Last night was bone chilling cold (it still is), and even though two of our dogs adore this cold weather we had them all inside. Douglas and Jovie were to spend the kitchen, and seemed content when we went up to bed. Douglas has a bad habit of barking to go out to his house around 3:00 AM, and last night was no different. I dragged myself out of bed, put on some boots, and flipped up the hood of my sweatshirt. It was about -20° out, and with the windchill much colder, but Douglas has a warm house with a mattress to sleep on, plus his super heavy coat, so I was not worried.
Today we celebrated a special couple at their wedding, we watched them promise to dedicate the rest of their lives together, and then we partied the night away.
So, Douglas and Jovie were on a jaunt, Shannon (my husband) was at his shop and a customer from Michigan rolled in, “You guys have Saint Bernards, right?” Shannon, “Yup, two of them.” Customer, “Well, they probably aren’t yours, but I saw two by the bypass.” Shannon made a call to me and confirmed that they were in fact our Saint Bernards.
I drove around the property and did not see either of the dogs. I walked through the woods and in the back field, no dogs. Finally Jovie came back after about an hour, but no Douglas.
Shannon got home and we took another trip through the woods, he rode the four wheeler everywhere, no Douglas.
It’s time for baseball (5:00...Douglas has been MIA since noon) and Shannon reminded me that we have had dogs explore for hours before and then return. Our Ellie was gone overnight once and she came back the next day (I was a mess).
On our drive to baseball a friend called and asked me if Douglas was missing, he said someone found him and posted his picture to garage sales on Facebook. We immediately got in touch with the lady and she was kind enough to meet me at our house.
Douglas stepped out of the car like it was just a normal day, followed me to his pen, and plopped down in his wading pool.
Perhaps the best part of this story is what RJ (9) and Lily (8) thought had happened to the dogs. RJ was convinced that Jovie had a litter of puppies and Douglas had stayed behind to take care of them. Lily had it in her head that our friend, Michelle, had driven back from Wisconsin, kidnapped Douglas, and taken him home with her.
Last Saturday I let Jovie and Douglas out and they hung around the back yard, until all of a sudden they were gone. Our animals have a way of finding ways off of our property, we mend, block, replace fencing, but the dogs always find a way.
If you follow my account on Instagram then you have already been treated to the images of Jovie in a sweater and Douglas in a hoodie this past weekend. I think that we were all a bit stir crazy since we had been 'trapped' in the house due to sub zero temps and wind chills for almost two weeks and this caused us to find creative ways to entertain ourselves.
There is nothing in this post that will teach you a new skill or that will change your life in any way, but if you laugh half as much as we did during the process, I have done my job. I may or may not have had a few beers last weekend and when I went up to my daughter's room her suggestion to dress up Jovie seemed like the greatest thing we could do at that time. I grabbed a little, red cardigan that might have been mine when I was a tot and proceeded to stuff poor Jovie into the thing. It was a perfect fit (though she has probably already outgrown it) and we were even able to get it buttoned.
After Jovie's photo session it was suggested by Lily (7 year old) that we put one of "Daddy's sweatshirts on Douglas." Douglas was a trouper just as Jovie had been and was easily dressed in an OSR hoodie. It was a little more difficult to get a decent photo of him since we could not pick him up and pose him, but we managed to get a few good ones.
Our dog fashion show spurred some memories of my sister and me dressing our black lab, Blackie (original, I know) in my Dad's t-shirts. Blackie also submitted to the dressing without putting up a fight and would sit there looking just as embarrassed as Jovie. Douglas on the other hand did not seem to care about the clothes and just laid down and took a nap.
Which animal should we attempt to embarrass next?
Jovie had a big first day with us because she tagged along with me at school. She was a huge attraction, but not a distraction as all of my classes worked on their assignments without losing focus because of the puppy. She did a lot of sleeping while she was in school, very little walking (since she was held most of the day), had zero accidents, and about 1,204 names were suggested by my students.
We attempted to vote on a name that night, my husband had each of us pick our top four names, then we each picked our top two out of that list, and finally we voted on our favorite. However, this process did not find us a name, both of the finalists, Daisy and Lucy, just did not seem fitting for this pup so she remained nameless.
On the ride home from Thanksgiving dinner we again tried to find the perfect name for this puppy. We revisited some of the original suggestions, Dixie was a choice, but my son, RJ (9 year old boy), could not stop laughing, in his head it was “dick see”, so that was definitely not a possibility. We did not need uncontrolled giggling to occur each time that the dog was called over.
Finally after some internet research we came up with Jovie. For those of you who are well versed on the movie "Elf" you should get it immediately, for those of you who have not seen the movie 583 times like we have, Jovie is Buddy the Elf's love interest and eventually becomes his wife. The character is played by Zooey Deschanel and she falls in love with Buddy about midway through the movie. At first she is put off by his antics, she was not at all happy with his appearance in the locker room as she showered, but she ends up falling for his childlike outlook on life. Jovie was fitting for our new addition, especially since she would be married to Douglas and he is not the brightest dog we have owned.
I know there are many who do not love animals, and that is okay, but man, they are truly the best. They love you regardless of what goes on during your day, they cannot wait to see you when you get home, they will do anything to make you feel better, and they fill your heart with so much love. Losing them is so hard.
Toby came to us a few years ago from a friend who did not have the right space for him, Toby needed us, he needed space. He came to us and after his first summer of acting like a lunatic around all the farm animals he became the perfect dog. He was sweet, loving, he was Toby. This boy won my heart and the hearts of all of those who were around him, he would come over and after a bit of craziness and slobber, he would lean on your leg with all of his 165 pounds. All he wanted was for his big, soft ears to be rubbed and to be talked to.
If he came up to you and you were sitting at our camp fire he would want to sit on your lap or so close to you that he might as well have been on your lap. The boy just wanted some love, don't we all?
We lost Dublin at the end of 2015 and I figured we would have at least four years until we would have to deal with this again, but I was wrong.
Toby was fine and then all of a sudden he was not himself, I'm not kidding, he went from a young dog to an old dog in less than two weeks. It was fast, the vet said it may be lymphoma, we tried some things, and then he was gone.
His last day was a good one. I fed him his breakfast of scrambled eggs and gave him some love. He hung out with me by the pool, napped on the patio, napped on the back porch, got some love from Shannon and the kids, and then after a trip to the wading pool...he was gone.
I was dreading having to decide whether or not we should put him down (I did not want him to suffer), and just like all dogs, he made the selfless decision to go on his own. I swear he knew that I was worried about him and what to do. He knew that we were leaving to visit my parents on Long Island this weekend, and he knew I did not want to leave him...so he left us.
When you love someone hard it hurts so much when they are gone, but life would not be the same without them. Animals are good. Dogs are good.
Toby was a good boy.
If you have ever owned a dog you must watch the movie, "A Dog's Purpose". Our family was finally able to sit down together and watch it a couple weekends ago and it was worth the wait. We even rewatched the movie this past weekend with my parents. There were moments that were funny and moments that were incredibly sad, and the narration is from the dog's point of view; it was brilliant. Our family could relate to the thoughts going through Bailey's (the first dog you are introduced to) head and how similar many of those thoughts must be to our dogs. The first time Bailey is brought to the grandparent's farm he gets a big whiff of manure and is so excited for this wonderful new smell. He is introduced to a miniature horse and fondly refers to it as a "horse dog". He finds disgusting smells to roll in and finds joy in running through the fields.
Of course we were sad when Bailey died, but my daughter was sobbing when the German Shepherd died. We all knew that this dog would come back again, but for some reason Lily was really affected by the death of this dog. This brought on the conversation about about losing someone, whether it be a person or an animal, and how those who you love the most are harder to lose and their loss makes you deeply sad. I asked both of the kids if it would be worth it to have pets if they did not mean anything to us. If we had pets that were not special would we be so sad when they died? Is it worth having the short time we do with our pets when we know our hearts will break upon their death? They both love our animals and understood that the more you love someone the more tears you will cry and the harder it will be to get over when they die.
None of us really know what happens when our pets are gone; are they waiting for us on the other side of the "Rainbow Bridge", will they come back as another pet? This movie definitely gave me comfort in the idea that the furry beings in my life will be back to give someone else joy and love. It is hard to imagine these sweet faces not having a soul, they may not be as smart as the humans who love them, but they know things. They know when you need comfort and do the best they can to try and cheer you up and I like to think that once they have fulfilled their time with me they go on to do the same for someone else.
If you love dogs you must see this movie.
I cannot believe that I forgot to publish this post about Douglas and his one year birthday celebration; I just completely forgot. If you are at all interested in what it looks like to be a one year old Douglas continue to read.
It is no secret that the kids love Douglas, especially Lily, She is our animal lover and each of our dogs is her favorite depending on the day. For Doug's birthday celebration Lily was insistent that he have a birthday hat and since I completely forgot to buy some she and RJ each made Doug a special hat. I showed them how to make newspaper hats and they proceeded to decorate them with drawings and stickers, Lily even convinced me to allow her to add some glitter.
After the hats were complete we made Douglas his birthday cake and while I know that giving dogs something like cake is not the greatest thing, we made a cake we could all share. A cake should be full of sugar, full of sprinkles, and enjoyed by all. I mean it is not like we have dessert every day.
After dinner we invited Douglas in, lit the candles on his cake, and sang a beautiful rendition of 'Happy Birthday'; he seemed to be much more interested in the cake, but isn't everyone? When it came time for cake all of the dogs were given a little piece, Toby was even invited in (and thankfully he did not pee on anything!)
Sometimes you just need to celebrate and celebrating the first birthday of your dog is the perfect reason.
We took Smokey in from friends when they could no longer keep him, my thought was that I would convince my Dad this was the dog for him. Since my parents planned on visiting for Thanksgiving it was the perfect arrangement, we would keep him and see how he did and then my parents could take him back to New York after Thanksgiving.
This boy is such a great dog. He handled himself well with all four of our dogs and was well behaved inside the house. At night he would readily go into his crate and never whined or barked to be let out.
I was nervous about my Dad meeting him because he has been so hesitant to get a new dog and always seems to have a reason that it will not work. To avoid the craziness of Smokey with the other dogs Shannon took him to work and my parents were introduced to him there, where he was calm. I am pretty sure that it was love at first sight. Smokey was at my Dad's side the entire time they were at our house and it was obvious that he would be headed for a home in New York.
The day they left Smokey was ushered into the truck and seated between my Mom and Dad. He did well for most of the trip, but it was determined that he is not a fan of windshield wipers. Dad turned them on when it started to rain and Smokey immediately began barking at them. Thankfully this issue has since been resolved.
I get daily updates on how Smokey is doing. He loves the Kong that my parents bought him, loves peanut butter, enjoys the new bed that is in his crate, and always has his head resting on a pillow when he naps on the living room floor.
KOTS weekend is drag racing that I really enjoy. It is stressful because it is a race we want to win more than anything, but it is also a bit relaxing because I am not running after and disciplining my kids (they do not go).
Since Douglas is still small enough to travel easily he went along for the 3 1/2 hour drive up to Wisconsin. The drive was kind of a practice run for New York since Doug will be making that trip with us as well. He was a prefect travel buddy. He sat in the back seat and kept inching closer and closer to our friend, Dale, who was back there with him.
At the track Douglas stayed close to all the trailers and made lots of friends. He was Mr. Popularity and handled himself well. Even in the extreme heat he refused to go into the air conditioned trailer and instead opted to hang out with the people who wanted to pet him all the time. He did have his own fan and a never ending bowl of ice water, but he took one for the team.
Douglas was looked after by everyone who was parked by us and never wandered away. He knew he had it good.
The weekend ended with a big win for Money Mike and OSR and of course Douglas made it into the winner's circle picture. What a weekend.
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