Happy Belated Dog Day!

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In honor of National Dog Day, I have to recognize how amazing our furry friends are! So many proud pet owners posted their favorite furry babies on Facebook and now it’s time for my goofy dogs to get a little spotlight!

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Oh, my ‘special’ dogs……Rocco and Daisy bark at anything that walks by (the neighbors must love that!), Rocco sheds massive amounts of hair and has allergies, and Daisy has peed and puked on our carpet too many times to count. I’ve throw away many rugs, the first time when 5 week old Rocco pooped out worms on them! (horrible flashbacks from that one!). When Daisy was a puppy, she used to pee every time she got excited, so basically every day and every time Bo walked in the room. Rocco is too large for me to walk and control him. And, every time it rains, their paws and our house are a wreck. The backyard is filled with dog poop, the grass is destroyed and this was the first summer I could put flowers in planters without the being destroyed! So, with all of these inconveniences, why are dogs all that great!?

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Honestly, unlike Bo, I have been fickle with them and truly wanted to find them both a new home at one point or another! If it hadn’t been for Bo, I would have happily found Rocco a farm at 6 months! He was wild until 1 1/2. If you are only a dog-mother, I’m sorry that this changes your opinion of me; I know you must be appalled! If you are also a human-mother, then you know dogs can be a lot of extra work and money when there’s so much to handle in life already. But lucky for Bo and the rest of us, they’ve calmed down and have an amazing life.

Many days, Anna or Brody have commented how they’d want to stay home like Rocco and Daisy. While we’re rushing around getting ready for school where they spend much of their day sitting and concentrating, our dogs are either napping on our couches (I think they really love rainy days) or barking at walkers and bunnies in the sun. I have to agree, they have it pretty good….lucky dogs!

My children love them to death! And, the love is reciprocated. When Anna was ill the summer before kindergarten, wouldn’t eat anything solid, lost 10% of her body weight, and was diagnosed with food allergies to everything, Rocco would sleep at the foot of her bed every night. Rocco, I hate to admit, is much smarter than our designer breed Goldendoodle! He’s also fiercely protected us two different times when shady men came to the house and weren’t supposed to be in Rocco’s territory! If he doesn’t like you and sensing something is not right, watch out.

And, Daisy is the polar opposite. She timid, so submissive, super sweet, and just wants to be loved on. This unlikely pair are totally best friends and have been since the day we brought her home!

What I’ve grown to love and realize about my dogs is they’ re imperfect and so are we. But, they don’t judge, criticize or really care about superficial things. Feed them, love them, and let them sleep and they’re happy! They really have so much in common with kids if you think about it. That’s why I love them both and you can’t stay mad at them. Think about the similarities.

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Dogs are so loyal, very much like kids. They live for pleasing you and spending time with you, just like any young soul. They don’t think before acting, just like kids, and many times punishment doesn’t work long-term! Luckily, if you’re grouchy and punish them, they’ll forgive. They’ll love you unconditionally, much like children. And, they grow up so quickly!

When we found Rocco on the side of the highway in Scott County (and weren’t looking for another dog), he was 4 pounds, a tiny, fluffy, adorable fluff ball. He was irresistible, really! And, now look at the 130-pound who is so protective of this family! Have you ever recognized the one universal button-pusher for children? Say something about their mama (or dad) and it’s instant anger. Children will defend and protect their parent’s honor no matter what. Dogs too.

We have to love these smelly, goofy, messy, loving mutts. They enrich our lives and only add to our crazy memories. Kids, hairy or not, hyper, impulsive, and loving. We love you kids!

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Lessons from an Eight Year Old: The Golden Rule for Dogs

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We are in that stage of our family’s life where my son wants to be like his dad, and my daughter wants to be just like me. Dad likes football, so does Brody. Mom likes Starbucks, so does Anna. Dad loves dogs, so does Brody. Mom doesn’t like one of our dogs, neither does Anna. It’s not that I don’t like him but he truly does get on my nerves. It’s not cool to admit to having a favorite child. However, I feel no guilt in admitting I totally have favorite dog.

While Daisy is a sweet, submissive Goldendoodle, Rocco is a 130 pound stubborn, yet handsome, mutt. Daisy is everything I love in a dog, so cute, sweet, and manageable. Rocco barks, really loudly, scares away small children, sheds, and worst of all, gets on my couches over and over again. This is why I am currently in a phase of anti-Rocco, and pro-Daisy, just as Anna is!

Now, as I have mentioned before, children notice everything. It’s not that I beat Rocco, like I used to. I rarely ever spank him, anymore. However, the tone of my voice and body language says it all. So, while driving today, my daughter tells Brody that she doesn’t like Rocco. Hmmm, wonder where she got that! Brody, acting so much like his dad, takes that personally. He’s part of our family. He scolds Anna for being so mean, and I admit I don’t like Rocco very  much right now either. I love him but his habits of gnawing, slurping, barking, and worst of all, sleeping on the couches when I’m not looking is SO annoying to me. I know it sounds silly but I let most things go. I can overlook a lot of habits from my children that my husband cannot. I don’t feel angry often. But, Rocco does push my buttons. SO, I really don’t feel that bad about my not-liking-him-phase.

Well, I didn’t feel that bad until my eight year old enlightened me. He said to me today, “You know, mom. He’s probably just acting out because you’re being mean to him. (Wonder where he got that, “being mean to him”..hmmm!?) He continued by explaining that “he’s acting out because you are rude to him”! He has been getting on the couch a lot lately, and he goes through phases with this annoying habit of leaving his trail of hair and dirt behind. It’s been worse lately, though, and he does get a lot less love from me lately, as a result. Brody advised that if I were “nicer and kinder to him, he would start acting better.”

Dang. He might be right! That is the way it works with kids. I work with those ‘annoying’ kids with bad habits, the ones the teachers are happy to get out of their room. These kids are not self-correcting with punishments, reprimands, or threats. What they need is kindness. They need someone to be nice to them, and not make them tuck their tails in.

So, while I haven’t entered back into the pro-Rocco phase, I may need to change my technique. The yelling isn’t working. He knows he’s not supposed to do it. Could he actually be manipulating me into giving him more attention like kids do when they act out? Who knows. He is just a mutt. But, my lesson learned today wasn’t learned from a book, a wise adult, or research. It’s pretty simple, actually. Sometimes your eight year old has a lot to teach you. In life, stop acting rude and try kindness. It can’t hurt.Featured image

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