The Other Family

For anyone who doesn't know, we have dogs. In the plural. Like 10.5 to be exact. (We donated one to my in-laws. He's kinda ours, kinda theirs.) We have a small kennel and I get to play with puppies for a good portion of the year. But much like having kids, it's a take and a give.

Most of the girl live outside, but I wouldn't be truly happy without a dog in the house with me. Or two, or three, or four. Really, I prefer ony one or two dogs in the house at a time. But they keep finding ways to get inside with The People.

Three weeks ago we had one girl get a minor scratch on her leg. Being the rainy season, there was a liberal amount of mud everywhere, including the kennel. I feared infection so brough her inside to heal. Lucy couldn't have been happier. I have suspicions that she inflicted the injury upon herself just for the priviledge of coming inside. She healed up quickly, and left shortly after the next incident came in.

Thanksgiving morning I was faced with the fact that, apparently, the girls had a spat. What looked innocently like a mangled ear was brought in, washed up, and put in a very roomy crate away from the crowd to warm up and dry off. The next morning I smelled infection and rushed to the vet's. Rhythm is in the house indefinitely until she grows hair back. (They had to shave her neck to treat her.) I insist that my kennel dogs live in the house long enough to be housebroken (for just such an occasion) but sometimes it takes them a refresher course before they're back to my standards. Thankfully it was only a few days before this dog remembered. But now that we have a real live tree growing out of the floor in the living room she's all confused. Obviously, nature is where you do your business. And there's a very large part of nature right here in the house. She's left a few deposits under our tree in the last few days. I could strangle the bugger. And corgis shed terribly. This dog leaves a cloud of hair everywhere she goes. I sweep enough downy fluff off the floor every day to knit a sweater. (Mental note, if I ever grasp this knitting thing and list a sweater in my store, DO NOT BUY IT.)

And we have the house dogs. Our Scottie is a keeper and is not leaving us, ever. Katie is done having puppies but is our pet and we love her dearly, allergies and all. She frequently gets scratchy bouts and we have to keep her on a steady diet of pills to keep the itchies at bay. My vet and I are on a first name basis. She's a very good dog, but is a bit too much like a cat for my taste. She hides out all day and I never know she's here. This is both good and bad. The corgi with the broken ear follows me everywhere. She sits on my feet as I'm sitting on the throne. This is a bit disconcerting to say the least. It's hard to do one's business with a nose between your legs.

And then there are the spaniels. The kids wanted their own dog, and chose a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. We researched the breed and decided it was a very wise choice. We bought ourselves one, too. They're littermates and are completely inseparable. Essie and Mattie are the Hoover Twins. They eat everything. Well, at least everything that they shouldn't. Micah has toys all over the place all the time. Do you think they'll nibble on those? Nooooo. They go for things like thumb tacks, Magz, and scissors. You know, anything to possibly puncture an innard and incur a vet bill. (Mattie is the kind one who pooped in the car.) They are also not housebroken yet. I have taken a laid back approach to housebreaking (it happens about twice a year) when I realized that dogs will pick up this great habit from the already trained ones. But these girls were not blessed with intelligence, obviously. They insist on soiling the house at will and I'm about to throw them out in the kennel. The sad fact is, I cannot. They do not grow winter hair like a normal breed of dog would.

Dog food: 50 pounds per week
Vacuuming: Daily, if not more
Vet bills: Got them!
Owning dogs: Priceless. You can't buy this kind of insanity. But I get to play with puppies.

14 comments:

Madame Queen said...

Again, you are one brave woman. Those King Charles Spaniels are precious!! And poor Rhythm! The one ear up and one down gives her a very jaunty look, though!

Deb in OPKS said...

I am a cat person myself, but your dogs are cute. I've always liked spaniels, but I understand certain breeds can be tempermental. My neighbors have one, but I cannot tell you the exact breed. He's a cute dog, though.

Cecily R said...

Comment try #3...

I like the pictures of your dogs. I think dogs are neat. I can't have a dog yet. I have enough trouble managing the people in my house at this point, I'm scared that adding a dog would send me over the edge.

That said, I love your dog stories. For now I will be a dog owner vicarioulsy through you. Too bad Gracie can't read yet or maybe I could convince her to do the same...

Kellan said...

They are all so beautiful - you are lucky to have so many around all the time. WE have 2 (Golden Retriever and Pomaranian) - and 3 cats. You got me beat. Take care and see ya. Kellan

Karen said...

Deb - the Cavaliers aren't temperamental, but a lot of spaniels are. Those girls are incredibly easy going and fun. But not very bright.

Cec - you can always borrow our dogs, or their stories. There's enough of them. Call it a virtual dog.

Kellan - I love Goldens! I'll bet you have as much hair as I do with those two breeds. But they're so fun, aren't they?

KIDZMAMA said...

They are all adorable.

We used to have a german shepard/husky mix dog when then first two were young. Unfortunately we had to put her to sleep since she was in so much pain in the end. I don't think I can go through that again.

I'll stick to my plants and fish!

Melissa said...

Dog food: 50 pounds per week
Vacuuming: Daily, if not more
Vet bills: Got them!
Owning dogs: Priceless. You can't buy this kind of insanity. But I get to play with puppies.

I love this part of your post. In the end, all the extra work is so worth it when a little puppy curls up to you and gives you some lovin'!

The Sports Mama said...

I can completely sympathize with the amount of hair shed by a dog. We've got two, both rescue mutts. :) One is a corgi/terrier mix, and we thought she shed bad. That was until we got the shepard mix. We're not sure what he's mixed with, but he looks like he's got a couple other breeds in him. I'm beginning to suspect one of those breeds was mohair. :) The shedding is unbelievable!!! We can't just vacuum with a regular house vac. Oh no. We have to use the shop vac!

But when they look at me with their eyes, so full of love and soul.... I just melt. I'm such a pushover. :)

Karen said...

Sports Mama - I love the corgis best, that's why we have so many. But hubs and daughter have allergies and we try to keep the high shedders outside. When we have more than one corgi in I end up giving lint rollers to everyone that walks in the house.

Burgh Baby's Mom said...

Kate is gorgeous! I'm a fan of Corgis, too.

Reason #452 that I love our Lhasa Apso more than our Bulldog: Lhasas don't shed. I find more of my hair laying around the house than I do hers. The Bully Baby, on the other hand, leaves a whole puddle of fur on the couch every single day.

Bluepaintred said...

I have to say that int eh months since Smokey Pup came to live with me there have been days...
but on the whole, having her look up at me, her tail whacking against the my leg in excitement? There is something special about having a dog in your life :o)

Zoe said...

uhh. did you say 10.5 dogs????

Shellie said...

Love the gift under the tree...and I love dogs but I have decided it is inhumane to them or any other animal to be raised alongside my kids so they will have to wait to fill my nest when I'm an empty nester. I'd like to build an aviary and have birds too.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

A relative of mine is all set to get a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. I will have to pass along this info.