“Everything worth knowing, I learned from my dog!”

For the past week or so we have been talking about cops who shoot dogs. The subject has gotten pretty heavy as we bring you the numerous accounts of innocent family pets murdered at the hands of law enforcement, so we thought that today we would move away from the subject a little and talk about something we all know and love, the family dog.

As most of you that read me regularly know, I have eight furry family members. I allude to them often, but I don’t think we have introduced them all to you yet. That is why today in the hopes of lightening things up a bit, I have decided to introduce you all to my dogs, tell you where each of them came from and why it is so important to support rescue.

Harlequin "Town Cryer" Hamilton

Harlequin “Town Cryer” Hamilton

Seven years ago this coming Mother’s day we were shopping at a local flea market. We came across a booth in which sat two tiny puppies. They were just tiny balls of fur really, one pitch black, the other bright white. We had no intentions of getting another dog when we left the house that morning, but when I saw the little bundle of white fur I fell in love.

Now before you all start yelling at me, I know I should not have bought the puppy, I knew in my heart that the people running the booth were puppy mill operators, and I am always telling you all to adopt not shop, but honestly folks once I held the little guy I couldn’t put him down and let him go back to that. We bought him of course (for much more than we have ever paid for a dog in our lives) and this year he becomes a senior. We named him Harlequin. (Harley for short)

We discovered very early on that Harley liked to announce everything. If a leaf blew by the window he sent up the alarm. If the garbage truck went by he made sure we were duly informed. We affectionately refer to him as our EWS (Early Warning System)

Mystral was born in our home on January 24, 2007.

Mystral was born in our home on January 24, 2007.

On January 24, 2007 our dog Ebony (R.I.P) gave birth to eight puppies. She had been impregnated by a stray that entered our yard just before her scheduled spay surgery. When the puppies were born I have to admit we were a little overwhelmed. After all there were already three adult dogs in our home, and one soon to be adult (Harley) so adding another eight brought us to an even dozen. It was a mad house but we got through it finding good homes for all but one puppy. The last one we kept. We named her Mystral, but she would become known as Mysty.

Mysty is a shy unassuming dog who much prefers a good cuddle to boisterous play. Mysty tends to get lost in the shuffle sometimes because she is a well behaved dog who never does anything wrong. She just had her sixth birthday last week.

Gabrielle shortly before her death in the summer of 2008

Gabrielle shortly before her death in the summer of 2008

In November of 2007, we bought a new house and moved four doors down the street in the same neighborhood. Believe it or not we actually moved to give our dogs more yard space in a yard we could completely fence. Our fifteen year old dog Gabrielle made the move with us, but she was not doing well. She had started having seizures and I knew her time was coming. I had, adopted Gabrielle fourteen years earlier unable to give her up after fostering her through the healing of wounds she received by being dragged behind a motorcycle down a dirt road as punishment for peeing on her owners kitchen floor. My husband and I got married in July of 2008. Gabrielle was with us for the wedding but shortly after gave up the fight. By August of that year she had crossed the rainbow bridge. Gabby was an amazing dog and even though she has been gone for years now, not a day goes by that I don’t think of her and miss her. I include her here because even though she is gone, in my memory she will always be part of our pack.

Nakita a Husky/lab cross was labelled a "pit bull" by a local SPCA worker bringing an end to her advocacy work.

Nakita a Husky/lab cross was labelled a “pit bull” by a local SPCA worker bringing an end to her advocacy work.

After Gabrielle’s death there was a void in our life. I never really thought of getting another dog until in December of that year I got a call about an eight week old puppy. The woman who owned her was getting rid of her after two weeks because she could not handle the boisterous pup. She could not find anyone willing to take the eight week old puppy so close to Christmas, and was ready to drop her off at a shelter. We drove out of town about forty minutes and picked her up. Little did I know it but she would become my constant companion at a time when my heart was still grieving for my beloved Gabrielle. We named the puppy Nakita. She became an integral part of my rescue work, helping me to train the rescues that came through our home, and accompanying me when we spoke to children and their parents about dogs.. All that would come to a crashing halt in the spring of 2010 when an SPCA worker from the local shelter labeled her a “pit bull.” I was already in the fight against BSL in Ontario, but when my own dog became effected I redoubled my efforts. Speaking out against BSL is what lead me to meet many of you fine people!

Wow! Look how long this post is getting! Okay one more dog today, then I will tell you about the other half of the pack tomorrow.

Chester is now somewhere in the range of 15-17 years old.

Chester is now somewhere in the range of 15-17 years old.

In the winter of 2010 I received a call from a friend. Upon going to work that morning she had found a box containing a senior Chi-pom outside the door of her local business. The night before the temperatures had reached an icy -22 C. When she opened the box she found the little dog alive, but just barely. Rushing him to the vet, she called me. I met her at the vets office and we found that although cold and neglected, the little dog would live. Now came the problem of what to do with him. My husband and I took him in knowing full well he would probably be with us for the rest of his life. The vet had estimated his age as somewhere between 13 and 15 years of age. Two years later, the little dog is still with us, and although he has bladder control problems and must wear a belly band in the house he is perfectly happy and healthy otherwise and still has a few more years of good life left. We named him Chester, and he will live with us until it is his time to cross the bridge.

Well folks that’s the first half of our pack. All of them were throwaway dogs that no one else wanted. That is why it is so important to support rescue by adopting. All of these dogs were overlooked for one reason or another. They were too old, they were the wrong color, they weren’t what their owners expected they would be. No one thought them worthy of a loving home, but they are a pretty good bunch to learn from. They have taught me many things about dogs and their ways, and after all you all know, “Everything worth knowing, I learned from my dog!”

Until Next Time Remember




2 thoughts on ““Everything worth knowing, I learned from my dog!”

    • We think so! She is one of the gentlest dogs we have ever had in our home, and as I said she is perfectly behaved, never gets into any trouble at all. She has the sweetest disposition. Her only downfall is little kids make her nervous, but luckily for her all our little kids have grown and gone! We would consider adopting Mysty out but only to a home that can give her the love and attention she deserves. That home hasn’t come along yet, and it may never happen, but we don’t care she will stay with us for life because once we commit to an animal we are committed to them for life.

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