The Dog Pod and Me

I don’t feel that I owe anyone an explanation about why I have so many dogs. But I have found myself wondering what its all about. Perhaps a brief history of Debby and dogs will help.

I used to keep my poor sister awake at night reciting all 115 breeds of AKC recognized purebred dogs FROM MEMORY. I listed them alphabetically by each group that they were in (Sporting, Hounds, etc.) I LOVED everything about dogs, and especially purebred dogs. I read books about showing dogs (Champion Dog, Prince Tom, and The Green Poodles–anyone got a copy of this book?) were two of my favorites.

Finally, I got my purebred Cocker Spaniel (show type) for my 13th birthday. That led to about 17 years of raising and showing purebred dogs, and having a kennel and being a professional dog handler. For a long long time I had a LOT of dogs. And then I didn’t.

Blah blah blah….Life changes, college, career…

And then I got kind of mad at purebred dog breeders. In their attempt to breed the most beautiful dogs, many times MAJOR health issues have been allowed to proliferate in many breeds. And the prices they charged were, in my mind, sinful. People are starving. Literally.

But I still like purebred dogs. So I turned to rescue. Well, that comes with another set of potential problems. Mostly rescue dogs are a good deal, because they are grown, and at least their physical problems are known, and if its a good rescue organization, they will have evaluated the temperament of the dog, and can help to match the dog to the person adopting it. But sometimes a rescue organization seems to be a little blind to the reality of the situation. “Here is Bowser. He is missing one leg and is blind. He only needs a daily pill that will cost you $100 per month. His rescue fee is $350.” What?!?!? You should pay me to give this dog a good home. Most often, these days, I have had very good luck rescuing dogs from local shelters.

But I digress. How did I end up today with five dogs (one small-dog pod of a Miniature Dachshund, two Pugs, and a little Shih-Tzu/Yorkie cross, and Noah, the big white Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd cross.) Well, after Mr. Monk the Pug died, I kept watching Petfinder. Last fall I saw a little female Pug online at the same shelter where I got Mr. Monk. Its a really nice shelter, and they have a foster program there. So I wrote to the foster coordinator about her, and she wrote back saying that she wasn’t available for adoption right now because there was something wrong with one eye. Okay, forget that. I didn’t want to adopt a dog with a known problem anyway. And then I saw cute little Zoey online at our local shelter! So I got her. I think I’d only had her for a few weeks when the foster coordinator wrote back that the female pug had been cleared by UC Davis Veterinary Clinic, and was I still interested in her? Yes, it was ridiculous, but I WAS interested in her.

The Queen, sleeping as close to me as she can, under the desk while I work at the computer.

The Queen, sleeping as close to me as she can, under the desk while I work at the computer.

I am surprised myself at how much I am enjoying having these four little girls in the house with me. Noah, by his own choice, spends ninety percent of his time outside. He comes in just enough that I get to have my big boy hugs from him. And then its back outside to keep watch on the neighborhood. The little girls sleep a lot, and take turns on my lap in the evening. Each of them has their own personality, and I really enjoy watching them and interacting with them, and yes, babying them. I am retired, and because I am trying to work full time as a studio artist, I want to stay home more often than not. For this period of my life, the dog pod is just perfect for me.

Miss Bess, in her favorite perch by the wood stove.

Miss Bess, in her favorite perch by the wood stove.

Part of me wants to think that God created me loving dogs, and I am just doing my little part to care for some of the millions of unwanted dogs in this country. The other part of me knows that it is just for me. I enjoy dogs.

Chloe and Zoey co-exist peacefully, waiting for me to finish up so they can go to bed.

Chloe and Zoey co-exist peacefully, waiting for me to finish up so they can go to bed.



17 thoughts on “The Dog Pod and Me

  1. I can’t help but think of the scene in Forrest Gump when Bubba is reciting all of the different ways to cook shrimp – your poor sister! LOL – does she like dogs after growing up hearing all about them?

    I get your dog love, you know I do. And I admire the fact that when you take on a dog, you do take on their care and feeding and vet visits – it’s not cheap, but they are your family, and that’s what you are supposed to do. I’m glad that they make you so happy. Pets are good company, they listen, they empathize (I swear, if I’m venting about something Paco immediately comes over, leans on me and worries), and they’re just plain fun to have around. Plus they look so cute when they’re sleeping!

    • I know. She was long-suffering. And no, she does not like dogs. She doesn’t hate them, but she definitely did not get the animal-loving gene that my brother and I got.

  2. I love how you call them “the little girls”. So cute! If I didn’t have kids, I would most definitely have a few dogs. We do have a black Lab now and she is definitely part of the family. I like having a big dog, but when I was growing up I had a small cockapoo and I miss having a little being that can snuggle up next to me in a chair. 🙂 I don’t see anything wrong with you having all your dogs – if it makes you happy, that’s all that matters.

  3. I think you have a deep nurturing side. Otherwise why would you have been a nurse as well? This is your clan. I totally get that. I would probably have 4 or 5 cats if it wasn’t for John being allergic (which is why I rehome all my foundlings). I guess I’m lucky in that respect. I am a sucker for the rescue. My sister buys purebred animals. She has the clumber spaniels and a ragdoll cat. She paid a *lot* of money for these animals. We have that discussion about rescue and paying the money for breeders and all that. We can disagree and be fine because we are sisters LOL.

    I’m more the nurturer or the person who loves the worn and uncared for. Look at all the old furniture and houses I buy to fix up and make better. Same with unloved cats. I tried that with people doing the literacy teaching, but people seem a lot more resistant to change than pets are.

    • You brought up a lot of interesting points. My “nurturing side” seems to extend to only the most helpless. I wasn’t very sympathetic when I had to take care of adults. Babies, dogs, kids in third world countries–those are the things that I am drawn to try to help. Same kind of thing you experienced with the literacy training. I would have no sympathy or patience for that!

      And with your sister–obviously I’ve been on both sides of the purebred fence. Only, I’ve been so far on the purebred side of the fence that I know the unscrupulous side of it. I would have a hard time trusting a purebred breeder anymore. But I still love beautiful animals. Its frustrating to me sometimes.

  4. If I worked at home I would definitely have more dogs, I love dogs too. I totally get it why you have 5 of those sweeties.

    And I get the purebred issues, Bella had knee problems before her operation. It was because the breeded too much with the dogs where we got her. But of course they don’t tell you when you come for the dog. But truth be told: Bella was so freaking adorable when we went to see her. I saw her running when we arrived and I was already sold.

  5. I actually get this for you, even though you’re just now sharing. I totally agree it’s a nurturing thing with you Nurse Debby. Combine that with a flat out love of dogs and voila! You don’t have children and grandchildren which is what most people your age are nurturing, so it makes total sense!

    I so agree about not having to explain it to anyone! It’s none of their business, unless of course you really do become some crazy old dog lady with 50 dogs. But even then, maybe we’ll just call it a rescue shelter 🙂

  6. When I think “dog pod”, I think of an Englishwoman out striding the countryside in boots, jeans, turtleneck and blazer with a “pod” of dogs racing ahead and around her. I have no idea where this originates.

    I just might think you are a little crazy to have that many dogs to care for, but I shake my head in admiration, not in any way that would require an explanation.

  7. I have five dogs myself! Sometimes I feel like I’ve reached dog hoarder level, haha, but I could never part with any of them. I still get crazy looks and questions whenever it comes up that we have so many dogs. They are part of my family though and we’ll have them until they cross the rainbow bridge.

    • I guess it depends on the mix of dogs, but I’m finding that these four little dogs in the house are just no big deal. And Noah just does his own thing, sometimes in the house, and sometimes outside.

  8. My daughter and her fiance were looking for a new Boston Terrier after Jacob’s dog died after he’d had him for 15 years – more than half of Jacob’s life! It was crazy how much some breeders wanted for a Boston – sometimes up to $3000!

    As luck would have it, they found Roman from a woman who lived in a tiny town near St. Louis, who had a mentally challenged daughter and she bred dogs to make ends meet. Her daughter named Roman Charlie Brown, and we’ve had the dog for 11 weeks now and can’t imagine not having him.

    I have to sigh when he poops on my new floors, but then he gives me such a puppy dog look I can’t stay mad long!

    That being said, I’ve decided not to redo the kitchen and back family room until after the dog turns 3 or the kids move out. For now I can use a baby gate to keep them out of the new living room!

    • LOL. Well, I have to say that if I didn’t have hardwood floors and a doggie door, I might be singing a different tune. But good plan on holding off the redo 🙂

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