Dogs… I just love them. It has only taken 9 years for our yellow lab to realize his name is “Cappy” and not “Cappy NO!” As I look at him snuggling close by with his white beard, it pains me to think of the short time we have with our furry friends. They bring their unconditional love and loyalty to our home. Don’t get me wrong, I am a cat person too (As I type, my cat, Holly, is on my shoulder), but there is something about the companionship of a dog that melts my heart. I think back to when our yellow lab mix, Scotty, would stand up every time I stood up even when it pained him to stand. I would beg him to please not do that because I was only going into the kitchen and yet, my loyal companion, would never leave my side no matter how much pain it caused him to walk or move (ahh.. gulp..) my heart strings are still tugged as I think about his last days with us. I will never forget when we came home one day and found a white powdery substance all over the house only to realize that “CappyNO” had discovered a ten pound bag of flour. There is no doubt he carried the flour bag from room to room shaking his head fearlessly left to right ensuring the bag would empty. If only, we a camera!! On another occasion, Scotty and “CappyNO” managed to open a closet (I am blaming “CappyNO”) and pulled out pillows and Longaberger baskets and decided those items needed to be shredded. The only thing to do at that time was to simply take pictures and laugh.

And then there is Franky, our Katrina rescue dog, who is a Jack Russell/Terrier mix. After Katrina, he was a displaced dog and no one claimed him. Franky has challenged my wits on more than one occasion where I would say, “Tim, Franky needs to go to the farm… you know ‘the farm'” and Tim would remind me of our obligation to be his forever home. When a bald eagle would land close by or hover over our home I would joke and say “Franky, let’s go outside…”.. knowing, truth be told, I would never want anything to happen to him. Tim calls Franky my personal pilot car. He is our deaf, one-toothed wonder dog with the most rancid breath and has a little bit of Louisiana southern twang to his bark. When I was recovering from this last surgery, Franky piloted me everywhere and I could feel his genuine concern as I struggled through recovery. When my children were in diapers, Franky “assisted”. Dang, if only he had thumbs he could have changed those diapers! Franky is not only my personal pilot car, but a very concerned citizen. For the days when he could hear, he would alert me if our babies cried or something was wrong. As I look at him now curled up on the couch, he sleeps, tongue hanging out. I have to put Vaseline on his tongue from time to time as it dries out since he has no teeth to hold it in.

Next, our livestock guardian dog, Cupid, is a Pyrenees mix and she watches over our farm. We rescued her last year on Valentine’s Day. I self-confess, it is very hard for me to not have her in “my personal pack” and Tim reminds me of her job and her purpose. She is so beautiful. When all of the dogs are together, Cupid is in charge. She has had to “school” Franky a few times but she shows mercy as she holds her jaws over his neck to hold him in a submissive state. She loves my children and is a fierce protector over them. I may “by accident” sneak her in the house with me from time to time… ooops. She is such a doll and takes her job seriously.

Lastly, there is Boppa, our German Shepherd rescue dog. Boppa was named by the rescue organization “AHeintz 57” which is Frisian meaning “Top Dog”. We received a call from the organization stating the need for adoption. His mom had been shot three different times and yet gave birth to 9 pups, which 7 lived (the mom lived!) I simply cannot fathom the thought of how anyone can have such cruelty towards animals. Without hesitation, we adopted Boppa. Boppa is my sidekick behind my pilot car, Franky. He fully believes in recycling as much poo as possible. He is our yard and pasture vacuum cleaner! He keeps us very accountable ensuring no toys, food, shoes are left out. He has been known to shred and eat everything in sight! And, he is sneaky.. we have to be sure his mouth has no “road apples” in it before entering our home. At only a year old, he might think his name is “BoppaNO!”

Our dogs are our companions. They fill our hearts with joy. They are so important to be a part of our family’s lives. Sure, there are times of stress and frustration, but the loyalty and dedication trumps all. I just love dogs.