Brandy #1 and #2- They were Boxers, the first when I was very young and the second a rescue dog that we found full of fleas and all skin and bones with a big rope burn on her neck. When she became well again, she was constantly by my side. I made a jumping course in our backyard, and we would run around it together... this was before anyone was doing agility competitions. One of the smartest and sweetest dogs, I cried sooooo hard when Brandy died when I was a freshman away at college. She was incredibly loyal- though we did have a break-in at our home while she was there- the police thought she may have been poisoned/sedated.
Bonnie- my grandmother's West Highland Terrier that we had for the 2nd half of her life, cute but very feisty. (Terriers have never been my favorite, though I have recently met a few older Jack Russells that I've liked).
Bear- a mixed breed puppy that I bottle-raised, had been found on a sidewalk abandoned at just a few days old and was brought into the vet clinic where I was working. He actually came on a few dates with me, in a box in the backseat! My parents helped place him in a new home when I went back to school, and my Dad actually shed a few tears. (I'm so grateful that my parents were always so tolerant of my pets, which included ducks, rabbits, and a ferret).
Buffett- a beautiful blue merle Australian Shepherd, very intelligent dog that I truly let down as I lived in an apartment and was a very irresponsible pet owner before I finally wised up and found a more appropriate home for him (he did a lot of damage to my apartment, expensive lesson and I deserved to pay for every cent!). That dog was extremely bonded to me and ended up having a pretty unhappy life after I "abandoned" him. I still feel bad that I let this dog down.
Hmmm, what's with all of the "B" names?
McKenzie and Toulouse, in front of our house under construction
Toulouse- the first dog that Paul and I had on the farm, she was a beautiful red-tri Australian Shepherd. Sweet, sweet dog, well-behaved and smart. She seemed to have 9 lives, and used up several at once when she was run over by our big Dodge pickup and came away with only a bloody nose and black eye. Toulouse helped to mother the two coyote pups we raised (that's a story for another day....!) I think she'd win for the #1 favorite! (Don't anyone tell Munchie).
McKenzie- a huge wolf hybrid, she was gorgeous and bright and gentle, never hurt a flea (except for killing a fawn once). She once had both ears "pierced" by gunshots when she wandered onto a neighbor's farm, LUCKY dog! (In fairness, they probably thought she was a coyote). Although she had never shown any aggression, I insisted on finding her a new home when we brought our baby son Robert home... just couldn't take any chances. She went to a great home and lived a long, healthy life with another family.
Moon(shine)- I'd always admired Border Collies and wanted to potentially try sheepdog trials. A great dog, eager-to-please and energetic (which we'd expected), we couldn't keep him out of the neighbor's cattle. We found a good home for him where his talents were put to work as a trial dog.
Kate (Spanish Water Dog) and Chicklet (Corgi)- nice dogs, but neither were good with kids and tended to be high-strung and a little aggressive. Both went on to other homes.
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Farley- our first LGD (livestock guardian dog), this huge Great Pyrenees had the run of the entire farm and he patrolled it well. A gentle giant, he inserted himself into any and every group photo and escorted us on many llama treks around the farm. We've had many other LGD's since, and currently have Dillon, Crockett and Rosa (Maremma sheepdogs) and Lucy (a Great Pyrenees). They literally allow us to sleep at night, guarding our alpacas and sheep in all weather and at all hours. At one point, I started saving the shed undercoat from a few of these dogs to spin, then realized how ridiculous that seemed since I had over 40 fine alpacas in the field! Each and every one has had a memorable personality.
As you can tell, I've been mostly drawn to larger dogs that are working breeds. Not our "lap dog", Munchie (who is a Shihtzu that was rescued by a friend).... He is not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he's great at warming my lap, and snuggling by my feet in bed, and he's gentle and not too yappy, doesn't shed, and he loves everybody. He travels well, likes the cat, and doesn't try to bite the UPS driver. He's definitely a keeper!
I wonder what other dogs will join our family in the future? Watching the Westminster Dog Show last week made me realize how important dogs have been to me and our family. If you are a dog lover, be sure to read A Dog's Purpose. It will make you appreciate every dog that's ever been a part of your life.