Doggie Days

I have long believed that dogs are a reflection of their owners. Ellie, our first baby, lived a long and glorious seventeen years as the gold standard, never to be imitated perfect dog. My husband and I got her for “free” in college with mange mites and a vet bill that sent us both begging for money from our parents (thankfully my parents are suckers for dogs). We rescued Susie, who lived to sixteen, from a woman who found her tied to a pole with no identification. She was by far our cutest dog, however whomever had her for the first year of her life did a real number on her and she proved to be our most challenging dog. Rudy hopped into the backseat of our car after we found him running in the middle of a heavily trafficked road. The Rude Man passed away at fifteen.

Hershey & Snickers

Our ragtag dogs from early in our marriage are an example of how my husband and I operate. We’re just shy of being groomed, a little bit “ruff” around the edges and we’re happier spending an evening with pizza and beer than we would be at a five star restaurant. In short, we’re a couple of mutts.

Just before Susie and Rudy joined Ellie in heaven, we went to Pet Smart to “look” at the puppies up for adoption. We came home with Hershey, a chocolate brown mutt with a long body, short legs and an extra toe on her back hind paw. Within the hour, we were back at Pet Smart for a crate and some supplies and came home with Hershey’s sister, Snickers, a shorter bodied and stockier version of Hershey with light brown hair and the most gorgeous green eyes we’d ever seen. It was hard to say who was happier that Snickers was heading home with us—Hershey, or my two children.

Hershey and Snickers have very different personalities that are oddly similar to my husband and me. Hershey (me) is what we now term “a head case.” She is smarter than Snickers (my husband) and with that smarts comes a healthy dose of caution. On Wednesday mornings, our neighborhood trash pickup day, only Snickers gets a walk because Hershey refuses to go. Those trash trucks are up to no good and she doesn’t want any part of all that noise. But she also loves to pick through our trash cans, so maybe she’s just mad at them for taking all the trash away. Snickers doesn’t care for the noise of the trash trucks either, but come on, it’s a walk…


Hershey also watches television. Snickers will gladly lay with us (or more likely on us) when we’re watching TV, but Hershey is tuned in, especially when there are animals. I never realized how many shows and commercials feature animals until Hershey’s antics made us all take note. She demands love when she wants it and otherwise prefers to be left alone.

Snickers embodies all that is wonderful about being a dog. She gives love with everything she’s got. She barks when she’s scared, cries out when she’s truly happy and unless she’s asleep or scared, she’s always happy. On our daily walks, when she sees a particularly appealing shady spot in the grass, she plops down, rolls over and indulges in a back rub/happy dance while Hershey and I wait until she’s done. When it’s time to eat, she comes and finds us and stares at us until we receive her mental mind message: IT IS TIME TO FEED ME!


Every time I pass a couple of well behaved dogs prancing along the sidewalk at the heels of their owners, I wonder why my dogs can’t behave that way as they drag me along (and I do mean drag) at whatever pace they set. Yes, I know I should work with them, but darn it, I just don’t have time. I guess a couple of mutts are destined to raise a couple of mutts. Go figure!

If you have a minute, I’d love to hear about your dogs…

About Christy Hayes

A wife, a mother and a writer of romantic women's fiction. I love dogs, exercise and cable news.

Posted on September 19, 2011, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 19 Comments.

  1. Oh, man, Christy, don’t get me started on talking about dogs! They are one of the most important living things in my life, besides my family; but then again, they ARE a part of my family. We’ve had chocolate labs for years now and, as you say, every dog (just like humans) has a different personality. Our Jack was born with cranial mandibular osteopathy (a mouthful) and almost got put to sleep (my husband’s idea and it would never have happened on MY watch) before he was finally diagnosed. Around 15 vets at the hospital had only “read” about the condition but no one had ever seen it! Lucky us. Long story short, he has a golf-ball size knot of bone under his chin but he’s fine and it doesn’t affect his living at all. But because of that he’s kind of “different” – barks at any kind of play-slapping or hitting, gets upset if you cry, barks constantly when you walk him if he’s with his mom… But we love him anyway.

  2. Sounds like I’d love a visit with your dogs, Patti. So glad you saved Jack!

  3. Now that I know someone who is kind to stray dogs, two more may show up on your street! We rescued Blizzard who was a beautiful white fluffy puppy… Who turned out to be half pyrennes and barks at the wind, mostly during the day. Cinnamon is a golden retriever with papers, which said nothing about how our adorable puppy could dig up 3 acres in a couple of weeks.

    I don’t think we are dog people. We may be more into pet rocks.

  4. Two is enough, thank you very much. At one time we had four. I’m glad we live so far away, Laura, because I wouldn’t put it past you to drop them off! It sounds like I’d love Blizzard and Cinnamon–we’d give DQ a run for their money with our dogs!

  5. OMG I’m right there with you, Christy. I’ve been a dog person my whole life, raised in a family of dog lovers that couldn’t stand cats. I’ve learned to like a few specific cats in my lifetime, but the brainwashing was done early. LOL. I grew up with Daschunds, and they are my first love, but I love anything canine. My first dog after I moved away from home was a mutt that we rescued from a pound during (get this) my honeymoon. 🙂 My first husband and I honeymooned in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, and on the street downtown they had a poster up with all these puppies pictures. We went to look just for something to do. And the day we left for the 14 hour drive home, we stopped and got the cutest little sheltie/beagle/mutt something, and named her “Honey” in honor of the occasion. She then proceeded to poop, pee, and puke all over his truck on the way home, and we had to stop and buy supplies before we ever got there. She wasn’t the brightest bulb, and spent her life getting into trouble, but she did outlast the marriage. LOL! She outlasted the next relationship too, and the cocker spaniel (Boomer) that came with it. Honey died at the age of fourteen from failed kidneys. Now I have an old lady rat terrier named Ruby that I inherited when I got married 5 1/2 years ago, she is brilliant and hysterical and thirteen years old and I’m in denial that anything could ever happen to her.

    One day I’ll have to tell the story of Brandi, one of my daschunds growing up, who was more human than dog and even haunted my mom’s house (in a good way) after she died. Seriously. She deserves a story all of her own!!

    Great post Christy!

    • We were born of the same cloth, Sharla. I come from a long line of dog lovers and cannot imagine living a day without a dog. Ours are unruly, messy and so giving of love and attention. People who don’t have dogs are missing out on one of the most incredible relationships ever. Can’t wait to hear about Brandi!

  6. I can’t WAIT to hear the story of Brandy – haunting your mom’s house after she died? Wow!

  7. Dogs Rule! I grew up with dogs in the house but I married someone with “allergies” (Ugh!) It took me nine years and nearly walking in on a burglar to convince my husband that we needed a dog–a very big dog! What we got was the last of the litter of black Labs. Unfortunately, she’s not much protection. She greets everyone who comes to the door with a wag of her tail and a mouth full of whatever stuffed toy she can grab from her bed. Jetta turned 11 this month and has survived three knee surgeries as well as bladder surgery to remove stones the size of quarters. And yet she never complains. She has never touched a drop of food without being given permission (seriously, once my then 5-year-old left a half eaten bagel on the ottoman and the dog just stared at it for hours!), and she never strays far from the food dish which means she never leaves the driveway on her own. In short, she’s pretty perfect, unless you count the $10,000 in medical bills! Hopefully she’ll hang in there for another few years because I don’t think I could find a more perfect dog to replace her. In fact, I might get her stuffed. 🙂

    • We’ve got a great taxidermist when the time comes, Tracy. But hopefully the time will never come. Jetta is the best!

    • I love that she’ll stare at the food and not eat it, that’s awesome! My dog Ruby has her doggie door that she uses to go check the perimeter of the back yard about every hour. She never leaves our house or our yard, no matter what. We can accidentally leave the side gate open for days, and she’ll go to the opening and look out but never cross it. Guess she knows how good she has it. 🙂

  8. Christy, this so lovely and coming a month after Patti featured her “chocolate” obsession, her labs on my blog with pics that showed how happy they all were. From one mutt to another, our first dog was much the same, she did what she wanted, when she wanted and NEVER allowed anyone to put on her leash. She walked to the corner of our apartment building in Brooklyn, waited for the light and then pranced across the avenue to the park. My eighteen month old might have been saying she’s barking, but my father-in-law assured us he had named our new little black wonder … Sparky.

    I had a great cat, a stay the teenager up stairs found for me, who slept on top of her and they were great pals.

    The last dog was my parting gift to my daughter when I moved twelve hundred miles away from my beloved City. Not a mutt, she was a blonde lab with the personality of her main-gal my daughter. Stubborn and dramatic, like our first dog, she “talked” complained and never failed to find a dead animal in the fields of Inwood Park in Northern Manhattan. Here we’ve had a collection of cats but only one of them was a talker, a mix main coon and persian, we lost only six months ago.

    Thanks for the wonderful memories of your “family” and reminding me of my own 🙂

    • Thanks for sharing your memories of Sparky and your daughter’s dog. I’ve tried to like cats, but it’s not working out so well. I’ve decided they don’t like me so I’ve stopped trying. I am glad you find pleasure in both dogs and cats and wish them all a long and healthy life!

  9. I’m a dog lover but my husband isn’t so the only dog story I have to share is the one about my youngest son who bought his girlfriend a beautiful puppy for her birthday. They named the puppy Milo and whenever the kids brought her home, the first thing she would do is come say hello to me, then say hello to my husband.

    When my son split up with his girlfriend, she got Milo is the breakup. A few months later, I asked my son if he missed his ex-girlfriend and he said no, but that he sure did miss the dog.

    I love dogs with personality. They’re fun and funny and pure entertainment. 🙂

    Thanks everyone for sharing your stories. I enjoyed reading them much!

  10. Great post, Christy!!! I’m cracking up! My dogs are soooooo like us. And I’m not sure what I’d do if they weren’t so loyal to me. They sit with me while I write, go on the daily McDonald’s diet coke run, and my ears when I need to vent. They always pick my side!!!
    When one of them got really sick, I didn’t leave his side. The vet clinic let me stay there all night. So I took my computer and we finished Carpe Bead ’em!

  11. Sorry to hear your dog was sick, but what a memorable ending to Carpe Bead ’em! Best of luck to you on your new blog!!

  12. My “lovebucket” is a Yellow Lab named Cody and the sweetest boy you’d ever want to meet. Before him (and marriage and family) I had two yellow Labs (litter mates) and they were my children. Again, the boy was the sweetest but the girl? Spitfire through and through. While everyone loved her brother Zach, my girl Hershey was a bit tougher because she only had eyes for her mama and brother. 🙂

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