Sunday, May 2, 2010
The Love of Pets
This is Zoe. She's part Lab and part ???
Growing up, my family had a mixed black poodle named Sammy. I would have loved to known what she was mixed with since she never acted like a true poodle. She was extremely smart and a great family pet. When she died at 12, I never thought another dog could replace her.
Imagine my surprise when my future DH surprised me on my 21st birthday. He had wrapped up a chocolate lab pup in one of his flannel shirts. Her big, floppy ears and big feet were so adorable on her small frame. We named her Cassius. My entire family has a habit of giving male names to female dogs!
I have never seen such an intelligent dog. She could throw away garbage into the garbage can, fetch shoes (believe it or not, matching shoes), bring her bowl to you at feeding time, fetch the Kleenex box without tearing it or pulling them out and all you had to say was, "Could you do me a favor?" She would jump down on her front paws and slightly lower her head which was her way of saying, "I'm waiting! What do you want me to do?" She was amazing.
We had 14 wonderful years with her. When she died, my DH and I vowed never to get another dog. What we did not realize was how that decision impacted our kids. They begged for a pet--relentlessly. We discussed it some more and realized it was unfair to the kids since we were both raised with dogs in the family. Besides, it was important they learned responsibility and the love of caring for a pet.
With all of the abused and abandoned animals out there, we decided to go to a local animal shelter. Since we had such a good experience with Cassius, I was hell-bent on getting another lab. When we arrived at the shelter, we found a black lab. When we pulled her out, she was buck-wild, jumping and pouncing on the kids. We tried several other mixed breeds and this was not going to work. The dogs were not good with the kids.
The kids were extremely disappointed and just as we were walking out the door; we saw Zoe and my daughter fell in love. We pulled her out and she was a very calm dog and did great with the kids. One of the workers told us that she was just dumped on their doorstep the previous night. This was her. This was the one.
When we brought her home, we could not believe how she barely had accidents in the house. She did all of her business outside. Could it be? Could we have another Cassius on our hands? Zoe was a great fit.
We made her vet appointment. When the vet came into the room, he asked how she was doing. I told him we were blessed with another smart dog. She is only 8 weeks old and already going outside.
Upon examination, he started to laugh. "How old did the shelter tell you she was?"
"6 weeks when we took her home."
He concentrated on her teeth and laughed. "This dog is not 6 weeks. Try about 5 months."
Apparently, Zoe was about full-grown at the time. To this day, she still looks like a yellow Lab pup. It didn't matter to us. Zoe was home. She was welcomed into the family the only way my kids new how to welcome her...
What about you? Do you have any pets that are special in your life?