Monday, October 22, 2012

How To Stay Sane: Replace Your Children With Dogs

I tease my 3 children and tell them that I pushed them out of the nest so I could replace them with 3 dogs. They just roll their eyes…smile and nod.......

I love dogs and cats; probably was always more partial to the felines. Our family has had quite a few of both over the years. But there was a time when I was looking forward to not having any. Children or animals. They both bring their own burdens of responsibility. And this woman was looking forward to a break!
Our loving and loyal cocker spaniel, Tucker, passed away at 17; round about the time all 3 of my sons were out on their own. I really didn’t want to bring another dog into the house. It was just me and the hubby. Finally. On our own. Time for a breather, time for each other.
Though Tucker had left us for that rainbow bridge in the sky, we still had 2 cats, Skitzy and Meow Ying. Cats are more independent and can be left on their own when there's a need for some R&R. Dogs, not so much. They need a kennel or dog sitter. Can’t leave them on their own.
The cats were good company and I didn't feel right about jumping right into another relationship with a dog just yet. It was too soon. I wasn’t ready. Hubby on the other hand was chomping at the bit for another dog.
About a year later I was ready but knew I had to choose the right breed. I relied on many resources (like family, friends, the internet, and Caesar Milan and his Dog Whisperer show) to guide me in the right direction.
One thing I kept in mind were my grandchildren; we needed a friendly, gentle dog. I also knew I had to stick with a small breed because of my back problems and my small house and yard.
All my research led me to the small, cute, affectionate, fun-loving, gentle Havanese. This dog intrigued me from the start. I loved what I read about them and knew it'd be a great fit.
I found Samantha first at a pet store. The following year we adopted Jax from the same place. They got along great! We enrolled them both in dog training at a nearby Pet Smart. Our trainer was super; before long both dogs completed all levels of training right thru “advanced” and received their AKC Canine Good Citizen award.
Somewhere during this time, we got the crazy idea about breeding Sammi and Jax. Research began again; before long we were expecting! But uh oh.....SURPRISE! Sammi had 6 puppies, bit more than what we expected.
It was tough for her. Way too many mouths to feed. We became surrogate mommies to the pups to help Sammi. We fed them puppy formula with eyedroppers. Every 3 hours. Exhausting! But it paid off: the pups were healthy and thrived.
No problems finding good homes for 5 of the 6. The last one left we nicknamed Fuzzy. Couldn't help but fall in love with him. He was quiet, cuddly and large (for a Havanese). Just something about him ..... knew we had to be careful and not underestimate him. He was smart. Determined. And oh so very sneaky.
So okay. We didn’t try too hard to find Fuzzy a home. Heck, we didn’t really want to part with any of the pups. Talk about puppy love! But it felt so right to at least keep one of our babies.
Here I sit. With three dogs. Happy and content. We’ve still found ways to continue our travel obsession. We either take the dogs with us or leave them with a sitter (sons who move out are very handy to have around when needed).
The dogs are so funny, they constantly keep us laughing. They smother us with kisses and love. They’re entertaining and smart. No problems at all! Everything kids should be.

Yes, our human children have grown and left the nest. But we’ve replaced them with the canine variety and couldn’t be happier!


  1. Love, love, love this about the pups! What an inspiration for those not sure whether or not to get another pup or two!

  2. Thanks for the comment, Helen. Adopting a pet is such a big decision and everyone should give it lots of thought and research before going forward.


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