I know I can speak for Becca when I say my dogs inspire me daily ('dog' in Becca's case). They motivate me. From the simplest things such as getting up in the morning to more "challenging" things like getting exercise, not being afraid of the dark, and putting someone's needs before mine. They make me smile and laugh and think outside of myself.
In fact, I really don't get how people get through the day without at least one dog of their own. If you are dogless, you are missing out on having someone who is always excited to do the most boring errands with you. You probably don't feel like the coolest person in the world just for walking in your house after being gone for two minutes. You don't have a valid excuse for talking to yourself when you're home alone. Sorry, but you don't. I bet you don't have a friend who is ALWAYS as equally eager to go for a walk with you as they are to take a nap with you. You don't have a personal bodyguard (aka 'alarm system') that is constantly watching out for your safety (even when you don't need it). Most importantly, when you spill food, you actually have to go to the closet, get your vacuum cleaner out and clean it up yourself. If you weren't dogless, that job would be done for you in less than 10 seconds. No hassle of a vacuum required.
A dog of your own would make you feel 10 times more talented, loved, popular, heroic and better looking than you feel now.
You see, if you had a dog, you would be more famous in his eyes than the Jonas Brothers...just because he's your dog.
So, here is an introduction to our #1 fans; our dogs. We'll start with Becca's Gabe, followed by my two, Mud and Cinderella.
Dog's Name: Gabe
Breed: Lab mix with a little bit of Husky, Chow, and German Shepherd
Age: 2.5 years
Sex: Neutered male
Where did you get Gabe? He was rescued from a kill shelter in Sedalia, Missouri, taken care of in a foster home, and then adopted by me through Second Chance Rescue in Kansas City.
What made you choose him? It was an interesting situation. I had been looking for a puppy for some time, but I was only interested in a female and I wanted a herding breed. The dog I would adopt and raise was going to be my 'demo dog' that I would take to dog training school with me and use as sort of a walking business card. So, I wanted to be sure to get an active, friendly, smart dog that people were drawn to. I had been given some advice not to get a dark-colored dog, as some people are scared of them and you want a demo dog that is easily approached by others.
Gabe and his brother were the most beautiful blond color, and something immediately melted inside of me when I saw them for the first time. I knew a lot less at that time than I do now about choosing a dog, but if you honestly want to know what I think, God was on my side, even in something like choosing a puppy! My criteria of 'female herding dog' flew out the window, and I decided to choose one of those boys. I observed the two of them playing together, and Gabe seemed to be less assertive out of the two. And, he had the most precious little flopped over ears! I was sold, and went home with a male retriever mix - something totally unexpected but that turned out to be the BEST thing for me!
How did you name him? Since I had originally been searching for a female puppy, I didn't have very many male dog names that I had been considering seriously. But, once I had signed the adoption papers and we were on our way home, I started to think through names that might be good. I wanted something that was not common for a dog and that wasn't too many syllables. 'Gabe' came to mind in the midst of that and it just kind of stuck.
What's your favorite physical feature on him? I think Gabe is perfect from tail to nose (I am SO incredibly biased, sorry) but his ears are definitely a winning attribute. They are extremely expressive; as my dad puts it sometimes, Gabe's ears 'tell a story'. There is the most awesome crimpy hair that grows from behind his ears, too - I get asked from time to time if I am the one who crimps it! Let it be known that Gabe is all-natural :)
What's your favorite personality trait? I'm not sure I have ever owned or even met another dog as goofy as Gabe. He's an absolute clown. Even though it got us into trouble on a few tests at school and even in daily life from time to time, he brings a smile and a laugh to my day unlike anything else in my life. I call him my sunshine.
If Gabe was a person, what would he have been like in High School? Definitely the one stirring up the classroom. The ring-leader. A bit of a show-off that gets away with it because he's funny and charming.
What advice/tips would you give to someone who wanted a breed similar to Gabe? Gabe is a pretty high-maintenance dog. He thrives on daily exercise - I usually try to walk him 60 minutes on most days. His mind is also very active, so he needs a lot of training to fulfill that area of his personality. And, if you have a hard time keeping food up high and locked away, a dog like Gabe will constantly be finding handouts that were not meant to be his. And, while all dogs need a lot of attention, dogs similar to him are certainly on the top of that list. Gabe is very pack-oriented and doesn't really care where he is as long as it's with me.
Dog's Name: Mud
Breed: Longhaired Miniature Dachshund
Age: Almost 4
Where did you get Mud? From a breeder in Oregon.
What made you choose him? I had wanted a Dachshund for a long time. I was still living at home and was dating my now husband, Phil, who was in a touring band at the time. I had been wanting a purebred puppy of my own to possibly show and had narrowed it down to a Longhaired Dachshund because they are supposedly the calmest and sweetest of the 3 coat varities. Phil and I planned on making this "our" puppy, the one we would take with us when we eventually got married. So we visited several breeders and saw many puppies. I kept searching until I found an ad for Mud on the internet. My parents and I drove 5 hours to visit Mud and the rest of his litter when he was 6 weeks old. The breeder was great and Mud was the most curious and confident in the litter without being overly dominant. We paid for him but couldn't pick him up for another week. It turned out to be perfect timing because Phil happend to be home from tour the day we went to pick up Mud, and he was home for Mud's first week of life with me, so they completely bonded. To this day, Phil is Mud's ultimate favorite.
How did you name him? After we paid for him at the breeder's in Oregon, my parents and I stopped at a restaurant on the way home and I ordered a mud pie dessert. The colors of it were just like the puppy I had just picked out and my mom suggested naming him Mud Pie. I also used to have a stuffed animal dog I called "Mud" when I was little, and he totally reminded me of that! So floppy and cuddly. So it stuck.
What's your favorite physical feature on him? His big paws and blue cartoon eye top the list
What's your favorite personality trait? I love how chill he usually is. I've never had a dog so mellow and soulful. He is also somewhat dramatic at times. I honestly love everything about him, he is my dream come true dog.
If Mud was a person, what would he have been like in High School? I think he'd be the mysterious loner. People would like him, but he wouldn't give them a whole lot of attention, unless they were his closest friends :)
What advice/tips would you give to someone who wanted a Dachshund? Because they are prone to back injury and disc disease, you must be willing to change a few things about your lifestyle. You cannot let this breed jump off of high surfaces (no couches or beds) and you cannot let them get overweight. Make sure you really want a dog that centers his life around you. They are intensely devoted to the ones they love.
Dog's Name: Cinderella
Breed: Cocker Spaniel/Miniature Schnauzer Mix
Age: 6 months
Where did you get Cinderella? We got her from an ad in the online paper. She was an "accident" but accidents will always happen and every dog needs a home! So I didn't have a problem buying her, because I knew I wasn't supporting someone trying to make money for the wrong reasons.
What made you choose her? We wanted a friend for Mud and after researching and researching, there just didn't seem to be any purebreds that were perfect for our situation. Something of a certain size, trainable, healthy, calm enough to fit Mud's energy level, easy to groom etc. So I was keeping my eyes open for some kind of mix to come along and saw Cinderella. Neither the cocker or the schnauzer would've fit into our lives at this time as well as the mix of the two would!
How did you name her? We actually changed her name about 5 times during the first 3 weeks of her life with us. It went from Eclair to Tar to Shelby and others. We were embarrassed each week at puppy class to admit we had re-named her again. We finally settled on Cinderella for.. some... reason? I guess partly because it doesn't fit her at all :)
What's your favorite physical feature on her? Her eyes are lighter brown than a lot of dogs, so they are interesting to me. And her coat because it's non-shedding and easy to groom!
What's your favorite personality trait? Her gullible, happy side. She doesn't take herself seriously at all, which is a complete contrast to Mud...
If Cinderella was a person, what would she have been like in High School? The bashful, yet bubbly girl who asks a lot of questions. Maybe even a cheerleader.
What advice/tips would you give to someone who wanted a breed similar to Cinderella? Schnauzers and Cockers are sensitive to voices and moods. If you get a breed that likes to learn, be prepared to fulfill that side of them! She loves learning tricks and is extremely food motivated..which also means we have to be very careful not to leave things out that she will eat. She puts everything in her mouth, which I'm sure is a Spaniel trait, as they are often retrievers. Make sure you won't mind a dog that is very curious and wants to be involved in absolutely everything you do!