Throwback Thursday

Baby Dallas and me

Baby Dallas and me

Dallas’s breeder took this photo in late January, 2007, when I picked up this two-month-old ball of fluff to carry him to his forever home.

I’d made several trips to her house after the litter of three was born. To see the pups; to watch them grow and explore their new world.

He was the only male, and she said he’d be perfect for me.

How could she know, since pups that young don’t have much personality yet and she didn’t really know me?

Somehow she did, and it’s something I’ll be forever grateful for.

Look at that sweet face. Those sleepy eyes. The fur that almost matches my hair.

No wonder we fell in love with each other!

The dog-human bond, I’m told, goes back to caveman days, when wild dogs approached man’s campfires in hopes of getting a morsel or two. Today, people keep dogs for a variety of reasons, chief of which are loyalty, companionship, and unconditional love.

Pet dogs quickly figure out how to get what they want from the relationship by adopting a sad-eyed look while their humans eat. By whining to go out. Or chewing the furniture if they’re left alone too long.

A dog’s lifespan averages 11 years, depending on the breed, lineage, and the care it’s given. A Shetland Sheepdog, which is what Dallas is, typically lives 12 to 14 years — not long, really, although my first Sheltie managed to make it to age 16.

Recently, the vet’s office sent me a postcard reminding me it’s time for Dallas’s “senior profile.” That’s a series of specialized checks they make so they’ll have a reference point for when the dog gets old.

I’m not ready to think of my baby as “old.” To consider the possibility that he won’t always be with me.

But I have to be realistic. Dallas is seven, and most owners outlive their pets.

Loving somebody (or something) is risky. But the delights trump the heartaches, don’t you think?

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30 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday

  1. Puppies are so cute. Dallas a was adorable. Those sheltie fur balls top the cute list. And a good breeder can usually pick out the perfect pup–one of the many values of taking the time to research a good breeder. I lie about Rascal’s age. I simple refuse to think about it. I don’t do traditional vet care so those reminders don’t show up. Of-course not paying attention to the reality doesn’t make it less of a reality, on the other hand there is nothing I can do about the reality but enjoy my more senior companion which has a nice feel to it too. I will never not own a dog so I completely agree—the delights trump the heartaches,

    • If I were more confident, I’d probably not do the traditional vet care thing either. Dallas’s breeder is much like that — she diagnoses and medicates as she knows best, and I’ve learned sooo much from her. Fortunately, Dallas still has a lot of “pup” in him, so we’ll take each day as it comes (and be happy for them!)

  2. Oh my —what a cute little ball of fluff!!!! I think animal lovers totally get that you are with them from beginning to end —sadness and loss come at the end but oh—what a wonderful journey it is all along the way!

    • I can’t imagine life without an animal companion. Yes, they can be expensive and a LOT of trouble, but my life is so much richer for having this pup. He *was* cute, wasn’t he?! (Wait, he’s nudging me, reminding me that he’s STILL cute, ha!)

  3. My dear Dixie Rose is getting old now, too. I’ve been through losing pets before, but those pets were a fox squirrel and a prairie dog, so the bond wasn’t quite as close. Even though Dixie isn’t a cuddle-kitty, we’re always within a few feet of one another, except when it’s time for her nap under the dining table.

    I wish I’d been more diligent about taking photos of her when she was a kitten. I only have one, and it shows her at about four months. Her tail’s twice as long as her body. I guess dogs grow into their feet, and cats grow into their tails.

    • I’ve never owned a cat, Linda. Several years ago when I was living in Texas, a tabby “adopted” me, but I think it was a one-sided relationship. Tabby only seemed to want food and outside shelter, but refused to submit to petting or any attempts I made at “loving” her. I’ve often wondered what happened to her after I moved away.

      I’ve only seen prairie dogs in zoos, so I can’t imagine owning one — was it a rescue? What did you feed it? By the way, I love your cat’s name — if I’d had a female dog, I probably would’ve named her Dixie!!

  4. “Look at that sweet face. Those sleepy eyes. The fur that almost matches my hair.

    No wonder we fell in love with each other!”

    You said it, Debbie! OMG…that photo of Dallas is so precious! I just wanna take his cute, little furry face in my hands and kiss him all over! He is such a lovable-looking doggie!

    One of blogging friends only adopts senior dogs. Her heart goes out to them because so many people don’t want to adopt a senior dogs because they know that they don’t have many years left. But she feels the same way you do…the delights trump the heartaches. She would rather give them a quality senior life, than avoid the heartache of losing them in a limited amount of time.

    Wonderful post, dear lady! Have a terrific Thursday!

    X

    • Thanks for stopping by, Ron. Dallas gets away with much more than he should, based solely on his sweet face! We say we “own” a dog, but I’m not so sure it’s not the dog who owns us, ha!

      Kudos to your friend for adopting senior dogs. These “elders” too often have been mistreated, yet they’ve done nothing to deserve that. How super that she has enough compassion to make their “golden years” as easy and peaceful and loving as possible. There must be a special place in Heaven for one like her!

      Happy almost-end-of-the-week!

  5. What a sweet little face. He is and was irresistable. Yes – I absolutely agree that loving outweighs the loss. What is life without love and family and friends?

    • Well stated, Barb. Who wants to isolate herself from pain and heartache, when she can open herself to the love and companionship of people and pets? Sure, we risk the possibility of being hurt (especially if that special person or pet leaves us), but knowing we’ll meet again makes it worthwhile.

  6. This is such a sweet post (and that photo is adorable.) It is so hard to think of our pets becoming “senior” but it does happen- too fast. (Hey, it’s hard for me to realize I’m getting older, too!) Our Yorkie Poo will be sixteen in August, and Cybil the Psycho Cat turned fourteen in February. (Hard to believe Sammy and Lizzy are going to be five in less than two weeks…seems like just a year or two ago when we brought those big-eared kittens home.)

    I have to agree with you that the delight and joy of loving them is worth the pain we endure when it’s time to let them go. I just try not to dwell on the time left and focus on the time now :)

    • Good advice, Janna, focusing on the time now rather than the time left. I’m going to remember that! Yorkies live a long time usually — the smaller dogs do. I’d just hate having an Irish Wolfhound and knowing the poor dear’s lifespan is only about seven or eight years! (Though the Irish part of me would LOVE having such a big doggie!)

  7. Oh, what a cute puppy Dallas was!

    I grew up with dogs and there have only been a few years in my life when I was without one. There were the first few years of marriage before Shelby, our Springer Spaniel joined our family. She left us when she was nearly 14 years old. Our hearts were so broken, we thought we could never find another. But then my baby went off to college and suddenly there was a pull inside of me, aching for a doggy companion. It was so strong that soon Lucy Pie and I found each other. Mark was resistant at first, but he soon fell in love with her too. And as much as I hate to think of a time when she will be gone, I know that if I outlive her, there will be another dog in our lives.

    • I’m right there with you on that, Terri! I can’t imagine losing Dallas, but statistics show most owners outlive their pets. And while we can never replace them, bringing a new fur-kid into the family sounds like a perfect way to help ease the grieving process. Looks like everybody in your family won with Lucy, too!

  8. Henry will be 7 in May. I’m feeling your sadness, too. Why can’t these cuties stay young forever? Thankfully, my vet hasn’t mentioned the word, “senior” in connection to Henry. Yet. When he does, I think I’ll cry.

    • Dallas turned 7 in November. While I don’t see too many signs of aging (other than the occasional stiffness after his naps), I guess the vet is simply trying to establish a baseline for future comparison. Kind of like what they do with with people. Still, it’s hard thinking of him as “middle-aged”!!

  9. What a cutie-pie! Katie is 7 too….time is flying by. Our previous sheltie, Bonnie, lived until almost 15. The one before only lived to 10. :( I’m certainly not ready to think of Katie as senior but this year I have noticed her walking slower on occasion, sleeping more. But certainly not barking less! :) I’ve noticed her slowing down and it makes me sad.

    • I keep telling myself that Dallas wouldn’t sleep so much if there were something going on that needed his attention! But watching me at my computer is hardly entertaining or exciting for a herding dog. Here’s hoping both Katie and Dallas stick around for many more happy, healthy years — and their mamas don’t obsess over “what’s next?”!!

  10. Aw, Debbie, this is so sweet and since following you I have grown so attached to Dallas, too. Every time I read your blog I want to run right out and adopt a puppy.

    • Dallas is EASY to get attached to — he’s truly “mama’s boy,” too, rarely venturing far from my side. I bet you’d love having a pup, Pat. They’re lots of work (much like having a baby!), but they give so much of themselves — unconditional love, acceptance, devotion (that most kids just can’t give, ha!)

    • Doggy-AARP?? I don’t think so, Tanya, but it’s kind of surprising nobody has thought of it yet. Could be a lot of money in something like that, with all the crazy pet lovers we have around, ha!!

      • Since I’m not a animal person I didn’t know about the world of pets. But I’m starting to understand now. It is a big business and a great joy to people. My sister who lives in my dads house with me has a little dog and this dog likes me and is happy to see me. It has opened my eyes. I will never get a dog because it’s a lot of responsibility and I can barely take care of me because of my illness. All that dog walking. I see the dog walkers on my block. I’m glad you have a great dog Deb.

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