my husband felt it was the opportunity to get the puppy my daughter desired. Chelsey thus joined our family.
As a puppy she chewed and destroyed any of our possessions that she came in contact with. She was the most energetic and unruly puppy when she started her obedience school but she was a quick learner and was easily trained. At the end of the class she got an award for the most improved. She has been with us through extremely significant events in our lives for the last 14 years. She witnessed several household moves, the illness and death of my husband, my sister moving in with us, my daughter’s growing up and graduation from high school and then college, along with every other event and transition that came our way.
Chelsey is the empathetic pet. She seems to sense my moods. She will get on the couch next to me and put her paw on my arm or rest her head on my knee in very comforting gestures. I have often felt that she is almost people. She tries to verbalize and I think if she had the gift of language she would be able to give me very good advice. Actually, she may be giving me advice but I don’t have the ability to understand it.
In 2011, we adopted a dog from the humane society. Snoopy is a piebald dachshund. We wanted to get a companion for Chelsey, and we knew that none of us were up to dealing with an energetic, boisterous, playful, youthful puppy. We deliberately looked for an older dog which earned us admiration from the animal shelter staff, because older dogs are much more difficult to find homes for. The same woman had owned him since he was a puppy but she developed health issues and was no longer able to take care of him. I cannot imagine having a dog for 11 years, realizing that I have to give him up, and then have no other option than to leave him at the animal shelter. It would break my heart.
Snoopy has issues. There is no other way to say it. I would term his main problem separation anxiety. He is extremely attached to my sister. He follows her around. If she just goes outside, Snoopy cries and whimpers and whines. When my sister leaves to go shopping or run errands, if he sees her leave, Snoopy barks and is inconsolable. The only thing that works is to put him into my car. Apparently if he is in the car he thinks he will not be left and is very content. The only problem is he doesn’t want to leave the car to come back inside even when my sister comes home.
Snoopy loves laying in the sun. As the sunlight from our skylight moves to different positions in the room he will move around to stay in the sun. He also loves burrowing into blankets covering his head and body completely. It is very amusing watching him trying to rearrange a blanket to get himself covered up. Snoopy was a spoiled dog when we got him and we have been able to do little to reverse that. It was clear that he was used to being fed from the table. He is much more likely to eat people food than his own dog food.
Both dogs will be 14 years old this month. Both have had some health issues. Snoopy has had surgery and has had hospital stays. Chelsey is on a special diet for renal disease in hopes of slowing the progression of the disease. It will ultimately be fatal. Obviously, we will have a difficult time when we lose the dogs. Meanwhile we will be the best people to them that we know how to be.