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One is a Pet….Five is a Family

Growing up I was not allowed to have a pet. I always longed to have a dog, but my dad was very afraid of them.  After I got married, my husband got me my first dog.  She was an 8 week old tan pure bred Cocker Spaniel that I named Cocoa.  She was a very loveable and caring dog.  She could be let out without a leash and never run away.  When I had my daughter a year later, they got along beautifully.  I have many fond memories of Cocoa and our life together although it was very short.  Cocoa died when she was 5 years old from a blocked intestine.  Losing a family pet is a very sad experience.  My daughter was four years old at the time and couldn’t understand why her special friend died.

My daughter missed having a dog so much that a couple months later we decided to get another dog.  I did research and found that although pure bred Cocker Spaniels can have many health problems, a Cockapoo is often a healthier alternative.  After looking for a couple weeks, I found a litter of Cockapoos in Michigan a couple of hours away.  We did the drive to Michigan and purchased an 8 week old female Cockapoo that was totally black.  My daughter named her Copper because the movie The Fox and the Hound was one of her favorite movies at the time.  Copper was a great dog who loved us very much.  She tended to be aggressive toward little kids because my daughter was rough with her when she was little.  She had tons of energy and would think nothing of running away if given the chance.   Copper also was only with us a short time.  She died suddenly when she was six years old.

A couple years after we got Copper our next door neighbor was an adopted mother for a litter of puppies from the humane society.  There was five all black labs and one multicolored shepherd in the litter.  My daughter wanted the shepherd.  We already had one dog, but my husband and daughter ganged up on me and persuaded me to get another dog.  The mixed shepherd was the start of us getting only animals from the humane society.  After all there are too many dogs out there that need good homes.  Our shepherd was the color of sand with a little red mixed in.  My daughter named her Sandy.  Sandy and Copper got along pretty well considering their size difference. Sandy was the best watch dog you could ever ask for.  She loved to lay on your lap even though she was too big to be a lap dog.  When Copper died we waited a couple of months and then decided we wanted another dog.  We checked the humane society but they had nothing that caught our eye.  I worked with a guy whose wife ran a county animal control facility.  I told him I was looking for a small dog that was potty trained and good with kids.

After searching for about a month, they guy said they had taken in a dog that was found on the side of the highway.  It was a year old Jack Russell Terrier/Beagle mix.  I showed my daughter pictures and she said she wanted it.  We went and picked it up and my daughter liked it.  She named the dog Kissy because she loved giving kisses all the time.  Kissy got along real well with Sandy and they played together for many years.  Even though I got Kissy for my daughter, she ended up being my dog.  Jack Russell Terriers tend to gravitate to one person and bond with them totally.  I was Kissy’s person and to this day I am often teased that she is my “Velcro” dog.  Kissy would be by my side 24/7 if given the chance.  She shows me unconditional love on a daily basis.  Kissy is a very vocal dog.  She has been known to bark at anything and everything.  She loves other dogs most of the time and is always up for a cuddle on the couch.  Kissy has become even closer to me since the death of my husband.  She now sleeps with me every night and thinks she has to be touching me always.  We share a special bond that has only gotten stronger in the 6 years I have had her.

Sandy is the first dog we owned that lived a long and natural life.  She was almost 13 years old when I had to have her put to sleep last October.  She did pretty good right until the end.  When she got to the point that she could not do the 5 stairs to go outside, we knew we had to put her out of her misery.  I had my daughter come home from college and we took her together to have her put to sleep.  It was a hard decision to make to end her life, but ultimately we did not want her to suffer.  My daughter  wanted to help in picking out our next dog since it would essentially be hers.  We decided to wait until she came home from college for the summer.  She was to be married June 2nd.

In the middle of May last year, my daughter found the dog she wanted at a county animal control shelter. She saw pictures of the dog and fell in love.  She had her heart set on a lap size dog of 15 pounds or less.  When we went to the shelter to pick her up she was at another location but my daughter wanted to fill out the paperwork first and then go get her.  We did this and when we went to pick her up did we get a surprise!  She was not a little lap dog but a close to three foot long 40 plus pound dog!  She was a year old and black in color.  Believe it or not she is a Basset Hound/ Dachshund/Shepherd mix. I decided to give her to my daughter as a wedding present.  Her name is Sweet Pea and it really fits her.  She is such a sweet girl and just wants love.  She gets along well with Kissy.  They wrestle and play together often.  Most of the time watching them play is better than television.

Both of our dogs play a very important part in our family.  Our life would not be complete without them.  I know that one day in a year or so my daughter will be taking Sweet Pea with her when she moves away.  Until then I plan on enjoying both dogs to the max.  The unconditional love they provide at the end of a long day makes any trouble they might give me worth it.  I already know that once Sweet Pea is gone I will have to begin a new search to find that perfect addition to the family.





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