"Being Settled" Dog Ownership
Wow the summer sure flew by! In the midst of all our chaos, my blog writing has taken a hit and for that I am truly sorry. Now that Number 4 has started his senior year of high school, my schedule will go back to normal and I will have lots of stories to tell. Monday was National Dog Day. My Facebook feed was filled with all our friends dogs in all different setting and poses. It was great to see these and although I post lots of pictures on Facebook, I didn’t post photos of them. Instead I decided to write my first blog post about our dogs.
Early on in our family history, we have had dogs. We adopted our first dog shortly after making the move across country to Nebraska from Chicago over 12 years ago. Kori was presented a great new job opportunity and we agreed she would take a new job in Omaha. Number 1 didn’t want to leave her friends as she was going into 5thgrade and had established a good life for herself and was very sad we were moving. Unbeknownst to me, my wife was feeling the pressure as she was the reason we were leaving Number 1’s home and made a deal with our oldest daughter that would forever change our family…in a good way! She promised her that when we got settled in our new home, that she could have a dog.
“Being settled” is a very vague term and we liked it that way as it gave us some wiggle room to put off the dog adoption until we were ready, but for a pre-teen, not having a set day and time makes every day the day we are now “settled” and ready for dog ownership. As it became very apparent, that we couldn’t put this off any longer, we started searching newspaper ads, the Humane Society, breaders, pet stores as we tried to narrow down our search. Number 1 would ultimately choose, but I knew who the actual caretaker of the dog would be so I was very involved in the process. My two criteria were non shedding(because I don’t vacuum much) and big enough to go for walks and not have to be carried half way through. I was adamant that it wouldn’t be a tiny dog that was the size of a rat because I had a reputation to uphold and didn’t want to be seen walking around a cat on a leash.
We finally found the dream dog and she really was in every sense of the word. She was a brown Labradoodle that our daughter named Koko. In the early days, Koko allowed Number 1 to dress her up and push her around in a stroller that was way to small for her. Koko would just lay down when any of the kids wanted to lay on her. She never fussed or got angry. She wanted everyone to like her even the neighbor infants and toddler that didn’t know any better and pulled her tail or stepped on her she just sat there taking in every moment.
To her, I was the Alpha and she would listen to and obey me with little correction. She was my assistant. Wherever I went she went. She rode with me to run errands, she sat on the clean clothes as I folded them, she put her paw in my lap as soon as I sat down. She was so easy to train. I took the credit for it all but honestly, she was just that smart and probably Number 1 could have trained her just as easily.
To all our kids, she was the consummate playmate or companion. Whether they were going on walks, playing outside or doing their homework, she always wanted to be close to them and get their attention. Our kids all loved her deeply and even though they were growing and gaini
ng independence, they always had time to give her love when they came home.
My wife was never a dog person. Growing up she always had cats in her house. I wasn’t sure how she would react to having a big slobbering animal in her face all the time. It didn’t start out so well either. Koko loved Kori from day one and would sit by the door when she knew it was time for her to come home. As soon as that garage door would open, she would jump up on Kori for attention(training fail by Mike) and Kori would yell to come save her from the dog. Well as days turned into years, the bond between Koko and Kori continued to grow. She would often say to me that I may be the Alpha but she is Koko’s favorite and I can’t disagree with that.
Whenever Kori was sick, I would become invisible to Koko and all she wanted to do was lay with Kori and make her feel better. No longer did she look for me for her belly rubs because she wasn’t moving from Kori’s side of the couch. When I was running errands, if Kori was home she wasn’t leaving.
Before we adopted Koko, Kori would say that whatever dog we choose, it will become a member of our family and as such it would be due the same respect that the rest of the family receives. I doubt she imagined just how right she would be in the end. Koko was far from just a dog. She was an extension of all of us. She knew how to make all of us feel loved and how to also get the love she needed from us. I am so glad that Kori made that deal so many years ago. If she hadn’t we would have missed out on the best dog ever. I hope that your dog, or cat, or fish, is a great as Koko was. Our life is so much more full because of her.