My Sunday Reflections series is about sharing ideas, thoughts and insights on self-care, relationships, chronic illnesses, growing older, self-improvement, inspiration, or anything else that I feel is useful information and might be of benefit to someone.
Sometimes we don’t know something is missing in our lives. Maybe even something we needed. But then when it appears, we’re like, “Ah-ha!” Our lives have changed this summer. Mostly for the better, but there are days when we question our decision. This last month, we have wondered if we took on too much at our age, and with my health problems.
We weren’t really looking for another dog. We had lost our beloved Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Samson, a year and a half before and the loss was hard. He suited us perfectly all of his life. We got him as a 2 month old fat butterball and he was with us for almost 14 years.
We did stop by the local shelter a couple of times a few months after his death, but apparently we weren’t ready, because we didn’t feel a connection with any of the dogs. We felt bad walking away with them watching us go. They just wanted a family to love, and to be loved in return. Thankfully, our local shelter is a no-kill shelter, and they are fantastic at finding homes for the dogs and cats. They are part of a network that will even transport them to other locations for adoptions, if need be.
I’ve mentioned before that we had a very pregnant Beagle adopt us two weeks before she gave birth to seven very large puppies on June 5th. She was so big that the day before she had them, her belly was dragging the ground. She looked pitiful!
This is the same Beagle we have been shooing away since last summer, but she kept coming back. We think she was abandoned by short-term tenants that may have lived down the road for a short time. She’d come up to me on the porch and want to get in my lap to cuddle and be held. She is a little high strung and a nervous little dog, but she is definitely loyal. And dainty. Unbelievably dainty!
After the puppies were weaned, we had planned on taking mama and puppies to the shelter to be put up for adoption. That was until we started playing with them . . . you know . . . for socialization purposes. These puppies were huge at birth and continued to grow. We’ve thought all along that they all looked like Beagles with a little Basset Hound in them. We had affectionately called them Tank, Bruiser, Brutus, etc because of their build. At 8 weeks, we kept one of the puppies and took the rest to the shelter. The shelter had started showing pictures the previous week and already had several adoption applications for them.
Mama dog was so grateful for our care and attention, loving up on us every chance she got, that she convinced us to let her stay. We named her Daisy Mae. She was spayed 4 months old after the puppies were born. The vet said she looked to be full blooded Beagle and was about a year old and weighed 16 pounds. It was a definitely a chore taking care of her with the cone on her head for 10 days. Especially since she doesn’t just cuddle. Sometimes she’s a wiggle worm and wallows all over me. True to the breed, she is smart,
playful, affectionate, lethargic at times and energetic at times. She is not very playful, unless she is playing “catch me if you can”.
The little male we kept was named Huckleberry. Although he has all of the markings of a Beagle, he is broader and stockier with a shorter, wider snout. He also has bigger ears, and he’s definitely a chunk at 22 pounds at 5 months old. Whatever Daisy lacks in playfulness, Huckleberry more than makes up for it. The vet agreed he had Basset in him. She said breeders would sometimes breed Beagles and Bassets to get the size and stockiness for a better hunting dog, and are sometimes called Trojans. He is just as lovable as his mama. He crawls up in my lap to to be held and he puts his paws around my neck.
It’s like raising kids all over again! We have had to puppy-proof the house with towels on the sofa seats, two dog crate carriers for night time or when we leave the house, a baby gate for the hallway, no more shoes left laying around and a stack of towels by the back door to dry wet feet and coats. Toys, sticks and plastic bottles are laying everywhere. They haven’t learned to walk when they come in the door. If they aren’t on a leash when they come in, they make a mad dash down the hall, across the living room, and then make grand lunges onto the sofa and into the lap of anyone sitting on it. I have had the wind knocked out of me a couple of times before we started on the “walk slow” training.
But the love that these two show is unbelievable. We can scold them for bad behavior and they will still come to love all over us with tails wagging like crazy. Not much is better than the unconditional love of a pet.
It took me two weeks to finally get a picture of the two of them side by side looking at me. His eyes look so big because he has black fur lines under his eyes. Talk about “big ole’ puppy dog eyes” melting your heart!
He turned 5 months old a few days ago. The original plan was to take him in to be neutered the middle of November. That has been postponed for awhile. Early last week, he came dragging in with a dislocated hip. After a trip to the vet, x rays, popping the hip joint back into place and being taped up , he is now confined to a crate for a couple of weeks except for potty breaks, when Hubby has to take him out on a leash. He was back to the vet 6 days later for tearing the tape off of his leg while he was in the crate overnight. He still has to be crated for another 9 days and hopefully, because he is so young, he will heal well.
We think a lot about whether this is much more work than what we are cut out for . . . especially after the well-behaved dog we had before, for all those years, that aged along with us. That traveled with us across the country for years, living in motels and RVs. My guardian and protector. But these dogs have added much to our lives already, and we know that once they are trained, they will be amazing pets.
A Dog’s Purpose
I tell you this story about our dogs, because I recently watched a movie that tells the story of A Dog’s Purpose , followed by the sequel A Dog’s Journey (I’ve included movie trailers below) I feel like a lot of things do happen for a reason and I am sure these dogs came in to our life when we needed them, whether we were ready for them or not. We may not have known we needed them, but maybe Samson did, and maybe his spirit lives on in Daisy and Huckleberry.
Health Benefits of Having a Dog
Research has determined that there is a benefit of owning pets. Dogs are even taken into some nursing homes to visit with the residents as pet therapy. When my Mom was in a nursing home, Samson would almost drag me through the halls to her room, but when he crossed that threshold, he immediately slowed down and walked slowly to where she sat in a chair, then he would lay his chin on her chest. My Mom even got a little exercise tossing his ball into the corner for Samson to fetch.
Some benefits of owning a dog for mental and physical health.:
- decrease in blood-pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol levels, making less risk for heart-disease.
- less likely to be depressed due to higher levels of serotonin and dopamine than non-dog owners
- dog owners tend to get more activity in their day just taking care of and walking the dog
- dogs help boost mental responses and motivation, leading to an overall sense of productivity and satisfaction
Here are trailers for each of the movies. I loved both of these movies! They were funny, and sad, and heart-warming. I hope you get a chance to watch them!
A Dog’s Purpose
The story of a dog’s purpose continues . . .
A Dog’s Journey
“The ones we rescue, rescue us.“