For the Love of Dogs
Ever since I was a little girl, I can remember being naturally drawn to dogs. They were genuine in everything they did no matter what they got entangled into. If they were playing with toy, they were truly in the moment expressing utter joy and happiness for that time of pure freedom. Our neighbors growing up had Labrador Retrievers that they would tie to the front porch on a daily basis. So when I noticed a yellow wagging tail outside, I would run over and sit with them every chance I got. Spending time with a dog was therapy to me. If I was sad and was sharing my feelings, I could look them in the eyes and would immediately feel a sense of comfort as if they knew just what to say back to me. Every dog I met became a natural friend but it wasn't until I had a dog of my very own that I truly understood the bond between a human and a canine companion.
Now if you were to approach our home today, you would be greeted by the world's largest welcoming committee. Squeals of joy would bellow from every corner of the house while the nearest dog to you would be 100% committed to licking your face. Our kids absolutely adore having visitors over but they are purely selfish in their motives. After all, a new human in their house means one new sucker for belly rubs! Our belly rub loving family includes a blended mix of 5 dogs and 2 cats in this humble abode and although that may sound like a lot of hair, (and it is) we wouldn't have it any other way. (Respectable Note: Our cats do NOT love belly rubs. For your own health and safety we strongly advise against this action.) From the oldest to the youngest we have the following fur children: August (Siberian Husky), Kodak (Golden Retriever Mix), Dublin (Australian Shepherd), Richard Parker (Cattle Dog Mix), Perry (Black Cat), Mildred Louise (Terrier/Pit Mix), and Podrick (Orange Tabby). We are grateful each and every day for the variety of personalities in our pack and cannot express the gratitude we feel for the amount of emotional and therapeutic support these animals provide for us. But with every family comes a few quirks and quarrels.
Our oldest and our youngest don't get along. Imagine that lol. Like any other family, jealousy comes into play when it comes to sharing attention but for August (who is an old and anxious Karen at times) and Mildred (a 4 year old goofball) jealousy quickly turned into unnecessary aggression. August and Mildred were friends after first meeting but shortly after, August witnessed some pretty intense trauma. Since that day, August started antagonizing the newly added female presence in her home which resulted in constant unprovoked fighting. After a long stressful period of trying to force what we couldn't control, we made the hard decision to split our pack under one roof. We divided our house into quadrants making the daily effort to really indulge time with each of our babies in the ways that they needed it most to be balanced and happy. We make every effort possible to split the dogs evenly in their time between the back and front of the house and that provides them with the balance they need when it comes to time with their humans (therefore controlling jealousy issues). If you've ever been to our house before you know this process as playing "Musical Dogs". The process seems stressful to most and entirely impossible to maintain, but we have it down to a science and we do it for our dogs. We do it for the necessary balance to keep our family happy and healthy under one roof. It has taught us to be better pet parents and overall better humans to other living creatures.
Now the cats live in our studio space which is the entire downstairs floor of our Bi-level home. Some of our rascals running around on the top floor have what we they call "prey drive" and would think that the cats are the very same as the squirrels who taught them in the backyard trees. Perry is the older wiser of the 2 of our cats and Podrick is the youngest. As Squirrelly as he is may be to the dogs, Podrick came into our lives with severe anxiety issues. His tendency to run and hide is something we’ve struggled with since day one but have found that with the help of his big sister and a pheromone diffuser, he is making strides. Perry on the other hand is what most people would call*excuse my language*a straight up bitch. Unless you are in her inner circle, this Regina George won't give you the time of day. But if you are, (and this takes about 2 years of living with her....TRUST me) then she adores the heck out of you and will lick you constantly as if she were a dog. Weird right? But that's what makes us love her so much! The cats hear the loud scary things running around upstairs so they just keep to themselves and stay in their studio space which kind of works out for everyone in the long run. Both of these cats have taught me invaluable life lessons regarding patience and persistence. I've had to earn their trust as well as their love therefore we've grown as a pack and I have in my own personal ways.
When it comes to the rest of our pack, we have the 3 middle children. Kodak was a rescue who has proven himself time and time again to be as loyal as they come. I don't think I've ever met a dog quite like him in my lifetime honestly and I've worked with dogs for 11 years. He's protected my home from multiple break ins but is the most gentle giant you will ever squeeze. The loyalty he shows me makes me want to be a better person for not just him but for others I would want to protect in my own life. His younger 2 siblings include Dublin and Richard. Two incredibly intelligent working breeds who aim to make their humans happy 24/7, even when that means unnecessary anxiety. We call them our sensitive babies but that isn't an insult. It's a compliment because I've learned that these 2 dogs are a reflection of the 2 humans living in this home. Seeing how our dogs respond to our actions and emotions causes you to become more aware of how you carry yourself in this world. Not just towards your pack but towards other humans in your life. Dogs have taught me so many things about myself and at the end of the day, I just want to be the person they see me as.
Now, I don't know if you personally consider yourself a dog person but I sure as shepherds do. And There are definitely different levels when it comes to the love of dogs. I mean you can simply enjoy being around them or you can be on the level I am where you're on the floor receiving a face bath from the dog walking by you at the local park. Everyone's different and that's OK! Out of my experience, dogs have proven to be an incredible source of comfort, companionship and encouragement throughout my life. I know so many others who feel the same way, a lot of them working in the same industry I did. Many have become some of my closest friends as they have been just as loyal as the dogs we adore. Some of those friends being the reason my fiance and I met and became friends in the first place. In a way dogs brought us together on. So as our pack sits at 7 furry tails/nubs, we strive every day to have a happy and balance household for all who lives in it. We do it for them because they do it for us.