Wag Your Tail Right Into Our Hearts

No Dogs Allowed

I never wanted a dog. First of all, I am allergic to dogs. Second, they smell and make nasty landmines in the yard. Third, they are a lot of work. Somehow my husband finally convinced me that we should get a dog. Somehow my husband always convinces me that we need anything he wants.

I laid some ground rules. Due to my allergies, we needed a breed of dog that did not have lots of dander and did not shed. Due to my compulsive need to have a clean house, we needed a small to medium-sized dog. Due to the fact that we still had a toddler in the house, we needed a dog big enough to survive wrestling and tight squeezes. Oh yeah, also, none of those yelpy dogs. One more thing, it needed to be a rescue dog already potty-trained. 

I am usually not that demanding. 

Okay, all of you who know me, stop laughing now. I realize that I am pretty demanding most of the time. I like to think that I just know what I want.

Back to the dog story.

We started searching websites for rescue dogs that met all my demands. We made a list of dogs to check out one Saturday afternoon. We all piled into the car–my husband Jim; Laine, our 9-year-old son; and Tyson, our 4-year-old son. We were all giddy with excitement.

I wanted every dog we met and so did the boys. My husband was more of a savvy dog shopper and he could tell which dogs probably wouldn’t work for our family and why. One dog would not interact with us at all. Another was super timid. Finally we made our last stop to check out the dog that caught my eye from the beginning of our 300-mile journey. 

A rescue organization had set up shop in front of a Tractor Supply Company. Peering into all the cages, I didn’t see the black and white dog from the website. I saw a black and tan dog, but that couldn’t be him. We asked the volunteer about a dog named Eddie, and she pointed to the black and tan guy. So that was him…just really dirty.

Of course, the boys and I fell in love with him right away. And this time Jim gave him the seal of approval. We went in to Tractor Supply Company to get food, a leash, and a collar for our first family dog…Eddie. What a great dog name!

Eddie lived up to all of our dreams and more. He was a one-year-old shitzu/poodle mix, 20 pounds, and a loving well-behaved dog. Everyone who met him wanted to take him home. He was potty-trained, he hardly ever barked, and he was just so sweet. I think my mom even liked him a little, and she HATED dogs.

Eddie traveled with us to two new homes, even across the state. Having Eddie there made every house a home for us right away. The boys loved playing with him and cuddling with him. Jim took pride in having such a handsome and well-behaved dog. I realized that having a dog means that someone is always happy you are home and is a constant companion. Eddie brought joy to all of our lives.

The day after Christmas 2014 was an unusually warm day so I took Eddie for a long walk to the beach. He loved taking walks. That night ended like all others, with Eddie sleeping in our bedroom. We were awoken in the middle of the night by Eddie making loud coughing noises. We tried to comfort him, give him water, but the coughing continued all night. 

I tend to freak out about health concerns pretty easily, but Jim doesn’t get too ruffled. When he expressed concern about Eddie’s health in the morning, I was really worried. It was our oldest son Laine’s birthday, and it was horrible to send Jim and Eddie off to the vet that morning not knowing if we would ever see Eddie again. 

We were having a birthday party that night, so we stayed busy preparing for our guests while we waited to hear how Eddie fared. Jim came home and we sighed with relief because Eddie was with him. However, Jim warned us that he was very sick and only time would tell if he would pull through. We gave him medication, fed him water and food through a turkey baster, and put him in a small room with a vaporizer. He made it through the party–we knew he couldn’t leave us on Laine’s birthday. Unfortunately, overnight his condition continued to deteriorate.

The next morning we were all in tears watching Eddie suffer. We knew that the vet said they couldn’t do anything more for him, but our hearts were breaking for him as he fought to breathe. We decided to take him to the vet could he could be put to rest. I ran upstairs to get ready while the boys and Jim stayed with Eddie in the living room. As soon as I entered our bathroom, I heard a loud scream from downstairs so I ran back to the living room.

Eddie had jumped off Jim’s lap and was laying on the ground taking his last breath. The four of us sat around him, crying and saying our good-byes. We were so sad to lose Eddie so young–he hadn’t even celebrated his sixth birthday. Yet, we were so grateful to have had such a special dog in our lives, and we were glad that he was not suffering anymore. 

The Next Chapter

Eddie left a big hole in our hearts and we comforted each other by sharing special memories. We all decided that Eddie had convinced us that we love having a dog in our family, so we definitely wanted another dog.

We talked about the kind of dog we wanted and all the dogs we have known through family members and friends. We remembered Jim’s dad’s airedale and how cute he was as a puppy. Years before when we were researching dogs we found the welsh terrier, who looks like an airedale puppy its whole life.

Welsh terriers check all the boxes–small/medium dogs who are pretty hypo-allergenic and not too yelpy. We decided to look for a welsh terrier puppy and within two days after Eddie passing, Charlie came into our lives. 

Well, well, well. 

Those of you who have raised a puppy know that we were in for quite a different experience than bringing home a year-old dog who was already potty-trained. It was indeed. Quite an experience.

Charlie was so cute, but absolutely wild. He ate anything he could get his sharp little teeth into–our shoes, our furniture, carpet, our faces. He was like a gremlin who was fed after midnight. Have you ever wished your dog would run away? We have.

So, off to the pound we went.

Just kidding! This family doesn’t give up that easily.

Between the potty accidents, having to follow him everywhere in the house, and the fact that he constantly tried to sneak out the door and run away, raising Charlie was pretty torturous. Yet, he snuck his way into our hearts despite all that. Patience and persistence were key, as was getting advice from others who have raised puppies.

When Charlie was not yet a year old, he got into mole killer in the garage. We were panicked, we were just beginning to like him! We didn’t want to lose him! We rushed Charlie to the emergency vet and they pumped his stomach and treated him to try to minimize any effects of the mole killer. We weren’t even sure he ate the darn stuff, but we loved him so much that we weren’t willing to take the risk.

Charlie survived the crisis and moved with us to our forever home. Fortunately for him, our forever home is his dream home. Never again does he need to be chained up or leashed. He can run and chase animals and explore to his heart’s content. We moved into five acres in the woods with a long, winding driveway. Charlie is in heaven and is absolutely exhausted every night. No more accidents and he even cuddles sometimes now.

Don’t get me wrong, dog ownership has its challenges. For instance, currently Charlie smells like he has been rolling around in something that is dead and rotting in the woods. But…one look in those sweet brown eyes just melts us. Charlie completes this family of five.

Eddie and Charlie Trained Their Humans

A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself. -Josh Billings

Three Benefits of Dog Ownership

1. There is no better blanket than a dog on your lap.

2. After you have a dog, spilling food is no big deal. No vacuum or clean-up crew needed.

3. Arriving home to the eager excitement of a dog should never be underestimated.

Author’s Notes:

This blog post is the first ever requested by my son, Tyson. 

Tyson:  Mom, have you ever thought about writing a blog about Eddie and Charlie?

Mom:  No, that is an interesting idea.

Tyson:  I got you thinking didn’t I?

Mom:  You did buddy. Thank you!

Tyson’s eyes filled with tears when he read the part about Eddie. He gives this post four out of five stars.

5 thoughts on “Wag Your Tail Right Into Our Hearts”

  1. I didn’t know Eddie passed away, makes me sad. I remember when you got Eddie and how excited the boys were. He was a pretty cool guy. Miss you guys!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bottom line, life is just better with a dog. Felt your pain with Eddie. I had to watch Mara my 14 year old lab companion pass away in my arms. She was with me through college, the loss of my Dad, and always there when Anna and I would be separated for months. Dogs teach us about what is truly important in life.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As i read your story tears are coming to my eyes thinking about my past dogs and my present Hank. I have found that my companions have always arrived in my life exactly when I need them (divorce, human loss, huge lifestyle change) with the exact personality needed. I also have cats who also remind me that all souls are quirky. I feel that these companions help me be a better teacher by showing me that genius comes in all shapes and sizes, and that giving unconditional love is the path to success

    Liked by 1 person

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