Tuesday, November 5, 2013

must love dogs

this photo was professionally taken as a gift for my sister Julie for her grade 8 graduation

For those of you that know me, you know I've always loved dogs.  You may even refer to me as 'the crazy dog lady' after having a silly conversation in a silly voice with the Bernese Mountain dog that just walked by.

Since having Kea in our life, everything is just that much happier, that much more special. The relationship you can build with your dog is like none other, she's my best friend, my little furry child, and my confidant.

We always get compliments on how well behaved she is, happy go lucky she is, and of course how cute she is, usually followed by 'what's your secret?'  And we usually answer with 'she's just a really special dog'.
But there are a lot of things we've done and worked on with her to help mold her into the sweetheart she is.

This is a topic I've been wanting to write about for a while now, and I finally feel confident enough to share some secrets.  And I thought I'd start with a story of my first dog, Snoopy.

When I was about 8 or 9 years old, we adopted a dog from the pound in Caledon, Ontario.  My Dad worked in that town and pretty much knew everyone, so when he heard of this particular dog at the pound, he had to go check it out.  It didn't take long from that moment.  He brought home a polaroid picture and we all swooned at how cute she was. I don't know for sure, but I think my Mom wasn't too keen about the whole thing, but when my Dad set his mind to something, there was no stopping him.*  Within a few days we had her home and (after turning down many a name that I protested were the best, including Michael, after my classroom crush) named her Snoopy.

We had Snoopy for about 5 or 6 years and one thing we could never help her with was her abandonment issues.  The first time we left her home alone, she literally jumped up onto the dining room table and ate my sisters science project (something to do with how quickly pop can destroy your teeth, so chances are it tasted great), and ran a muck around the entire house, peeing, pooping and howling.
This obviously wasn't acceptable, so after trying every possible thing, we ended up having to tie her up to the back door when we left her alone.  And what damage she was still able to do, whenever I smell pine sol, I think of Snoopy.  She would run herself ragged while being tied up, and pee and poop all over her bed and the floor surrounding it every single time, which was pretty much daily.  Basically, she would be going crazy in a pile of her own sh*t.  You can only imagine what that looked/smelled/sounded like.  She would be so excited to see us when we got home, that even having to clean up after her daily, it was hard to resist her loving little face.  Once cleaned up she would trot over in front of the couch and lie down, calm and happy.

As she got older and more sick, she had an enlarged heart, this behavior died down a bit.  She walked slower and barked deeper and we knew the end was near for her.  And yes, we all assumed that her heart was just so full of love for us, for giving her a good home.  But what was really happening was her heart took over her lungs until she could no longer breathe.  She went peacefully in her sleep one morning and my sister was with her.  We were all so sad, and miss her dearly.

I guess what I'm trying to say with sharing this story is that, sometimes your pet isn't meant to change.  You love them and nurture them and take care of them no matter what and that is what will make them a 'good' dog.
I am by no means an expert, but I do agree with the strangers comments about Kea, we have done a really good job raising her.  So over the next little while, I plan on sharing a few of our secrets.

this (super old!) photo is of me and Snoopy in front of our house.
*We adopted Snoopy when she was approx 5-7 years old, so she was well into her little doggy life, and that meant that a lot of the habits she had weren't going to be easy to change, but my Dad didn't care. Snoopy was going to be put down because no one wanted to adopt her, but Dad insisted on saving her and bringing her into our home.
When I decided to start writing this series and this story I double checked a couple of facts with my sisters, and didn't remember this part.  It makes me smile.

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