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December 29, 2011


for the love of a dog

by Andrea O'Connell

I’m out of gas today, and so is Jazz.  Like me, he didn’t want to get out of bed this morning.

But, I had to get up – he didn’t have to get up until he was ready, and he slept for nearly 30 minutes after I was up!

Anyway, I’ve been working on the computer most of the day.  I was also doing a little blog-browsing – looking at animal photos, and came across an article on the No Dog About it Blog, with the I Am a Forever Dog, Not an Until Dog, photo (below), and I liked the message.  I really liked the blog, too.  Here’s a link to the blog:  No Dog About It Blog.

The article on the blog has to do with adopting dogs for someone’s Christmas present.  Or, getting a puppy “from Santa” to make kiddos happy, but not having a plan to deal with the rest of the dog’s life.  That happens more often than not, and we’ve all probably heard the horror stories.  People have the greatest of intentions but don’t realize how much care and attention a dog requires.  Cats are easy, not so with dogs.  There is a lot of work associated with having a dog.  It’s a big responsibility, and they can be very expensive.

When I was young, we had a little Chihuahua that we named Pedro.  He lived a good long time and we had him for many years. The black and white photo (below) was my brother feeding Pedro his bottle.  That was 1967!

One Christmas, while we still had Pedro, when my brothers and I were very young, Mom and Dad (Santa), bought us an adorable little chocolate-brown Poodle.  We named him Honey Bear.  We were crazy about him.

We’d had Honey Bear only two weeks when one day my folks called the three of us kids out to the patio to have “a talk.”   The first thing we all wanted to know was when will Honey Bear be home, he’d gone to the vet the day before and we missed him like crazy.   Well, my Father broke the news to us – while my mom sat silent and tried to hide that she was crying.  (Mom never cried.)   Then it became a family crying-fest. We all cried and cried and cried.

My brother giving Pedro a bottle, 1967

Honey Bear had been very sick, my Father gently told us,  and would not be coming home.  Honey Bear had Encephalitis. The vet put him down.

After that we never had another dog but Pedro.  It was too upsetting for every one.  It must have upset me a lot because my memory of that time is very detailed, and I was only about 8 at the time.

I never had my own dog until I got Jazz, my 10 pound Chihuahua, when he was 9 weeks old.

One of the reasons I’d wanted to have a dog was to get out and walk more as I was just getting over two painful knee replacement surgeries.  Getting a dog, I thought, would be great therapy to strengthen my legs.  And it was.

However, before I decided to adopt Jazz, I had to look at my life to be certain I could give him the attention he needed.  He barely weighed two pounds, was so small he required four feedings a day to sustain his little body.

I lived close to where I worked so it was easy to come home every day at lunch and feed him.  I also had neighbors looking in on him during the day, too.   He was so small and I was ultra-concerned about making sure he was okay.

That was 7 years ago.

Today, my life revolves around my animals schedules ( I also have a cat.)  I plan my social life around my dog’s feeding and walking-times, as if he were a child.   In turn, he is the perfect dog – so happy and fun and wonderful.

If you have a dog, you know what a responsibility it is.  Just like a child – you’ve got to care for it, train it, love it.   When you love a dog, they repay in kind, but give back so much more.  A dog will change your life.

So, I really liked the message from the German Shepard Dog Community on Facebook (below).

No dog about it Blog

Written by Shandell Dugdale and used with the permission of The Calgary Humane Society.

13 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wow what a great message about adopting dogs. It’s simple and true. Hadn’t seen that before. (we have a German rescue dog). Enjoyed reading about your dogs.

    • Dec 29 2011

      Hi Philosophermouseofthehedge! Thank you for visiting and for your comments. I always wanted a German Shepard! They are so smart! I want more dogs, so badly… but the time isn’t right; will have to wait until retirement…. In the meantime, I dream about having them!

  2. Dec 29 2011

    I am so sorry about Pedro Andrea. That must have been so hard for everyone in your family.
    What a wonderful message you conveyed though. Love of a pet should be for life and it should be a well-thought out decision. Jazz is one very lucky dog!

    • Dec 29 2011

      Thanks for your kind comments, Mel. And thanks for the great post on your blog! Happy New Year!

  3. Dec 30 2011

    Andrea I know how awful it is when you lose a pet, my golden retriever died in my arms more than ten years ago and i’ve never got over it. They bring so much love don’t they? Jazz sounds delightful!

    • Jan 2 2012

      Hi Gilly, Oh yes, there is nothing like the love of a dog. You really don’t get over loosing them…. It’s terrible. I wish they’d stay with us forever…. To have your Golden die in your arms sounds incredibly painful, but then again, perhaps it was better that way, somehow? You were there for him until the bitter end and he knew you loved him, and he, you. I hope it was a peaceful ending….. Here’s to a great 2012, Gilly!

  4. Jan 1 2012

    Thanks for posting this, Andrea. I have been rescuing dogs – seems like forever – and this time of year is brutal on the dogs. Puppies are adorable with big red bows but soon enough become independent little beings with minds of their own.

    I have 3 rescues now, one of which is a little Chihuahua girl named Marnie. She makes me laugh out loud on a daily basis and she has my heart (and a good portion of my bed!).

    Happy New Year, my Friend!!

    • Jan 2 2012

      Hey Kim! That’s fantastic that you can be a rescuer of dogs…. what a wonderful privilege you have to do so much for them. I bet Marnie is a cutie (love that name) and a lot of joy – Chi’s are fun dogs. My little guy is not feeling well. He threw up last night and today he’s not his normal self. My cat has a cold (I think he got it when I boarded him to go to Orlando), so I have to watch both of them… My mom said to give my dog a half of a baby aspirin. Anyway, I’ve got my eagle eyes on the both of them!

      Happy New Year! Here’s to a GREAT 2012!

      • Kim
        Jan 3 2012

        Boarding is hard to do – I was a dog sitter in my home for a period of time. It makes the pet psrent feel better and I really believe it is safer for the pets. If you need to travel again let me know and I have associates all over the country that can home sit your pets for you.

  5. Jan 9 2012

    Well said Andrea. Having any kind of pet requires attention, love and dedication. They are like children and really let’s face it they can’t talk to us. We are expected to know what they want and how they feel. We do our best as pet lovers to be intuitive to their needs. I would never give or buy a pet around Xmas time. It’s far too busy and pets could get lost or ignored and scared from the loud noise. I have had dogs birds fish turtles gerbles rabbits and many kitty cats throughout my life. They were all precious living beings. I have to say I do love my kitties, I guess you could say on a very cold winters day I kind of chuckle thinking how the dog owners in our area are freezing their tails off to get that constitution for the dog. I’m sure if there is always that one tiny moment when the owner wishes the dog could use the toidy at home. lol

    • Jan 10 2012

      Hi Weezie… and I should say, “well said” to you, too, my friend! Oh I hope you are keeping warm Oh what I wouldn’t do to have a bit of snow to fall into – especially on a day like today. Well, it was beautiful today – nice breeze, not a cloud in the sky, but it was in the 80’s and that’s toooooooo HOT! I want brrrr cold now – so, hello Canada! Send us your chilliest winds, please.

  6. Jan 15 2012

    Hi, can you please change the credit for this image to the German Shepherd Dog Community on facebook? Our URL is This was written by Shandell Dugdale and used with the permission of The Calgary Humane Society. To find the original image on our facebook page, go here:

    I own the rights to this photo; I took it…this is my puppy, Havok. 🙂

    Cheryl Goede owner/admin of The GSDC

    • Jan 15 2012

      Hi Cheryl,

      Thank you very much for contacting me! Yes, I will change the info now. You do GREAT work, by the way and your puppy, Havok, is a dear doll-baby! 🙂


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