If you have known me for more than five minutes, then you know that I have dogs – two of them. I talk about them constantly. It’s a little sad. I love my dogs in a way that only a childless woman in her thirties can. They are my children. I take pride in their accomplishments and good behavior. I beam when the groomer gives them a good behavior report or the vet tells me that they’re healthy. I train them to do funny tricks. They sleep in our bedroom. My husband has come to tolerate my dog loving behavior and I think that he also finds them endearing.
I grew up with dogs and have always loved them. Dogs are amazing creatures and human beings have a unique relationship with them. Anywhere that you find people, you find domesticated dogs. You cannot say that of any other creature (sorry cats).
So now that I have you as a captive audience, let me tell you about my dogs. The oldest is a terrier-mutt mix named Boudicca. She is named after the Iceni Warrior Queen. We got her from the pound. She was sitting quietly in her kennel when we took her out and then took her home. She’s an inquisitive, sweet, and smart little thing. She is seriously smart. Now, I’m not saying this because I’m her ‘mom.’ Nope, because I’ll readily talk about how ‘simple’ my other dog is. Boudicca just has that spark you find in mix-breeds. She learns quickly, reasons things out, and if you’re not careful, she will ‘train you’ as my sister found out when she was house sitting.
Sometimes, I think that the only thing that holds her back is her lack of opposable thumbs. Sometimes, I use this to my advantage. I’ve got her trained to do entertaining tricks like play dead when I “shoot” her or open the door to her kennel. Other times, she drives me crazy when she figures out how to open doors or burrow in to restricted areas. I still can’t believe that she was tossed out on the street to fend for herself. She’s such a loving and sweet dog.
My other dog is Dixie. Dixie is an English Mastiff, the largest dog breed in existence. She is also a rescue and we got her with the assistance of Great Plains Mastiff Rescue. She is a very loving, docile, gentle, and sweet dog. However, all of those years of in-breeding have not made her the most… mentally agile of creatures. Sweet… yes. Clever… not so much. She quickly gets confused and looks to us to fix the scary, confusing world – i.e. if you close the door slightly on her kennel and then instruct her to kennel up, she can have a drastic anxiety attack.
In spite of her massive size (132 lbs at her last vet appointment), she seems to forget that she is ginormous and can easily be intimidated by the world around her. She has an embarrassing fear of cats – she will cower and hide in their presence. Raising your voice in her presence will make her hide in her kennel. A bad thunderstorm will send her to the closet. When I walk her down the street, mothers take their children inside in spite of my reassurances that she is the most child-friendly dog on the planet.
In spite of the massive size difference (Dixie is a good 100 lbs larger than Boudicca), the two get along quite well. Boudicca is clearly the boss and Dixie spends her days trying to please her. They start out every morning with a wrestling match in the bedroom – a bit noisy at 6:30am. They play chase, they nuzzle, and they roll around. Yes, there’s a bit of a competitive streak (especially when we have a visitor at the house), but the two get along swimmingly.
Okay, so here are some obligatory videos – yep, I video my dogs and post them on YouTube.
This is a video of our last snow-fall. It highlights Dixie’s “simple nature,” but also how happy she is in life:
Here are the girls running around the backyard.
Here’s one of their training sessions (and my husband being super tolerant).