About The Dogs

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, my mind is constantly going. At any given time I am thinking of a million (okay, that might be an exaggeration) things at once. So what I’m going to write about today has been in the works for some time. But I want to start with this…

Right about the time I wanted to initially make this post, my cousin wrote something on Facebook that was sort of related. Some lady wrote an article on why people shouldn’t call pets ‘furbabies’. Ugh, the things people decide they should take up issue with (I realize I’m choosing to take issue with this). If you’d like to read her article, you can find it here. And here’s what I have to say:

#1. I’ve given birth (7 times to be exact), I’ve also done the puppy thing.
#2. I’m not an animal rights activist. (I love animals and hate the way some are treated, but I’m not very vocal about it)
#3. I visit the zoo often. (Though I can see why there are people who are against zoos)
#4. Pets become a part of your family. (It just happens)
#5. I’ve never referred to my pets as my furbabies. (That’s just not who I am)
#6. I don’t give two hoots if someone does refer to their pets as a furbaby. It doesn’t offend me. A mother! To 7 children!

Let’s talk a bit more about that last issue, shall we?

You have zero right to call out those that do refer to their pets as furbabies. ZERO. You don’t have any clue why these people do refer to them as such. In no way are these people trying to belittle motherhood or would they even claim that parenthood over a pet is the same as parenthood over a child.

However, they have plenty of good reason for calling them furbabies. In some ways I think these people are better pet owners than those of us who just give our pets a name and involve ourselves with them only some of the time.

Think about those who will never know what it’s like to have children. Having a pet is the closest they’re gonna get. Some people don’t want children, but still want the companionship of a pet. And some people just love pets so much that it’s natural for them to refer to the pets as furbabies.

Why in the world should it bother you so bad?

You make some valid issues on the differences between child rearing and being a pet owner, I’ll give you that. But there are also some very key similarities that you failed to take into account.

– Both children and pets depend on someone to feed them.
– Both children and pets need someone to set an example of how they should act.
– Both children and pets want to feel needed and loved.
– Both children and pets will ‘cry’ when you leave the house. (I had one dog that would literally whine when we left)
– You need to potty train both children and pets. (Yes, you brought this up a bit and yes, it’s not technically the same – but it is still hard work in either case)
– There are people who leave their children as easily as they leave their pets. (I’m not saying it’s ideal, or that it’s RIGHT, but people do it – so your argument there is a bit invalid)

Anyway, the point is. Give it up. People (especially strangers) who are calling their pets furbabies has NOTHING to do with your life. It’s not going to make your world come crashing down around you and it definitely is not an insult to who you are as a mother. Besides that, everyone mothers in their own way, so why wouldn’t it be okay for pet owners? Go find something else to take issue with…like the person taking their pet out for a walk, because that’s insulting to those of us who take our babies out for walks!

Now, moving on…assuming anyone is still reading. What I really wanted to talk about was why it’s so ‘easy’ to ‘get rid’ of our pets.

If you read the post about 2 before this one, you know we got rid of our dogs. It’s not the first time we’ve done it and it was anything but easy. Physically it’s an easy thing to do, emotionally – that’s a different story. I’ve been missing those dogs like crazy and it’s put me into a state of thought.

We’ve had 4 dogs in the past 10 years.

Foxy came first. Eric grew up with dogs his whole life and was determined to get a dog when we got our own place. We went to the shelter and met Foxy. For whatever reason we were anxious that we wouldn’t be able to take her home and we had to wait a day to do so (I can’t remember why). That day seemed to drag on and on and on. Then Eric finally got home and had Foxy with him and we all went crazy over that dog.

Foxy was a great dog and so obedient. She loved us all and the kids loved her right back. Even though she was large, she was a softie with the kids.

After awhile we felt that she could use some companionship and I wanted a small dog. So we ended up with a chihuahua that we named Milo. Milo was a good dog, for the most part. He was fiercely protective, but still great with the kids. He was a bit less obedient, but not terrible. The issue we started facing with him is that he liked to pee in the house. It was frustrating and super annoying, but we dealt with it.

Until Foxy started reverting back to also peeing in the house. Milo had also had a chance to escape and apparently bit a kid. Granted, I don’t know what took place and chances are that the kid might have done something to annoy him (cause he had never bitten my kids), but I don’t know. It made me nervous enough and I was pregnant enough to just be super annoyed.

After discussing things with Eric we decided it was probably best to surrender both dogs. I couldn’t really say goodbye because it was hard to see them go. Eric even had to do the hardest part by taking them in. He swore we’d never get dogs again and I was good with that.

For a little while.

Shortly after Ailey was born, I decided we needed a dog again. I was looking at what shelters showed online and Eric kept putting me off. One day he finally broke down and said it was too hard to go to shelters. He wanted to take all of the dogs out of there and he just hated seeing the dogs in such a place. So we looked online for people who were selling pets.

We ran across an ad that featured cheagles. A cross between a chihuahua and a beagle. (I thought it was a made up name, but it’s totally legit) I had to look at the picture a couple times before deciding I liked them. But there was a dark one that I definitely DID NOT want.

We make plans to meet up with the owner. (In a church parking lot so we’re both safe, I guess) Well the owner ends up with the flu, but gets her neighbor to meet up with us. So he brings the two dogs that are still available (the ones from the ad) and we take a look. The dog I thought I wanted ended up NOT being the dog I wanted. The dark one I DIDN’T want suddenly became the one I wanted. She was smaller (come to find out she was the runt) and her color was much prettier in person. So we paid what the owner asked and had a new dog. We decided on the name Flower and brought her home. We also loved the fact that she was born on our anniversary.

I had never really had to do the whole training a puppy thing, but we learned fast. And having a 6 month old and a puppy was quite an adventure. We had to watch closely for when she had to go out and we got her potty trained in a good time frame. She was so good to stay close to us and even as she got older, if she got out – she didn’t usually run off. We tried to keep her in a kennel at night, but she needed attention, so I laid her next to me on a towel. This also helped me get her outside when she needed to go potty. She was a good dog and ended up making sure she took good care of the kids. When Ailey would cry she’d make sure I took care of her. Flower also did this with the other kids when they were born. Somehow she ended up being ‘Eric’s dog’ even though we initially got her for me. 

Before too long I was baby hungry, but Eric wasn’t on board with doing the baby thing again. So one day I took a trip to the shelter and brought home a black mini-schnauzer. He was so cute and the quietest dog at the shelter. He also looked a lot like the breed of dog I had loved since I was a kid, a scottish terrier. I wanted to name him Scooter, but the kids didn’t like it. So after searching for awhile we came up with Domino.

Domino was another awesome find. The only bad thing about him was that he liked to sneak off. If the kids left the door open he was gone. But he was such a sweetheart and liked everyone. He cried when we left the house and had tons of energy. The kids really enjoyed him as Flower was getting old and ornery and didn’t much like to play anymore.

But every time we’d go on vacation, we’d have to find a sitter. Flower didn’t like anyone coming in the house and was moody that we were gone and so she was hard for anyone to take care of. Shaylyn’s best friend Mikayla was okay in Flower’s mind, but Flower still wasn’t crazy obedient for Mikayla and cause Mikayla some grief.

Then came the day our friends boys came to play with the kids. The kids opened the door before we had a chance to put Flower in our room (which we had to do when company came because she was so protective) and she bit one of the boys. It was the 2nd time one of those boys had been bit and so we decided we needed to find another home for her.

Weeks passed and we had a couple people interested, but nothing that we felt was good enough for her. Or we knew the situation wouldn’t be good for the people interested. We then decided we were going to move. But just before we were going to list our house, we were going on a vacation and had no one to watch the dogs. We thought about putting them in a daycare type situation and paying for that, but then we discussed the move a bit more.

I was super concerned about showing the house with dogs. I didn’t want to make the dogs stay outside for hours on end (they were indoor dogs) while people saw the house, but I also knew the stress of the dogs and people seeing the house would put me over the edge. Neither Eric nor I also wanted the dogs to mess up a new house that we were going to buy, so we decided it was time to say goodbye.

And it was hard. Shaylyn had an especially hard time with it and Eric had to once again, do the hardest part. He came home and said something to the effect of we are definitely done with dogs because he never wants to surrender a dog again.

I don’t blame him. My heart aches every time Jace mentions Domino or one of the other kids says something about either dog. I feel slightly guilty as the move was my idea and ergo, losing the dogs was also my fault.

There are things that are easier without the dogs, and the house showings were a lot easier. There’s less commotion when someone comes to the door now and I don’t have to worry about a wandering dog if the kids leave a door open.

But I miss the companionship. I miss the fact that there was always someone excited to see you. It feels weird to look at the back door and realize I haven’t opened it in days, when it used to be a daily thing, multiple times a day. I miss the fact that at bedtime my feet were always warmed up. I miss Flower giving Eric hugs. I miss not having Flower make sure I’m grabbing the baby when he cries. I’m sad I won’t get to see how old Flower will grow to be. I’m sad I don’t get to see the kids playing with Domino and him loving them right back.

There’s definitely something to be said for having dogs. And I miss each of ours and I constantly wonder about them. I pray they each found a good home with owners who treat them right. I miss them daily and that’s something I never thought I’d say about a dog.

So while it was physically easy to surrender the dogs, the emotional ramifications will be with us for years to come….

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