Throwback Thursday: Once I Loved a Duke

My love of dogs feels lifelong.

In my lifetime, my family had a Border Collie who I don’t personally remember, but have seen pictures of, named Hook (like the movie). He herded us a bit too much for our young ages (apparently we cried at the nipped heels) so they found another home for him. The next pup we had been a white German Sheppard named Coach (Craig T. Nelson‘s greatest character). I remember bits and pieces, but my main man growing up was my pal Duke.

Duke was a beautiful two-year-old Flat-Coated Retriever (we think) who we adopted from The Animal Guardian Society (TAGS). The organization really wants to make sure that the family and the dog are a good match and within the process there is a two-week

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Duke and I through the years. The bottom photo was taken a couple months before he was put down.

period where the dog can stay at the house. Duke had been living in a small apartment and was kept in a crate for long hours so he thought that our wide backyard was paradise. He ran and ran, I sat on top of out patio table to avoid his speedy laps. When he settled in and I began to fall in love with him our epic friendship began!

I loved him and he loved me. I hugged, kissed, and shared secrets with him. I was also a very sick kid with a lot of physical health problems, he was my cuddle buddy. My mom remembers me falling asleep on him and he’d notice and rest himself to not disturb me. He was far from perfect in his rescue-monkey ways (some bad habits that never really went away), he was some sort of stomach-of-steel-dog who ate crazy things!

Firstly, he loved drinking mom’s cold coffee left in mugs on livingroom tables. Then we get into the stuff that he ate that he was definitely not supposed to: batteries; candles; garbage. One time he got into my brother’s Halloween candy and ate only the red suckers, somehow leaving the sticks and wrappers for us to clean up later.

He was trouble, but he was mostly a happy boy who we all loved so entirely. He put him down when his body began to fail from a type of cancer when I was 13 and I remember missing him so much for so long. I didn’t think that I’d love another dog again, but we all know that didn’t come true.


Thanks for reading this week’s Behind the Throw Back Thursday! What was you first true-dog-love?

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A Photo Essay: Walking in Oshawa’s Winter Wonderland

collage-1I present you with a brief photo essay:

We love living near the dog park, but we never appreciate it as much as we do after a fresh snowfall. The Oshawa Harmony Valley Dog Park looks surreally beautiful when the trees are dusted with powder and the fields are blanketed in white sheets. I asked Chris to bring his camera for our walk on what was a truly beautiful day.

Summit, our approximately two-year-old Saint Berdoodle, loves running around in the off-leash zones at the park. She’s the first non-black dog that I’ve ever owned and I still haven’t gotten used to having a dog that doesn’t appear to suffer from severe dandruff during snowy days. Her smiles are just as big as my past dog’s though, and I enjoy watching her bounce around in a deer-like manor.

Chris and I put on our big winter boots and almost over dressed as the temperature was surprisingly warm for a snowy day. We trudged along the paths and took a lesser known route by one of the streams. We carefully crossed the ankle-deep water by stepping on dscf9234snow covered rocks (luckily, we didn’t fall in [our mothers would have told us not to do it, but like most adults we make stupid decisions sometimes]). Summit bounded across the newly frozen ice and her back legs broke through a thin patch. She quickly made it to the ‘safety’ of the nearby ground after getting some ice-cold motivation!

Before walking to the open field where Summit likes to play, we stopped to take photos with her by our favourite bridge. The entire walk, including twenty minutes of playtime, lasted for forty minutes and I could feel tiny drops of sweat beneath my scarf. We came home with rosy cheeks, runny noses, and new winter memories.

 

Check out our photos here:

Summit’s Safe Place: One Month Adopted Home Update

Yesterday, Monday December 5th, marked my one month anniversary with our newly adopted dog Summit (See her Instagram account @Summit.the.sweetheart).

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Summit and I on our 2nd day together.

In a previous blog post, I explained the process of grieving my late dog Daq and finding Summit online. To summarize, Summit is a 2-year-old St. Berdoodle (Saint Bernard/Poodle) who was rescued when she was pregnant with 11 puppies. Her rescuers in the US sent her to foster parents who ran a Portuguese Water Dog breeding business and were familiar with handling the impending puppy situation properly. After finding homes for the puppies, the breeder then set out to find a home for mommy-Summit. When I saw her photo online, I had a weird feeling that told me she was right for us and I expressed this in an email.

Like all rescues, Summit has a colourful past that contributes to present issues, but she is the biggest sweetheart. It is believed that she was abused because of her fear of meeting new people. She loves playing with other dogs and has zero anxiety about her furry friends (even when they are strangers).

Summit has come such a long way in a very short time.

photo-2016-12-05-9-54-27-amWhen I first brought Summit home, I was excited, but it was hard because she didn’t trust me enough to let me hug her and cuddle her the way that you want to when you get a new fur-baby. The sweet girl had never gone up and down stairs before so she was limited to staying on the main floor. I decided that I would sleep on the couch that night so that she wouldn’t be alone – I think this really helped our initial bonding.

She seemed to be picking things up really quickly! On the second or third day, she was learning what her dog bed was and even showed interest in wanting to go upstairs with me. One day when I was about to jump in the shower, I saw her little head poke up from the landing! She had come that far, but then immediately forgot how she had gotten up there and couldn’t figure out the rest of the steps (she had this thing where she didn’t understand that she needed to move her back legs). I paused what I was doing and helped show her how to climb up the stairs on four legs (I had been doing this for days like a little animal). I was an extremely proud mama when she made it all the way up and discovered more of the house.

Summit had not only never used stairs at the age of 2, but she had also never seen a TV, nor did she know basic commands like sit, lay down, stay, etc. She was housebroken, but

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Summit watching an animal documentary.

with moving to a new environment she did leave me a couple stinky presents in the house early on. By the end of the first week she had conquered the stairs, was cool with the weird moving pictures in the living room, and had even officially mastered the art of sitting on command!

Week two included visits from more family and friends (lots of practice at meeting new people), but Summit especially loves playing with her friend/my mom’s dog Agent Deeks. These two are so infatuated, they love playing, cuddling, nuzzling, grooming, humping (we continually break them up) – they just can’t get enough of each other. After a week and a half of bonding time, it was hard to let go of my control, but I let her off leash on a woods-walk with mom and Deeks.

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Summit and Agent Deeks.

With her friend at her side it was more likely that she’d stick with him, she did such a good job and had so much fun! By the end of that week she had learned the lay down command and was growing even closer to me.

Week three was fun because Summit and I went on a road trip to see my sister who lives four hours away. My sister has a Bernese Mountain Dog named Dude (brother to Deeks), a German Sheperd named Sidney Prescott, and two cats named Rafi and Taco. Summit was fast friends with her cousins, especially Sidney who seemed to be ecstatic to have a girlfriend since she was always surrounded by males. The dogs had a ton of fun and I can’t wait to see them reunite for the holiday season.

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Summit and her cousins Dude and Sidney.

This last week has been nice, Summit seems completely at home now.

  • photo-2016-11-21-3-00-10-pmShe loves:
  • Looking through the front window
  • Standing on the backyard deck to guard her kingdom
  • Napping on her bed all day
  • Going for walks to Poke-stops
  • Playing with her dollies
  • My made-up songs and dances in the kitchen
  • Cuddling with me in bed
  • Playing with other doggos

This month of so many firsts has been hard work that has already proven to be well worth it and I can’t wait to share more of these experiences with her fur-daddy. Chris has been away for five weeks and is coming home in a couple days – he will finally get to meet the fur-baby that he has grown to love through the constant receival of unfiltered photos and videos each day. I can’t imagine how excited he must be.

We are so lucky that we found a new dog to share our love with and to spoil this Christmas. She still has a lot to learn and so do we as new puppy-parents. She is two, but has so many firsts that dogs her age would normally have already experienced that we are going through puppy stages and also getting used to such a playful girl compared to our gorgeous old 12-year-old labradoodle (we still think about her every day).

Dogs, like people, aren’t perfect and it is often the imperfections that we grow to love most. Do you have a rescue dog and have some helpful anecdotes to share? Let me know and give them a kiss for me!

More Pictures from this past month:

Rehoming a Rescue: Ready to Love Again

It has been approximately 40 days since Daq was put to sleep and I think about her daily, but it’s getting easier.

People said different things to me after I lost my dog, but the two most common pieces of advice were “never get another dog again” and “how long do you think you’ll wait until you get another dog?”

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Our late dog Daq, Chris, and myself after my university graduation.

Mourning the death of a pet is a unique journey and everyone has different ways of dealing with it. I knew that I wanted another dog again someday, I just didn’t know when that would be. The pain of the loss is hard, but it doesn’t outweigh the amount of love that you get during their short time with you. The question of when I would be ready to love another dog was something that I struggled with answering – it’s a personal choice that is unique to each person.

As Daq was getting older, Chris and I occasionally discussed when we might get another dog in the future. We had thought that we should wait a few years at least to have some ‘freedom’ in terms of travelling and going away for weekends. As the months got closer to Daq’s passing, Chris admitted that he never knew just how much he could love a dog before having Daq and how much he knew he would now miss it – he thought that we should get a dog sooner than we planned. I was shocked, but loved that he had truly become a dog person (the all-time sexiest trait).

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After losing Daq, Chris and I had an important conversation. He told me that he had spoken with someone at work about losing their dog and about how they had gotten another dog within a few months of the passing so that the family felt protected and helped bring the joy back into the house. I cried. His intentions were so sweet and we both have so much love to give to a dog. I agreed that getting one within the year would be great, but that I likely wouldn’t be ready until after Christmas.

Since then, we have started putting adoption application profiles into some dog rescue services. We started doing so because we know that sometimes it can take months or even years for the right dog for a family to come around and when one does, you need to act fast.

We’ve been watching rescue websites on a consistent basis and I just recently felt a special connection when coming across a two-year-old girl. The difficult thing is that we may or may not even get to meet her, we just need to be hopeful and patient.

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Everyone knows that I was obsessed with my best friend Daq and anyone who has had multiple dogs in their life knows that giving love to another dog doesn’t take away the love that you had for your previous fur babies.

Daq was incredibly special to me and I plan on trying my best not to compare whichever new dog we get to her because she’d be a lot to live up to. Each dog is innocent and unique, they don’t replace each other, your love for each dog is found within separate relationships.

I’m happy to say that somehow, I am ready to welcome another dog into our life already. That first night that Chris and I talked about rehoming a dog in the next year, I cried for another happy reason: since we weren’t looking into getting a puppy, that meant that our future little babe was already alive somewhere… being a cute lil’ doggo.


Update already?!

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I wrote this blog this past Sunday November 6th, 2016 and by the end of the day it had officially been arranged that I would meet the two-year-old dog I had aforementioned. Since then, I met this beautiful girl and brought her home! Can you believe it?

 

Chris and I are so elated to have Summit in our family. We had originally thought that we would want to rename any dog that we got, but we ended up liking her name. She is a Saint Berdoodle, a Saint Bernard/Standard Poodle mix, who was rescued from one of the Carolinas in the United States (I can’t remember if her foster mom said it was North or South). Her foster parents shaved her coat due to the negligence/lack of proper maintenance and it is growing back slowly to be nice and curly. She also gave birth to a large litter of eleven puppies this past August 18th (just five days after Chris and I married) and is truly a sweet girl (See a video of her below).

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She is timid when meeting new people due to her past abusive home, but loves meeting new dogs and is learning to build trust with our less hairy species. She just needs a home with a lot of love and some patience too. Even though she is two, her past owners didn’t teach her simple commands like sit, lay down, come, stay, and she even doesn’t know how to use staircases.

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I was grateful that my mom had come to see the dog with me and be my navigation pilot (yikes, right? Haha). We brought her home and she was so good in the back of our car for the two-hour drive. Last night had to be hard for her, but she exceeded my expectations with how well she handled the transition. She ate a full dinner and sniffed almost constantly. I slept on the couch so that she wouldn’t be alone on her first night (she was too nervous to try climbing the stairs to the bedroom) and we really bonded!

I can feel her trusting me more already and I swear I’m in love – I fall fast.

I am a proud fur mommy right now and taking photos of everything that she does, Chris Facetimed with us last night and is so excited to come home to us! I will share many more memories with you in the future, but for now I’m going to go pet my babe.

To Summit Up For You: Fun Furry Facts:

-Summit already has her own Instagram account under the name @summit.the.sweetheart
-She is ¾ Poodle and ¼ Saint Bernard which has resulted in her being non-shedding
-She has the longest doggy eyelashes I’ve ever seen
-We’re not sure if Summit has seen a TV before! She looks at it funny and was kind of scared at first
-She loves her new backyard
-She loves carrying her poop-emoticon-doll around the house
-Summit is already trotting and wagging her tail in happy spirits!
-We are so glad that we found each other and can’t wait to dance in the kitchen with Chris