I have been a dog person my entire life. There’s been some connection between myself and the canine breed. My favorite animal is a wolf, but obviously!, I couldn’t get a wolf. So the next best things were dogs!
We did get a dog when I was little. He was a lab/rottie mix. We got him from a family friend who was looking for good homes for the new puppies. Marcel was a good dog and I loved him. He always holds a special place in my heart. However, we weren’t able to dedicate the time and attention to him that he needed. He was untrained and he barked incessantly. So my Mom had decided that we needed to give him up.
As I got a little older, we got another dog from another family friend who was also looking for homes. Kobi was a small Lhasa Apso/Maltese mix. He absolutely HATED everyone except his family. When people came into the house, he would back and growl at them as he ran away and hid in the corner. He would sit there and growl at you as he was hiding under the kitchen chairs. And then as soon as you got up, he started barking and growling. He didn’t really bite anyone, so most people just kind of kicked him away.
After we had Kobi for a little while, we were itching for another dog. We decided to go to the Northeast Animal Shelter. There were puppies and older dogs. My sister fell in love with this adorable rescue from Puerto Rico. She was, I believe, 2 years old? They really weren’t sure what breed she was but she was a smaller medium sized dog and she LOVED to run! The problem was, she LOVED to run! If she got out of the house, she would book it to wherever she wanted. It took a lot of coaxing to get her to come back. Plus, she was a trouble maker. She would go to the bathroom in the house, but for whatever reason, we blamed it on Kobi. She knew that she was being the princess and Kobi was getting the shaft. After a while, we were tired of putting up with her bologna. We ended up returning her to the shelter because she was not trainable. It’s hard (not impossible!) to teach an older dog, especially a stray, any new tricks, including house training. Kobi was so happy she was gone!
So Kobi was back to being the only dog in the house. He was with us when we had our house and then came with us to our apartment. Unfortunately, Kobi got sick with a kidney problem. The cost of getting him fixed was enormous… and that possibly wouldn’t even have been enough. We had to make a very difficult decision to put him to sleep. He was in a lot of pain, internally, and we could see it in my eyes. One of the hardest days of my life was bringing a lethargic Kobi to the vet and physically handing him to the doctor. I knew he was going to be in a better place… and it was the right thing to do, but it still broke my heart.
Once I moved out of my Mom’s house, it wasn’t too long after that when Duncan came into my life. Duncan gave from a rescue farm in New Hampshire. He was left on the side of the road in a box with his brothers and sisters. We had found him online and went up to see him and fell in love! His tail was docked, but his personality was enough to make up for his lack of a tail. I went there with the intention of getting a Deacon… but when I saw him with no tail, he became a Duncan. And he stole my heart! Duncan was the best dog in the world. We only knew that his mother was a lab but we had no idea as to what his other half was. Given the size of his paws, we knew he was going to be a big dog. But I don’t think we realize just HOW big! He ended up becoming a very tall dog, about 50 pounds but he didn’t care. He thought he was a lap dog. And, you know what? I didn’t care either. Duncan became my boy. I wanted to take him with me every where I went, but most people didn’t like a big black dog near them. He was a great “guard dog” when we moved to a house surrounded by untrustworthy neighbors.
Duncan’s friend, Roxie, moved in with us as well. She was a thick boxer who she also thought she was a lap dog. Roxie taught Duncan to find his inner bark and encouraged him to be house trained. You might think that is a little farfetched but I promise you! Duncan would go the bathroom in the house and never bark at anyone! As soon as Roxie moved in, he stopped relieving himself in the house and started barking at anyone he saw. Doubled edged sword I guess. Duncan and Roxie became the best of friends and even still, they live together.
Unfortunately, when I started a new chapter in my life, Duncan’s role has ended. I left him behind with his other Mom. I would visit him and take him out to the park and such, but on October 31, 2013, I took him to the beach and had a long conversation with him. I had to let him know that I wasn’t going to be coming around anymore. People who say that dogs don’t understand their owners are being nieve. Duncan knew exactly what was happening. He let me have a last photo session with him and I together… and that was the end. No dog will ever replace my Duncan. He was MY first dog and I loved him with her ounce of my being. Leaving him behind was very hard for me, but if I wanted to start the life I wanted, I had to. I know he is being taken care of so I was able to let go and say goodbye. I loved (and still do!) Duncan and he has a very big chunk of my heart!
NOW in my life we have added Jack. Originally, he was going to be named Scruffy … but after the death of Robin Williams and one of my favorite movies of his being Jack, that’s what we had decided to name our new scruffa. Jack is a Schnauzer mix. He, also, was found on the side of the road in a box. He was rescued from Puerto Rico with his brother and sister. He landed at the Cape Ann Animal Aid. We had looked at another dog earlier that day at the Northeast Animal Shelter and we fell in love with him. However, we didn’t get a chance to even interact with him because had an incident with a boy so they wouldn’t let him be adopted into a house with small children. So after we let go of him, we found “Draco” online. He was the exact kind of scruffy we were looking for. We all tried to not get our hopes of, given our prior experience. Once we got to the shelter, we asked to see him and they brought us over to his cage. The instant we saw him, we knew he was perfect. We played with him and we couldn’t get over his adorableness. So we made a pretty impulsive decision but we needed a dog. Our family is now complete!