Why Did You Pick Your Dog?

Some people only ever have small dogs. Others love big ones.

I’ve met people who only ever have one breed of dog. And others who look like their dog family is made up of whoever walked in their door.

Why did you pick your dog?

Why did you pick your dog?

Dog With A Purpose

Apparently I’m a member of a club. A golden retriever club.

People come up to me and Honey and nod knowingly. I have a golden retriever. So why would I have any other dog ever again?

But I’m not a golden retriever lunatic.

Honey the golden retriever at Hancock Harbor Marina.

She’s the prettiest dock dog I’ve ever seen.

Don’t misunderstand me.

I love Honey with all my heart. She’s the perfect dog for me. And goldens as a breed are sweet and lovable.

But Honey came to live with me for a purpose.

When we knew that our previous dog, Shadow, would not be with us much longer thanks to a horrible cancer in her jaw I got an idea.

What if I adopted a dog who could help me volunteer with other dogs? Perhaps raising puppies for a service organization or fostering for a local shelter?

My dog would alway be there when I said good-bye to the dogs living with us temporarily. So it wouldn’t be as sad to see them go.

But Shadow, and my first two dogs, Agatha and Christie, were strongly dog reactive. None of the dogs I’ve lived with up to that time would have tolerated having strange dogs in the house.

Agatha and Christie, litter mates, pose for the camera.

Agatha and Christie could barely live with each other. If I had brought other dogs into the house, it would have been a horror movie.

I decided to start with a puppy myself so I could raise my next dog to be comfortable with lots of people, strange situations, and other dogs.

And I decided to stack the decks even more by adopting a pure bred dog from a responsible breeder who could tell me about the temperament of a puppy’s parents.

After thinking about all different breeds known for being friendly and easy-going, I finally decided on a golden retriever.

Raising Honey from a puppy taught me that I didn’t want to become a serial puppy raiser. I guess puppy breath doesn’t work on me. Puppies are nuisances.

Honey the golden retriever was a cute puppy.

I was the best puppy ever. When I wasn’t biting you and making you cry.

So I signed up to foster dogs from the local SPCA. And most of the dogs we fostered were puppies.

I guess you can’t escape destiny. And neither did Honey.

She was an amazing foster sister to a string of puppies and dogs. She was tolerant. She knew when to play and when to hold back. And she taught an extremely fearful foster dog to come out of her shell.

Cherie the hound mix in a crate

Cherie was extremely fearful. But Honey helped her feel safe.

I’m happy I picked my golden retriever. I love her to pieces.

But do you want to know what type of dog really turns my head?

Dogs Too Sexy For Their Fur

My first childhood dog came straight out of a Jack London novel.

He was a fierce predator. He would have thrived living on his own. He didn’t need no stinking kibble.

I remember my grandfather calling my dog’s father a wolf. I don’t know if he spoke literally or figuratively.

But from my memories of that dog, he could have easily been a wolf/German Shepherd hybrid.

Maybe it was those early memories of a dog I loved so deeply that even today I shed tears thinking of him. But a wolf-like dog will always turn my head.

I admire, love, and adore huskies, Alaskan malamutes, German shepherds, and mixed wolfy dogs of all sorts. Their strength, power, and intelligence amaze me.

And yet, I haven’t had a large dog like that since I was a child.

I love them. But I know better than to think I can provide a good home for one the way I choose to live my life. (Can you imagine a wolf dog being happy living on a boat in the tropics?)

A Dog Who Fits Our Lives

If I suddenly became practical, what kind of dog is the perfect fit for my current life?

Honey the golden retriever in the wind on the sailboat.

Aren’t I the perfect dog? Look how beautiful I look with my fur blowing in the wind?

Well, one that weighs less than twenty pounds, likes the water, and doesn’t shed would be a good start.

And yet I love medium and large-sized dogs.

I hate having dog hair everywhere I looked. But I can’t resist a dog with a soft coat.

I know I’m not the only one who falls in love with a certain type of dog even if it makes other things in life more difficult.

Honey the golden retriever in the cock pit.

You put my bed in the cock pit so I’d stop sleeping on the charts. I don’t know why you find that so difficult.

But dogs with particular temperaments, size, fur type, activity level, whatever, just capture our hearts and don’t let us go.

Why Did You Pick Your Dogs?

I’m intensely nosy curious about people and their dogs.

Why did that young guy end up with a chihuahua? Why do some people adopt dogs of the same breed over and over?

Is that person walking four dogs of varying sizes and types a professional? Or did she simply take in and fall in love with every dog who needed her?

So please indulge me. And tell me, why do you love the dogs you love?

Was it because you wanted to do an activity like agility or fostering? Do you love dogs with a certain look or personality? Do you love every dog and when one comes into your life you simply love the one you’re with? Are your dogs foster failures?

Or do you have some crazy story about how a dog came into your life that you just couldn’t say no to?

Here’s your chance. Tell everyone why you love the dogs you do. And if you’re on Facebook, share a picture in the comments for this post.

Make a nosy curious girl happy and tell me why you picked your dogs.

Your Turn: This is a judgment free zone. No one will laugh at you if you say you got your dog because you loved his fuzzy butt.

Okay, we will laugh. But we won’t love you any less. 

 

 

 

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. Labs steal my heart…their adaptability, joie de vivre, their beauty, outdoorsy nature, etc. Altho, Tino wasn’t a Lab, just a dog in need. Seniors are also my leaning now – and Lab seniors? The perfect combination.

    • Before I started researching breeds before adopting Honey, I thought labs and goldens were basically the same dog with a different hairstyle–outdoorsy, friendly, athletic. But my experience fostering some labs and getting to know more goldens tells me they really have a different energy.

      Joie de vivre is a great term to associate with a lab. I’d also say they have an exuberance that you don’t find in every dog.

      And if you remember the pictures from when we fostered Mr. Handsome, you’ll know that Honey loves labs too. :)

  2. I’m like you, I totally love Huskies, Akitas, German Shepherds…but also Australian Shepherds, Samoyeds…the list goes on and on. I’m a sucker for big fluff balls & thankfully get my fix while I’m dog walking/pet sitting!!!

    And yet my own two pups are Boxer/Chow-Chow mixes (except that they’re not fluffy at all, but we had a DNA test done to find that out). A friend had rescued a pregnant Boxer, Jolene, and then needed to find homes for her 9 puppies – two of them were Missy & Buzz and have lived with us since they were 8 weeks old. They are now a little over 4 years!

    • Isn’t it amazing how deeply we can fall in love with dogs that aren’t anything like the ones we think we should love?

      I didn’t remember that Missy and Buzz were litter mates. That’s fabulous.

  3. OK, I’m in that golden retriever club. When I was a baby, the family already had a dog of the spitz type mixed with something. Medium sized, long-haired, pointy eared, white with two brown spots (Deuce was her name). And that dog slapped me with her teeth more often than I care to admit. (“Mom, Deuce bit me.” What were you doing to her? “Nothing.” Are you bleeding? “No.” End of conversation. I wanted to do things with her–groom, train, walk her, as I got older. She was less than appreciative.

    Then, two years after she died, just before I went into 8th grade, a family friend gave us a golden retriever puppy. I was in heaven. He loved being walked. He loved being groomed. He loved being trained. He would walk to the neighborhood store with us, carrying his own leash. We never had to worry about his biting neighborhood children. He was perfection in a dog suit, and he even had a sense of humor. (He came when called, unless he was in the garage on the cool concrete, immediately to your right if you bothered to look, about three feet away, with a grin on his face as you looked out into the yard with worry on your face.) He got me through adolescence and into adulthood, and when he died, I was crushed.

    When I had a place of my own, I looked for another golden, and I’ve had two that I bought, one that I got from the pound, two that I got from a golden rescue, and now I have a mother and daughter, both intentionally bred by the same woman, who offered me the chance to co-own the mother in return for one litter that she paid for.
    After I got the two rescues, littermates, my focus changed a bit. I started to foster for breed rescue, and they were so good with other dogs! Jessie would coax the most frightened dog into playing with her, and Duke taught them to fetch. My older girl, Annie, was raised by those two, and she grew up helping us foster. I lost them when she was two, and then two years later, I got to keep one of her puppies, so again, we have two dogs helping fosters learn to live like golden retrievers.
    I love the easy-going temperament, their enjoyment of training, their sensitivity to my mood, and how easy they are to fit into whatever I want to do.

    • You’ve perfectly summed up goldens for me. I sometimes call Honey my Mary Poppins dog because she is “practically perfect in every way.”

      And like Duke and Jesse she was a wonderful foster sister. Maybe since few people use goldens for hunting anymore, their best job is to help other dogs reach their full potential. :)

  4. When we realized the dog we had wouldn’t make it through the next winter, we began thinking about getting a puppy. We were specifically looking for a mixed-breed, a Lab – Bernese Mountain Dog cross. We found one in the Want Ads, went to see him, and left with a 10-week old puppy. That’s our Duster.

    Sometime after taking Duster in, we encountered a Bernese puppy meandering through a pet store. We fell in love, and knew our next dog would be a Berner. Fast forward a couple years, while at the cottage, we’re at a friend”s BBQ. We had been talking about a second dog, but couldn’t settle on what would be the best timing. Our friend’s 20-something daughter had a young Berner who was spending a lot of time alone in her dark garage, due to her busy schedule. She was at the party with the dog. His face won me over and I told her if ever she thought of getting rid of him, to let us know. Her call came the day before we were leaving to go back to the city. After some deliberation, we decided to welcome him into our family, and that is how Zach came to us.

    We’ve realized a few things: we love the big dogs, we’ll always have two, so long as it’s manageable, and we love both the Berners, and the Lab-Berner cross.

    • I’m curious to know what led you to a lab-Bernese cross. It’s not a common cross to my mind–unless perhaps you see them more in Canada?

      • The seeing eye dog foundation in Quebec, Mira, was working with this cross, trying to develop a breed particularly well-suited to the demands of the task. Thus, the Labernois (in French) became very popular in QC. It was usually a cross between a black Lab and a Bernese, but our Duster is a yellow Lab-Bernese cross. When we heard of this crossing, and read up more on both breeds, we thought they would make a good mix. Like most fads, it has since waned, but we really do love the result, at least in our Duster’s case. We knew that a mixed breed is always a bit of a crapshoot, but the odds were in our favour with this particular mix. Duster was a terror as a puppy, but he has grown into a smart, eager to please, calm guy. We lucked out!

        • Interesting. The service dog organizations have looked at interesting crosses to keep the genes strong and to bring in new traits.

          Here in the U.S., some service dog organizations are breeding labs and goldens.

  5. I grew up with herders. First dog ever was a GSD, then a stray GSD came along, then rough collies…..(there were a few other mutts in the mix as well as we lived in the country and people dumped their dogs by us)…..College and a few years after held no dogs for me as it really should. Young adult humans don’t make the best dog owners….then my heart was broken by a relationship break-up….my parents offered to get me a puppy for my birthday to cheer me up . I happened on a Cardigan Corgi puppy in a pet store (pre-internet days, I had no idea pet stores were evil!)…..and the rest was history! I had found my breed for life! Super smart, high energy, funny as all get out, easy to train….Dylan I got to ease the broken heart from the boyfriend, Wilson I got to ease the broken heart from Dylan passing, and Jimmy I got because Wilson had me addicted to agility! While there are a few other breeds I would love to try, I think I will always have a Cardi.

    • I remember seeing my first Cardigan Corgi as a kid. He looked like a GSD crossed with a dachshund to me.

      They are super dogs. I’ve really enjoyed meeting several in the past few years. And nothing makes my heart sing more than seeing Jimmy zooming around an agility course.

      I guess you’ve met your match.

  6. I remember wanting to wait a year or so after my heart-dog Shadow passed. When I started looking, before I saw Blueberry on Petfinder, there was Echo. I instantly fell in love with her. Her profile indicated how sweet and mellow she was and I thought what a great therapy dog she would make. She was an Australian Shepherd mix with the most amazing coloring and amazing eyes. However, I waited too long to inquire of her and by the time I was ready, I learned she had been adopted. I was crushed. Not really believing there was another dog that I would be drawn to on Petfinder, I still continued to peruse the site on an almost daily basis. I knew I wanted a sweet dog that I could potentially turn into a therapy dog and I decided a Cattle Dog mix was again what I wanted. I remember scrolling through the pictures half-heartedly and then, I saw the name Blueberry and then her picture and profile. I knew she was the one. The name Blueberry drew me first because the nickname I had for my dog Shadow was “Booberry”. Have no idea why or how that started, but that’s what I called her. I know it is not really recommended to pick a dog based on their name or coloring or anything shallow like that – but I did and I knew it was right. Blueberry would make a terrible therapy dog – she’s a bit standoffish and would probably knock down sweet old people to get at their snacks – but she’s still perfect for me. And I just love her spots!

    The type of dog that will always cause me to swoon though, is a hound. Especially a Redbone. “Where the Red Fern Grows” was the first movie I ever saw (in an actual theater) and even though I was sitting up close and got a raging headache from being that near to the screen – those dogs had me mesmerized. I love the sound of a hound baying. I love everything about them (except maybe the hound stink) but I would have to live on a lot of acreage or at least not have neighbors so nearby that may not appreciate the beautiful baying. 😉

    Honey’s a great dog – you put a lot of thought into it before getting her and all her training has paid off! Now, if you could only shrink her down to palm-size when you are in the boat and then have her grow again when you are on land!

    • I love your story about finding Blueberry. It’s amazing you didn’t snap her up from the very beginning.

      It’s also fun to see that you had one idea about the kind of dog you wanted just to have everything turned around when Blueberry came into your life.

      Yes, from your description, I don’t see her as a therapy dog. But she sounds like she’s a real ray of sunshine to you. And to all of us who enjoy reading about your life with her.

      I would not have thought a hound would be a good dog for me. But I was fascinated with my hound mix Shadow’s take on the world t through her nose. Hounds are amazing.

      BTW, I just read Jodi Stone mentioning your teaching Blueberry to step on your back. It sounds like a frisbee dog move. Heading over now to read all about it.

  7. I am in that Golden Club too. I grew up always having a Golden in the family, and to me, they are my perfect family dog. My husband convinced me to adopt a Dachshund (as they were his perfect family dog) and at first I wasn’t too thrilled over the idea. Of course now, five years later, I think my little Dachshund (with all of her amazingly quirky personality traits) is an amazing breed and such a lovely little companion. I think I’m just a sucker for long soft coats and floppy ears.

    • And your golden and doxie look so adorable together. It was good your husband is so persuasive.

      And I assume they’re both good with the baby?

  8. Great post! When I went to adopt a dog, I knew I wanted a medium sized short haired dog. I used to be a dog groomer and I didn’t want to have to do a lot of grooming on my own dog. We went to the shelter and saw Zoe and she was perfect. I was also hoping for medium energy and got that, too!

    • What’s really amazing is that you found two dogs that are such a great physical match for each other.

      I’m feeling you on the grooming thing. Honey is my first dog that needs regular grooming. I knew it would be a PITA when I adopted her and it truly is.

  9. Like you, my head will always be turned by a dog who is wolfy or foxy–I love to look at spitzes of all kinds, German shepherds, and Belgians. I love a dog with a lithe build, a floofy tail, and the kind of brilliant intensity that I associate with herding dogs. So, yeah, I have a type, and that type tends to be trouble. 😉

    Nala is absolutely my type–I definitely think she’s a ridiculously gorgeous dog, with her wolfy shepherd face, giant ears, kohl-lined eyes, and sweet, expressive little eyebrows. When we went to adopt her, we were trying to be quite rational about it–we had made lists of qualities we wanted, couldn’t handle, etc., with one of our priorities being a good off switch. But even if Nala hadn’t demonstrated that she had one in those first meeting with her, I might have brought her home anyway because of the perfectly contented way she gazed into my eyes while I petted her, then tried to climb into my lap (all 60 or so lbs of her, and I am a petite lady!)–rational decisions were over, I was in love. Having lived with her, I suddenly understand how people can get attached to a breed–I get all goopy whenever I see a German shepherd now, and I don’t think I ever want to be without one (which kind of sucks, since it’s a complicated breed).

    • GSDs are a complicated breed. That’s well said.

      They’re so smart and devoted to their people. But they have an intensity that not everyone is suited to live with.

      I laughed when you talked about your priority (a good off switch). My priority when I adopted Shadow was a dog who didn’t pull like a fiend. But by the time I took her out for a walk and discovered she put a sled dog to shame, I was already in love. :)

  10. Mom got her first dog from the shelter. She was a 100 lb, black. lab/newf mix and was the only dog who continually stuck her paw out of the cage trying to grab Mom. She got Katie because she wanted a puppy. The shelter in Germany was so awful, she couldn’t get a dog there, so she answered an ad in the paper and came home with Katie. As for me, Mom wanted a second dog again, but it had to match Katie and not be too big or too small. After searching and searching, she saw a GBGV in the fur on the street. She then researched what breed it was she saw and started calling around Europe to find one. She ended up waiting almost 6 months for me, but I’ve been worth every moment of the wait. She loves the Kuvasz and the GBGV, but since she just can’t take the white fur everywhere anymore, Kuvasz is out. One day she would get a GBGV again, but it happened that the litter of 14 was born to a breeder she knows with relatives of mine from the UK, and one day, Mom commented on a post about purple girl puppy and the rest is history, Bailie was purple girl. Now Mom is thinking about some day having another GBGV, but she is not sure she ever wants 3 dogs as it is a lot, but for now we are 3 and are happy.

    • That’s amazing that your mom saw a GBGV in the streets and went from there. I always wonder who people end up with breeds that are not as well known.

  11. From the Husband:
    My favorite dog will always be the one my wife brings home next.

  12. I got Nola when I was in my teens, and worked hard to be the “sole provider” for her. I grew up with Mastiffs, but never had a dog of my own until her. I wanted something small, active, smart, and very handler/owner focused. Nola is everything I could ever ask for and more. She is my perfect dog, and needs to live forever.
    I love dachshunds, but won’t have another. Nola has ruined me for all others, even Olivia.
    Speaking of: I chose Olivia because I’d always been curious about the wires, and had experience in the breed. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you see it), she is Nola’s opposite. Incredibly lazy, overly friendly yet shy, and not a one person dog. She fits well with my “pack” though, as everyone else is active. Sometimes it’s nice to have a lazy dog. :)

    I chose Pike on a whim, to be perfectly honest. A family friend had a litter of mini aussies, and after doing some research on the breed, I decided they were a good fit. I love that he’s active, great with kids, and loves to play disc and ball. I’m not keen on how spooky he is. I can’t see myself getting another.

    Roxie came to me by accident, as a side of the road, heart-strings-tugged rescue. I wanted to help her. I never would’ve chosen a Pit mix, but I adore her. She’s incredibly sweet, stoic, loving, smart, and handler focused. And a great size at around 40lbs, too!

    Future breeds I’m considering include: Jack/Parsons Russell Terrier, working bred Border Collie, Australian Cattle Dog, or some kind of active, mid-sized rescue.

    • It’s interesting that you say Nola has spoiled you for other dachshunds. I suspect Honey might have done the same thing for me with goldens.

      No matter how sweet another dog of the same breed could be, she just wouldn’t be Honey.

      • I’m really glad that we’ve had both Callie and Shadow, with their different personalities. They have both made it easy for me to want another Golden. Callie was my independent, yet sweet and loving girl while Shadow has always been a sweet, loving, Velcro dog. (Even more Velcro-like since Callie’s passing.) I definitely want another Golden at some point. I’d like to have another one now for Shadow to snuggle with; but I just don’t think she could handle Ducky’s “Mine!” attitude again. Ducky has been treating her more like a sister since Callie passed rather than an outsider. I don’t want to screw that up.

  13. I grew up with Border Collies, Australian Shepherds and Shetland Sheepdogs. All herding breeds and ones I realized were not particularly suited to living in town. I grew up on a farm and seeing the dogs working the farm, I understood that a part of them NEEDED that work. Being idle didn’t suit them, and usually resulted in car chasing, which killed far too many of my childhood canine companions.

    After we got married, we lived in an apartment for three years before getting our house. Neither of us had lived without a dog until then for very long. We had to make due with cats, fish and a cockatiel. When we got our house, I knew a dog was in our near future. My husband had always wanted a German Shepherd, but I was leery of having one in the house, and I knew that’s where the dog would be most of the time.

    By chance, we went in Petsmart at the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, getting some treats for the cats. We ran into a Greyhound there representing an adoption group who was doing pictures with Santa. I knew a little bit about them, and learned a bit more. We were both enchanted. It would be a big dog, but not a bull in a china closet. We’d be adopting a dog who needed a home, but getting a purebred. We talked about it all afternoon while we were out shopping, then went by my husband’s office to fill out the online adoption form, since we didn’t have internet at home at the time. I figured it would take forever, since there had to be a line of people waiting to adopt these incredible dogs. When we got a phone call two days later, we were amazed. Several weeks later, after two kennel visits and just after the holidays were over, we brought home Treat, our first Greyhound. She was a perfect first dog to introduce us to the breed and we fell in love. I can’t imagine us ever not having a Greyhound or two in our house.

    Of course, we eventually got a German Shepherd, and Morgan was very sweet when we first brought her home. By the time hubby was starting to get interested in volunteering for search and rescue, we were already seeing the signs that she was not suited for that kind of work. Her mental stability is deteriorating, and there’s nothing we can do about that. I still love her, but know we will always have to be careful with her. But it did lead us to bringing Kuster into the house, and I don’t think anyone could meet him and not want a GSD of their own. His personality is just incredible. I’m not sure that I am as in love with the breed as I am with Greyhounds, but if another one graces our doorstep at some point, I won’t be unhappy.

    And maybe that’s more than you wanted to know about us! lol

    • Treat really did change you for life, didn’t she?

      And you’ve probably gotten lots of other people interested in greyhounds thanks to your wonderful pictures and stories.

      BTW, as you’d guess, I’m a real big Morgan fan too. I know she is a challenge. But you are giving her a good life that many people would not be able to manage for her.

  14. Like you, I adore the spitz breeds. When I was about 8, Dad took my sister and me to a dog show and seeing Siberians in person cemented the attraction I felt from my childhood viewing of “Sgt Preston of the Yukon” and his dog Yukon King. We had occasional dogs when I was a kid – beagles, Irish setters – but as soon as I was in college with my first apartment I got my first Siberian. Then I moved to the NYC area and had a long daily commute. When my Sibes passed I only had cats. Then I started telecommuting and realized I could have a dog again, but my house, my yard, my available time and my personal energy level weren’t up to the needs of a husky anymore. Enter my first Shiba Inu, a big dog in a 20-lb body, everything I adored in my Siberians (brains, stubbornness, independence with love, spitzy beauty) in the perfect size package for my life. I’ve found my breed. I may have shelter dogs in future, whether as the right-fit second dog I’m slowly looking for or as an only, but I don’t think I’ll ever find a better fit for my heart than I have in my Shiba girl. (Who, incidentally, is under orders to live for at least another 20 years, because I can’t picture life without her.)

    • Hey, 20 years might happen. I saw a picture of a dog celebrating her 26th birthday the other day. :)

      And yes, Shiba Inus are amazing. But I think it takes a special person to be their match. I hate to think of people who adopt them for their beauty without knowing what they’re getting into.

  15. I picked my second dog for my first dog so that my first dog ( a goldie mix) would have company when we travelled. My first dog was a people person, very “alpha” so I needed a dog who didn’t mind being subservient. I went to a dog rescue adoption place and there he was. A pathetic bundle of nerves 4mo. mixed border huddled in the corner. My heart said, “that’s him” knowing that other people weren’t interested because of his fearful behavior and shyness, I felt compelled to give him just the loving home he needed.

  16. Gwen, “Lady Guinevere of New London”, yellow lab, chose me, when I looked at the litter she waddled up and placed her head in my lap, it was mutual love and still is. I love everything about labs, and chose a yellow specifically because I can see and remove ticks. I love that she can jump in the water and shake off and be nearly dry, I love that I can walk her off lead most the time, (when safe and legal). I learned that the breed instinct is to go out and circle back to it’s human master, so I encouraged and trained her to do just that, she keeps tabs on me and won’t go off on her own. Lab love :) and she had her 11th birthday yesterday.

    • Oooh, give Gwen a big happy birthday kiss from us.

      Is it okay for me to giggle that you specifically chose a yellow lab to spot ticks? It makes perfect sense. But I don’t think I would have thought it in a million years. :)

      • The wooded yard we have had so many ticks that I had to examine my dog and cat daily for ticks. I quickly found that light colors make it easier, so yellow cat and yellow dog :)

  17. Samantha Wagner says:

    I grew up with a big old chocolate lab named Rocky. He was am amazing dog for my family at the time. When Rocky was middle aged, I decided I wanted something of my own. A gentleman offered me my pointer, Buddy….never again. He had so much energy and there was no way I could provide him with the amount of exercise he needed so he wound up spending the day outside either in a kennel or on a big run line so he could run as much as he wanted while I was working. I vowed to keep him until he passed. He made it easier when we lost Rocky. After we lost Rocky, I started to look at labs in rescues and shelters. I came across a shelter page called Humane Society of NETX hopefuls. I was checking out all the dogs there, and there was the prettiest yellow lab I laid eyes on. She loojed bold, smart, loving, and fun. I insisted I had her. She came from Texas to live with me. I don’t ever regret making that choice over facebook. Since her, I have helped my mom adopt 2 dogs and my sister adopt 1 from that same shelter. They weren’t all labs. All we ask for is a dog that is on the larger side, smart, loving, pretty, obedient, and even tempered. It doesn’t matter what they are as long as they are good dogs!!

    • I love how you said that Buddy helped you deal with Rocky’s loss. That’s definitely the best part about having more than one dog.

      And yes to this: “It doesn’t matter what they are as long as they are good dogs!!”

      Well said. :)

  18. LOVE this post, Pamela! I think I visualized Haley in a way. I wanted a medium-sized dog, I love boxers and labs but didn’t necessarily want a pure breed, I love black dogs. So, I had this mental image of my perfect dog but wasn’t actively looking for one.

    Then one day, out of the blue my son sends home a picture of Haley puppy, who was living close to where he was attending college. I knew instantly that she was THE ONE. I wasn’t even ready for a dog but I knew in my heart and immediately said “Yes” without a moment’s hesitation. I just knew. :)

  19. Most of our dogs have been picked purely accidentally! Our very first dog was picked because we saw a TV commercial from our local shelter. The 2nd was simply because people we knew had a litter of puppies at a time we were ready after losing the 1st. Our first beagle came from family. Our 2nd beagle (Cricket) was the first chosen deliberately after searching for a beagle companion for the 1st beagle. But I wanted another large dog, and when friends were going to have a litter of goldens it was the perfect opportunity (and we ended up with 2 instead of 1). Luke was chosen purely because his birthday was the same as dog #2 and was a Lab mix like her.
    But I do seem to be hooked on beagles, Lab mixes, and golden retrievers now….but who knows what the future holds?

    • Seems like you have quite a variety in the way your dogs have come to you. I guess that’s one way to stay out of a rut.

      And yes, I can imagine any number of dogs who might fit into your home.

  20. I love how awesome Honey is – how she really does have a purpose. It’s not easy raising such a well balanced dog and I admire you for that. It’s not very often you come across a dog that would make a wonder foster sister to so many different dogs.

    Before I got Laika I had an idea of my perfect dog. It would be an older (5-6) Retriever mix that would love going for hikes every day but wouldn’t mind being left alone for a few hours when I worked. After filling out a bunch of paperwork & a rescue matched me with a 6 year old black Lab mix named Millie – and we were all set to finalize the paperwork at the next rescue event… Met Millie ( a shy dog ) who got right into my lap and I knew she was the one… The rescue ended up denying me though; they decided that since I worked full time I wasn’t the right fit for her. I was heartbroken… I went home depressed..

    2 days later I found myself at the local animal shelter & fell in love with Laika. A 6ish month old pup who was not at all what I originally had in mind… But we’ve made it work. I made a promise that she’d found her forever home and it’s certainly working out well. So yeah after so much planning I ended up going out impulsively right afterwards – not something I’d recommend. But wanting a dog so badly and getting denied has a funny way of making you even more determined to add a dog to your family.

  21. Oh yeah and of course I was drawn to Laika because of her huge ears. That’s pretty much it :)

    • How heartbreaking that Millie didn’t go home with you. But hopefully she landed in a good place.

      I love that Laika’s big ears attracted you. And sometimes the right dog for you just can’t be planned out.

      As for Honey, I feel like I really lucked out. And she has taught me so much that whatever dog comes into my life will benefit from her influence.

  22. Mahee Ferlini says:

    Sounds like dogs are picked for many reasons. I guess a lot of people probably pick them first on sight then fall helplessly in love with their personality. I would say I literally “fall” into this category also. Great topic and I enjoyed reading the comments as well!

  23. Well, let’s see…my first dog (Kissy) was a small miniature Poodle who I got because I’d grown up with poodles and because I wanted one that would fit in my lap. When Kissy passed on at the age of 15-1/2, I didn’t want the monthly job of haircuts; and Sam didn’t really want another dog BUT since I was not about to live the rest of my life without a dog, he wanted a Golden Retriever like his son’s dog Georgie. So, we called Georgie’s breeder and asked for a female puppy from their next litter. When Callie was 8 months old, I decided she needed a Golden playmate, so we got Shadow. And well, Ducky, she was a delayed foster failure.

  24. I adopted my dog Baby from Hungary, whilst living in Germany.

    I was following her adoption group on facebook and desperately wishing I could have a dog, and then one day they posted a picture of her adorable mug, and her big brown eyes got me. I sent an email that day, explaining that I was looking for a dog that I could train to be an Emotional Support Animal, and they sent one back almost immediately saying they thought she would be perfect for me!

    I was a little nervous at first, adopting a dog I’d never met, but the rescue’s evaluation was good, and she really is my other half. She keeps me sane when all else fails. : )

    (I’ll see if I can post on of her adoption pictures on your facebook page later, so you can see what I mean. Such a happy, “Love me!” face, that now I get to wake up to every day. <3)

    • What a wonderful story, Melissa.

      And a good point that sometimes a stranger can help you make a perfect match. Honey’s breeder strongly recommended we choose her to come home with us and she was totally right.

      Hope you can post a pic of Baby on FB. I look forward to seeing it. :)