Friday, August 9, 2013

CRAZY kind of Love

There is a new kind of crazy going on and it has reached epidemic proportions. It's called Dog Crazy. Somehow we went from casual dog owners to vigilant, self righteous, pet owners extraordinaire.

Collectively we have redefined loyalty. Some of us are more devoted to our pets than our pets are to us.

Take for example "George," a 2-year-old Labradoodle (half labrador, half poodle). I said hello to George's owner in the park the other day as he (the owner) regally sat in freshly mowed grass with a plushy chew toy in hand.

"Fetch," bellowed George's owner as he tossed the toy towards the late day sun. George wanted no part of fetch and was clearly happy just to rest in the shade.

I stopped long enough to pet George and comment on his ultra soft, cinnamon colored fur.

George's owner quickly corrected me, "George's HAIR is mocha, NOT cinnamon." I then got an unsolicited seminar on George's 6th generation pedigree line.

This is not the first time I insulted an owner on the color of their dog. A few years back I spotted famed children's author, Rosemary Wells, walking her West Highland Terrier, Sofie. Over the years, Rosemary has featured many of her westies in her books. During my daughters preschool days, Rosemary's "Bunny Planet" books were some of her favorites.

"It must be hard to keep her clean," I remarked as I admired Sophie's silky white coat.

"Well..." huffed Rosemary Wells, "at least I KNOW when she's dirty."

Pointing in disgust at Miss Lucy, my black, tuxedo Shih Tzu, she continued, "If you took the time to bathe your dog you'd see she's filthy."

Somehow I had unwillingly embarked on a racial war of words.

Today, at our neighborhood park, we met Chowder. Chowder was romping freely through the field with his owners, a dad and his young son, closely in tow. When Chowder spotted Sasha, our 95 lb Bernese Mountain dog, he quickly galloped up to greet her.

Based on Chowders size and color, my dog sense thought he looked part Golden Retriever, part Great Pyrenees.

Weary of inciting yet another racial war, I said, "what a handsome" (not wanting to assume that Chower was a boy).

"He's a Golden Retriever," said Chowder's dad, "but my sister insists he's part Great Pyrenees."

"I can see that," I hastily agreed.

"Well," he added, "my sister's an idiot. I paid a LOT of money for this dog and he comes from a great line."

Really? This time, clearly, I was set up.

Until our recent addition of Sasha, Miss Lucy was hand fed. We started this because we worried that at just over 5 pounds, her tiny size was due to lack of nutrition. That and she hates getting her chin and ear hair stained with kibble. When people remark on how small she is, I joke that, like the fables involving young asian females, we bound her little puppy paws with bandages to keep her from growing. And then I watch the horror come over their face.

Yet Beauregard's owner, who we also met this afternoon, easily out trumped me when, from his super-sized cell phone, he showed me video of Beau Beau, his 11 year old Lhapsa Apso, being fed his breakfast - at the kitchen table, with a bib on, from a silver plater, with the aid of a spoon.

"Sometimes Beau wants me to feed him and other times he wants my wife," boasted Beau's dad - a commanding, tattooed titan with a thick, portuguese accent.

"How do you know?" I ask.

"If he doesn't want you to feed him, he won't eat," insisted the proud papa.

I then watched video of Beau barking excessively.

"We taught him swear word from our country," bragged Beau's dad, "He learns so quick."

What I heard was "WOOFAH, WOOFAH, WOOFAH," but Beau's Dad hears "FODA, FODA, FODA," the portuguese word for FUCK.

What I did witness was Beau taking care of their 6-month-old daughter. While the baby lay on a colorful, cotton quilt, Beau obediently sat by her side. When the baby's squirms caused the blanket to fold, Beau quickly used his paws to flatten it out.

I watched in amazement as Beau did this time and time again.

"That is his job," insisted Beau's Dad, "He loves taking care of the baby."

But what was most remarkable about Beau and his owners is that, despite a history of being aggressive, they adopted him at the age of 9. Shortly there after he bit his owners, numerous times, and their vet insisted they put him down.

"We refused," said Beau's dad. "We just kept showing him love and look at him now."

Clearly they had not only saved Beau's life but they transformed him into a peaceful, proud, happy, little fellow.

I feel that, in many ways, my dogs have transformed me.

Some taught me loyalty. Beginning with Bosco, a pitbull with a heart of gold that we rescued back when I was pregnant with my daughter and then Bogie, a stoic pug with a blind eye.

Bogie's son Brutus, who was nothing but trouble (beware of what you name your dogs), taught me patience.

As did Mylo, an unruley rat terrier discovered roaming wild on a Georgia highway.

Miss Lucy and Sasha feed my ongoing need to nurture. They have steered me away from a self centered world and taught me how to focus on goodness. These devoted, constant companions cause me to rise each morning with a smile. Together we step outside with a sense of wonderment - walk into our day with joy in our hearts.

xo, MonkeyME


  1. If we could all the world through the eyes of dog. What a beautiful, faithful, loving world this would be! xoxo Miss Claudia

    1. and I have YOU to thank for bringing Miss Lucy and I together! xoxo

  2. Really enjoyed reading this. Of course, I love dogs as well.

    1. Thank you! Yes, they bring us so much joy.

  3. People are funny about their dogs, no doubt about that. As a cat person, I know that cat people are NEVER that way. You believe me, don't you?

    1. Phoebe Fong, our tuxedo cat, has nooooooooo idea she's a cat. She rules the neighborhood. Even people who claim not to be cat people are in love with Phoebe - accept for the women who lives in the end unit. Phoebe once snuck into her house and stayed there for over 24 hours. Scared the poor women when she woke up and found Phoebe standing on her bed.

  4. Awwww...the love is wonderful!!!! Talk about nurturing each other right back, that's you and your pups...



    1. and you've seen these pups first hand. yes, they are pure love... xoxoxo

  5. good hit on a subject that I can relate to. I am a dog owner and have been all my life. Even in the beginning the family dog was mine. nobody else, not my brothers not my sisters,mine. I can remember my black Lab Jake who I saved at the pound and stayed with me over 15 years. Important years and this was my best friend through all of it. So crushed when he died that I took a 6 month break from having a dog. At the end of that 6mo I got another dog I suddenly realized the depression I had fallen into. I know I will never be without a dog at my side to the grave.

    1. I feel the same way jaybird! 15 years is a long time! I imagine they'll all be waiting for me when I cross over.

  6. Okay, I'll be honest - I love all this dog talk :) They are such wonderful animals. The only time I reckon I was a huffy owner of my golden retriever was when she was becoming older and people would say, "not long now." I guess dogs become so much of our lives, they kinda become part of our identity. Your dogs are just adorable. Hmmm.... kinda makes me want to go and find a pup to love. ~Catherine

    1. thats a good point Catherine - yes, they do become part of our identity. xoxo

  7. Shannon, you couldn't have ended this with any better words than these: "These devoted, constant companions cause me to rise each morning with a smile. Together we step outside with a sense of wonderment - walk into our day with joy in our hearts."
    That's exactly how I feel about our beloved Vern! Yes, Vern is our baby, our child, our reason for being...almost!

    Here is one of my favorite blog posts:

    Please read it. I promise you will love it!! Hugs

    1. Thank you for the link Becky! yes, that was a fun read!!! and yes, I know how much you love Vern :) its a beautiful thing

  8. We love our pooches, don't we?

    We are down to one dog. A dachshund named Spot. We have told the kids, due to circumstances and Dad retiring in less than 6 years, she will be our last pet ever.

    After they were finished with their hysterical laughter [always uplifting when it is directed at you by your own children] they wiped their tears and said, in unison "Yeah. RIGHT!"

    I do have to say if that is an actual picture of what that man paid high dollar for in a Golden Retriever? He was R-O-B-B-E-D. Unless of course he puts his *Golden Retreiver's* tail on hot rollers every night. Cute dog, but. . .um, no.

    Your dogs are adorable. And I have to agree Shannon with your final words.

    Spottie does some goofy shiz, but she is my constant companion through all of this, especially when I have to spend hours a day alone, waiting on our family to come back from school and work. She's smart, stubborn, silly and loves us unconditionally. All for a scratch on the belly and a bit of kibble.

    Kind of like her Momma. ::grin::

    Nice post. Thanks for the smiles.

    1. it's that alone time, between us, that is especially kind. Sasha's eyes really get to me. She is so big and sweet and calm. I never feel alone when she is with me. (sasha on bed, right at my feat. lucy under bed, hiding)

  9. What a great post! Brought back lots of great memories :) I've just realized something about dog ownership. For the most part, dogs are happy to be owned, to belong to a pack, to be loved. I have to say, I've had an epiphany here recently...I belonged to our Rottwieler, Roxie. Not that she was a bossy dog or spoiled. (Well, she was a little bossy and spoiled)She's gone now but it took a long time for me to realize why I was so depressed at her passing. It was because I was lost without her...hope that make sense. I've had dogs all my life and watched them come and go(and I remember each and every one)but Roxie, well...yup...I belonged to her. Still miss her terribly but wouldn't trade my time with her for anything :) Love Ya & Hope you're doing well! MB

    1. "I belonged to her" that is soooooo sweet. I wish I wrote that (might have to steel it). thanks for the LOVE and hope! love, love, love, it's what I've got and what I need.

    2. and sending back more love indeed! xoxo

  10. Social psychology is one of my hobbies, and how people are about their dogs is one great tell. If someone needs to correct others' compliments on the hair of their dog, maybe they need some hair of the dog ;-)
    My brother wouldn't let me take his dogs for a walk, because he worried about their paws. When I finally convinced him that they would live longer with some exercise, I took them out. When I got back, one had a lightly bleeding paw, because it was weak from non-use. That was his proof that they should not go on walks.
    Now he has a spoiled son.
    I love your blog :-)

  11. Our dogs have such a great life, and that's as it should be. I count myself among the "keepers of the animals" here on Earth and they in turn give so much back to me. The dog I still carry deep inside my heart is my Sophie who was with me for 11 years. It's never long enough.
    I love that you shared all theses photos and told a little about your doggies. It's a fun read :-)



Thank you for encouraging my JOY of writing. By reading and commenting you are feeding my soul, stroking my heart, and in the end...making me a better writer.

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Thank You For Encouraging My Joy of Writing

Shannon E. Kennedy


Photo by Joan Harrison