My life in dogs.

From bottom to top Muffin, Baily, Lucy, Rufus and Barker McBark-Bark

Three little girls getting to name their brand new doggie is how a scruffy junk-yard dog saved from his last day at the shelter gets a name like Muffin. Muffin was as much a part of our family as any dog could be. My parents taught me that a dog is not just an animal. It is a family member that you take care of, love, cuddle and do whatever you need to for – they are to be taken care of as if you would any member of the family. Muffin let us dress him up in doll clothes, he sat in at several tea parties, he jumped up for the bone eleventy gazillion times in a row and would do it one more time if we wanted. He was my dad’s faithful running companion for many years. We used to let him out at night and he would return every morning. We never knew where he went (this was way before leash laws) but he came back every morning. I used to imagine with my 8 year old imagination that he went off to meet his other doggie friends for a night out on the town. I pictured him leaning against a wall, smoking a cigarette (this was way before we knew about cancer) in a little leather jacket talking to his pals. He was kinda the James Dean of dogs. He was COOL. He also had the luck of the devil. He got hit by a car once and survived. He limped back to our house and my parents found him and rushed him to the hospital. He lost a toe, but other than that, was ok. The vets did try to save the toe, but it didn’t take. I imagine my parents were paying off that damned toe saving surgery for a loooong time. While I think they would have said don’t worry about the toe, they told the doctor to do whatever needed to be done to save Muffin. And they did. I will never forget when he came home from the hospital after that and I cried in my room afterwards where no one could see me because I hadn’t realized how scared I was that he might die. Lord, I loved that dog. The first one can never really be replaced. He made it to 15 years old, but he may have been older. We are not sure how old he was when we got him. Boy, did we lvoe Muffin.

Next is Baily. Also known as Baily-Baily Big Butt. She knows it was a term of endearment! She loved to get up on your lap and just STAY THERE. She liked her hair long and in her eyes. If you put it up in a bow, she acted mortified. She really did. When she came back from the groomer she would hide until you took the stupid pink bow out. I guess she was more a tomboy dog. Heh. She was scared of the lightening and all flashes of light – like from a camera. It would make her pee on the spot. So if we heard a storm coming we had to find a dark room for her to go in or make sure she went potty really fast. And we all screamed “Noooo!” if anyone was about to take her picture. She was a sweetheart of a dog and we all get sad when we mention Baily at my mom and dad’s house. She was only 10 when she passed away and I think we all get a sad/happy feeling whenever we see sheepdogs. Baily-Baily Big Butt was the sweetest, most cuddliest dog ever. EVER.

Next is my Lucy Goosy. She is so special because she is my first dog as an adult. She was 11 months old when we got her, but was so calm I was sure she was older. The kids were only 2 and 4 so they have grown up with her. She is a pretty blond lab shepherd mix and has the sweetest disposition ever. Unless you are Rufus and she has decided you are stupid. Unless you are Skyler and have forgotten that LUCY is the dog in charge. Otherwise? Sweet as pie! She is my baby. She sheds like no other and she is lucky I fell in love with her before finding out we could fill a pillow a day on just her shedding alone. Dog hair is a way of life in my house. It’s just the deal. Lucy is healthy and happy and will be 10 this October. She will never get old and she will never die. EVER. She won’t, so just shut up. Heh. I love my Lucy. This painting of her is the one that began this whole pet portrait madness. Besides my kids, whose births awoke the artist inside me, Lucy is my muse. None of this would have happened without her. I loves the Lucy Goosy.

Next is Rufus. I wanted to get Lucy a playmate. We tried out an Australian Shepherd named Cocoa first. But she was way more alpha than Lucy and we could not make it work. One mother’s day I was working an art festival and an animal rescue. The people working knew I was looking for a partner for Lucy. They told me to go look at the big Lab/Newfie mix in the back. I went into his kennel and went to pet him. He stood up on his hind legs and put his giant paws gently on my shoulders and licked the tip of my nose. I was done. Smitten. And I think that was the last smart thing that dumb dog ever did. Cause I fell in love with a dog that ATE A COUCH. Oh yes, three weeks later we ran out for 45 minutes. We came home to the Great Couch Massacre of 2003. There was fluff and upholstery EVERYWHERE. The couch was stripped to the wood frame. That stupid dog was sitting right in the middle of it all with fluff still sticking out of his jowls, with his tongue hanging out just happy as a clam. Lucy was cowering in the corner looking all “I do not know what the hell he was doing!! I had NOTHING to do with it! He just went CRAZY!!!” I would love to say that was the last thing he ever ate. But that would be a big fat lie. I still remember the most perfect brand new shoes I got to wear ONE time before he ate them. Stupid dog. But still, he’s so stupid you just have to love him. And he adores me. See, if Rufus was a man, he would be the kind of man that would go to the store and get tampons for you even if that as the ONLY thing you asked him to get, AND not care what anyone thought AND come home with three different brands of them just to make sure he got the right kind AND have a bottle of red wine, Midol and the EXPENSIVE chocolates. So yeah, he loves me. The kids call him by boyfriend cause he follows me everywhere. But still, not the sharpest tool in the box. We all love Rufus Goofus even though we all know he rides the short bus.

Finally is Barker McBark-Bark, also known as the loudest dog EVER, and Skyler. She is the newest addition and loves, loves, LOVES to protect us. She is all macho and tough and will ‘TAKE YOU DOWN, DUDE!’ She was stuck in her kennel when we got broken into on New Year’s Eve and boy are they LUCKY! There is not a falling leaf safe from being detected at our house! She is on it! She is super sweet and sooo pretty. She has been trying since last October to make friends with Lucy, who will tolerate her at best. Every once in a while Lucy will grant her the privilege of playing with her, but you never know when Lucy will be OVER it, so Skyler is very tentative. Cause one false move and Lucy is all, “Don’t touch me, I hate you!!” So mostly Miss Barker plays with Rufus who tries to hump her head as much as he can. (I told you he was dumb.) She can play with Rufus until Lucy decides Rufus is hers. Then she is all “Don’t touch him, I hate you!” But I loves me some Skyler. And now that she doesn’t sleep in the kennel anymore, I DARE anyone to get close to this house for a break in or ANYTHING else. She will let us know, oh yes she will! And we will know every time anyone one ever has the nerve to walk past our house, drive by our house or LOOK at our house.

So there ya have it. My life in dogs. Maybe now you know why I am crazy.

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