On living with dogs….

ImageWhen most people meet me and learn that I have as many dogs as I do, the first question they ask is usually “how do you do it?” Most people think this many dogs is too much work and chaos for the average person. They would be correct of course, the average person doesn’t live with this many dogs. Of course I have never claimed to be average when it comes to dogs! But the question still remains, “how do I do it?” Here’s a brief summary of our day…

I was awakened this morning as I am every morning, by a fourteen year old Chi-pom I inherited last winter during one of the coldest weeks of March 2011. Someone had left him taped up in a box and discarded outside a local business. When they found him he was almost dead from the cold. They called me because they knew the little guy would probably never make it out of a shelter alive due to his advanced age. Now he lives with me, and he has found his niche in life as my alarm clock. His name is Chester.

After Chester awakens me and I have seen to my morning toilet, I head downstairs where my husband (wonderful man that he can be sometimes) has already made the coffee, having already exercised the dogs, and supervised the morning run. Coffee in hand I head to the livingroom to boot up my computer. I am followed by an entourage of small breed rescues we affectionately call “Mom’s Minions”. As I sit down at my desk, Harley the Schnoodle sits in front of me wanting good morning pats. Harley is the pack’s “town crier” he keeps us all up to date on what’s happening around the house. No leaf shall blow by unannounced while Harley is on watch! As I sit and give him his required morning greeting he tells me all about the things that went bump in the night. He is happy with this routine, he feels it is his job to keep me apprised of all goings on.

Once Harley has made the morning report, it is Hercules turn to have one on one time with “the Mom.” Hercules came to me over three years ago. He was rescued in a puppy mill raid in March of 2009, and came to me that July. He had been adopted out several times but then returned because no one could touch him. We were his last hope, we took him in without batting an eyelash, knowing full well he would probably spend the rest of his natural life in our home. Three years later, Herc is still unadoptable, but with my husband and I he feels safe and comfortable. He is the pack jester. It is impossible not to start the day out with a smile with this little guy around.

When Herc has finished his morning comedy routine, I spend the next couple of hours answering correspondence, making phone calls, and dealing with the less glamorous aspects of the rock photography business. Then it is time for my daily walk with Phoenix our 120 lb great Dane cross. Phoenix came to us just over a year ago. He’d had somewhat of a checkered past, had bitten a few people due to his fear. Once again we were a dog’s last hope. It fell to us to rehabilitate him or have him become a statistic. That was a year ago and now Phoenix is a happy go lucky dog who loves new people. There is no trace of the old fear in his eyes when you look at him. Phoenix has been reborn.

When Phoenix and I arrive home we let the rest of the pack out into the big backyard for a run. All the dogs run and play together,, we do not seperate large breed from small breed. I have been criticized for this by people who believe that large breed and small breed dogs should be kept away from each other for safety, however I do not agree. I believe that if you are going to socialize a dog properly, it must learn to get along with all sizes and shapes of dog, not just those comparable in size. The Great Dane must learn to play gently with the Chihuahua, and the Chihuahua must learn it’s boundaries with the Great Dane. All in a safe, and controlled, SUPERVISED environment of course!

After the mid morning run, it is nap time. Everyone settles down in their favorite spot, and takes a nap while I practice my music. After an hour or two of practice it is time for another run, then household chores. At the end of the day when my husband gets home from work he takes the pack out for another run. We will then make dinner together, feed the dogs, run them one last time before bed, and call it a night. Tomorrow morning we will do it all over again, and I wouldn’t miss a minute of it!

So next time you meet someone like me, don’t ask us how we do it, ask us why. Because that is really the important question here is it not? The truly important thing about my life is not how I manage, but why I have to. Everyone calls me “the crazy dog lady.” After all who in their right mind would live with that many dogs? I’ll tell you who, those of us that are tired of the disposable way in which companion animals are treated. Those of us who spend our lives cleaning up the messes that less caring people in society leave behind, that’s who!

Until Next Time Remember