Dog Days

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I love dogs. I have loved dogs since I was a kid, even after I was chased by a Great Dane and had a Chow bite a hole in my shirt (I still won’t go anywhere near a Chow). Granted I spent many years terrified of dogs I didn’t know or overly rambunctious dogs. But as long as I knew the dog, I became that dog’s new best buddy.

We never had a dog growing up. I didn’t think it was fair, but my parents always said we weren’t home enough. They also joked they’d get a dog when my brother and I were grown and had moved out.

We did have fish when I was in nursery school, which never lasted more than two weeks. Shocking, I know. After that we moved on to hamsters, first Squeaky who arrived one Christmas, and then Smokey a few years later. One year my brother got two hamsters together who were supposed to be both girls. Well we all know how that story ends…five baby hamsters were soon being given away to friends and the mom and dad hamsters were separated to prevent further breeding.

Then there was the summer my brother bought this mini turtle down in South Carolina. He then got the little guy some friends at a flea market (probably not the best place, but they’re not sold in Maryland). They were supposed to stay small. The key phrase being “supposed to”. These things grew to the size of Box Turtles and my brother promptly gave them to a pet store.

Eventually my brother and I went off to college. Wes had graduated and was living with a friend and I was a sophomore when this little puppy entered our lives. My brother’s roommate bought a yorkie-poo from a breeder, but soon realized she simply didn’t have the time for her. She planned to return her to the breeder. However, my parents had fallen in love with the little furball and adopted her. She was renamed Abby and I don’t think any of us can imagine our lives without her.

Abby asleep on the couch when she was about a year old.

I still want a dog, even though no one could take Abby’s place. I really wish I could have one, but with my job it simply wouldn’t be fair. I mean, I have a guinea pig that doesn’t live with me half the year because I can’t give him the attention he deserves.

On the bright side, I have found ways to get my dog fix without actually having a dog of my own. Sometimes I volunteer at a local, noneuthanasia dog shelter in the area. Most often, I offer to dogsit for friends and for Abby too.

I’ve gotten to dogsit Tucker a couple times. He is quite the large lab, but an absolutely sweetheart. Tucker is smart, like any lab, and has a huge desire to please. He is still very young and gets into mischief, but his sad puppy face gets him out of a lot of trouble.

Tucker watching me do some baking and hoping I'll drop something.

This past weekend I had a new charge. Her name was Cali, short for Caliente. She was a rescue and is the definition of a mutt. They think she has some Boxer in her, some Boston Terrier and maybe even some Pit Bull. She’s about half the size of Tucker. She doesn’t bark much and is quite the cuddler. Cali likes to be by her person. She is not always a fan of men, but warmed up nicely to one of my friends in her own time. She has a couple things my friend and her boyfriend are working on with her training-wise, but overall she’s a pretty good dog.

It looks like she's pouting while waiting for a treat.

On a walk with Cali. This was right before she tried to chase someone's rabbit statue in their garden.

One of the few times she sat still.

Cali was a bit crazy at times, but a lot of fun. I’m hoping to get to dogsit her, Tucker and some other friends’ dogs now and again. At the very least, I’ll borrow them for a hike or a nice long walk.

While I love having a dog around, it is nice to give them back to their owners. Having a dog really makes me second guess the schedule I keep, errands I run and any other reason I decide to leave home. When they go back to their homes, life goes back to normal.

What I do miss is having a furry buddy greet me at the door or simply be so very excited to see me. It wouldn’t matter whether I was gone five minutes or five hours. No matter what mischief they get into or how mad they make you, one look, one tail wag, one lick can make you forget in an instant. They have this uncanny ability to make any bad day better, even if you find the stuffing of a pillow all over your living room floor.

Quote of the Day: “You can say any fool thing to a dog, and the dog will give this look that says, ‘My God, you’re right! I never would have thought of that!'”

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