Many, many moons ago when I was a child, I remember always having a pet. My sister and I had parakeets, goldfish, ducks, a rabbit – mind you, not all at the same time, but not your typical cat or dog. My parents were not fans of cats, even though my sister loved them, so we accepted there would not be a kitten in our future. That was fine with me as I always wanted a dog. It wasn’t until some good friends got a miniature poodle that they began to come around. I was beyond thrilled when one Christmas morning, I came downstairs to find my precious pup in my dad’s arms. From that point on, except for one very brief time, there has always been a dog in my life, and usually at least two.
I like scruffy little pups that grow to be 25-35 pounds. They aren’t big enough to jump up and pull things off of counters, they don’t take up the entire sofa or bed, they are not too heavy to pick up, and they’re not so small that you trip over them. My husband and I are proponents of rescuing. There are so many adorable canines to be found at animal control centers or through rescue groups that need homes. I always feel like our rescues know they have been saved and are always very loving as a result.
Two years ago, we lost one of our precious pups at the estimated age of 16½. Our other dog, who was almost 11 years old, seemed rather lost without her canine companion; but as the months rolled by, she grew to like being the one and only. It was several months later when my husband let me know that he would like our next pooch to be a golden retriever or a yellow lab…say what?
We will soon be moving into our newly built home – why would I want a big dog running around, knocking things off of tables with a tail wag, and generally wreaking havoc? However, I thought I would appease him by looking into rescues and shelters assuming that finding either of those breeds would be nearly impossible.
Unbelievably, a picture of the cutest puppies popped up that were coming up for adoption in a few weeks. I immediately contacted the rescue group and, after filling out forms, sending a video, and getting a positive response from our veterinarian and friends, we were granted permission to adopt. You may be asking yourself, how am I going to tie this article to grandchildren? Well, I’m not exactly, but bear with me.
We brought home this tiny half yellow lab, half golden retriever puppy. She was content with eating, sleeping, and short bursts of play – just like all babies. She appeared to grow inches overnight – just like when you haven’t seen your grandkids in a while. She had to be watched like a hawk when she wasn’t confined to make sure she wasn’t getting into something she shouldn’t have – just like when kids get mobile. Then there’s establishing sleep habits, potty training, exercising, manners, and boundaries – just like children.
Our Sailor is now seven months old. We are still working on just about all of the above – except potty training – she caught on to that fairly fast. The only problem with that is she lets you know when she needs (or just wants) to go out. She also doesn’t care that you are asleep at 3am. Like children, she needs constant reminding of what is acceptable behavior and lots of praise and affirmation for listening to directions.
And, like with your children and grandchildren, it was love at first sight – except for our pup, Matilda, who still wonders what Sailor is doing here.