“W.H.O. let the dogs out???”

I was so happy this week that the CDC (and W.H.O.) confirmed that dogs cannot get this stupid virus and so we do not have to quarantine them; we do not have to hide them. Because, we have a dog. Well, we actually have two of them. One is 13 years old and is a Springer Spaniel. Her name is Poca. The photo above is of our one-year-old Standard Poodle puppy who is named Kolbe. Kolbe is a large dog. Our Springer can quite literally walk underneath him. He is over 70 pounds and the vet says he is not done growing, yet.

I grew up surrounded by pets. We had goldfish; a series of parakeets and canaries; and my brother and I had large mice we actually were stupid enough to breed. Oh my goodness. The summer of the mice litters. We had over 600 mice in a large cage I built with our neighbor. There were two sections and each section had approximately 300 mice. I tried to sex them to void more liters, but I would often find a litter of babies every week or two. Sigh. It was a lot of work. I used to sell them to pet stores. I thought they were for pets, but discovered they were for snake food. I was not happy. I was about 9 or 10 at the time, I think. I sold them all and gave our original two mice to our neighbor’s son. I was done raising snake food. We also had this amazing dog named Sinbad. He was a Great Dane. He was big. I mean ridiculously large. One night, he jumped onto my bed in the middle of the night (my bed was on hardwood floors) and was made of wood. And it broke. With a loud crash. (Because I was naughty and was always sneaking him into bed with me. I think later on my parents told me they knew all about it, but I am not sure. I know I felt like I was getting away with it!). My parents came running in not knowing what had happened. I was in trouble. Poor Sinbad was just confused and sleepy. They got me situated on the floor with my mattress and as soon as I could, I let Sinbad back in my room and we cuddled all night. I loved having a big dog. I felt safe around him and I loved that he came up past my waist. The mailman and gardener were both afraid of him. We had to put this gate up at the end of the driveway to keep him in the yard. It was placed just behind the mail slot in the side of the house. Our mail would be dropped in there and it would end up in a basket in our kitchen nook. It was funny because Sinbad was so tall he could just stand there and lean his head over the gate. The mailman was not amused and would often leave our mail on the front doorstep, instead of getting too close by the mail slot. LOL. Sinbad was a show dog and breeding stock, and would often be away from us for shows or breeding. The training was intense. In his first show as a puppy, he tried to shake hands with the judge. Huge no-no, but he got a ribbon for best personality. The trainer took over after that and I was not allowed to teach any more tricks. LOL. One day my dad informed us that Sinbad was going to travel the AKC show circuit and would not live with us anymore. I think he was tired of the big piles of poop (my brother and I used to fight over who held the poop sack and who used the shovel. Think about it!) and how much work a large dog, and show dog, was. He never admitted it, but I think he got rid of Sinbad on purpose. Our next dog, we had until we were adults, when he died at 14 years old. His name was BB, or “Brown Boots.” During the 1968 flu pandemic, my parents both got the flu. I don’t fully recall, but I believe schools were closed. I know we did not have Christmas because my brother and I were shipped off to my grandparent’s house. When we came home, this adorable puppy was waiting for us. I got a radio and my brother got the dog – and he named it. He was all black with 4 brown feet and white eyebrows, so BB it was! He was some sort of mixed breed-Spaniel who slept at the foot of my brother’s bed, and who followed my mom everywhere. LOL. We taught him all sorts of tricks. He was such a great dog for our family at the time. But I missed having a big dog!

My grandchildren were over the other day and my granddaughter, who is 6 years old (going on 30) decided she should work with Kolbe. He was thrilled to have an energetic playmate for a change. And the moments they shared were priceless. Here are a couple of them:

They were just so cute together. They ran around and played. She worked on him sitting for her. She played catch with his favorite tennis ball. He followed her everywhere. She is used to big dogs because they have a South African Boerboel, or Mastiff. Her name is Ruby and I absolutely adore that dog. She is gorgeous (and 135 pounds or so) and has the most wonderful personality. She is my grand-dog! And she is great with the kids. And so my granddaughter has no fear giving cuddles or getting Kolbe to obey her commands. And it reminded me so much of myself with our dog, Sinbad, when I was a little girl. It was one of those precious moments you will always remember.

We struggled about choosing to get another dog, since our Poca is 13 years old. We were not sure if we wanted an empty nest or not. And we also struggled with what type or breed did we want. And I can honestly say, the fact Kolbe does not shed and he does not smell, even when wet and muddy, like a stinky wet dog, went a long way with me! I am over shedding and smelly dogs (Springers love the water but boy do they stink when they are wet. And then there is the whole ear infection thing, too). People question why when they meet Kolbe. He is a lot of dog. But most people are thrilled to meet him and interact with him once they realize he’s just a big puppy. Quite a few people will think he is some sort of combo dog like a “labradoodle,” or “golden-doodle,” because Standard Poodles are not a dog you see often. But once we explain what he is, most people are excited to meet a Standard, rather than a mini-poodle, for a change. And we are so happy we have this dog in our lives. When he is chewing up slippers, or eating a coaster (he loves my coasters) we may momentarily question our choice of dog, but when he cuddles up on your feet, or jumps on your lap (but only with his front legs – he’s too big to get on my lap now and he knows it) to cuddle closer, we know it was the right choice.

They get along pretty well, even though Kolbe tries to be the boss! Poca runs the show, at 13, and she gives him the what-for! She will walk around barking at him, and he is running all around the tables and couch, while she just goes slow. She is no dummy – he’s doing all the work when they play! I had put her up on our bed one day, because she is too old and infirm to get up there herself, and Kolbe messed up the pillows, and rolled around  and then had to get right next to her. I will treasure this photo forever, I think. The two of them, being buddies. (He was not even a year old in this photo, and is much, much larger now).

Another blessing of a big dog? His bark. In these crazy times, and with a husband who normally travels a lot for work, having a dog around with a hefty bark keeps people away and I like that. I don’t like it when he barks at me to get up, but I like him barking to let me know someone is around.

I know this is totally not my usual sort of post, but I was feeling all happy about my 4-legged buddies today. We have had fun. Played catch, cuddled, chased bones. So I thought I would share. I hope it lightens things up just a bit for you and takes your mind away from you-know-what. Blessings from me and Kolbe and Poca.




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