Dogs have been on my mind a lot lately.  My wife says I've never met a dog I didn't fall in love with, and visiting any type of dog shelter for me is a bit like asking a two year old not to touch a dish of marshmallows placed in front of them - it's not a question of if I will pick up the marshmallow (or dog, in this case), but when. In other words, when it comes to puppies, I have the impulse control of a toddler. I admit it, I love dogs, and can count on one hand the number of years in my life that I haven't had one (or two, or three). In my opinion, dogs just make life better!

After our dog Chloe passed away several years ago, my wife and I really wanted another dog almost right away. You see, life can be so quiet when you are accustomed to a dog romping around the house, and suddenly everything suddenly goes quiet. Our house felt sterile without the dog food, water bowls, fur, and the little messes that dogs sometimes make as they play. In all honesty though, it wasn't just the sterility and the quiet that got to me - but the loss of a friend that had been my companion on camping trips, hundreds of miles of hiking, and through a lot of life's ups and downs. Chloe was like our child, we had raised her from a puppy, and had cared for her over the course of a decade.  I watched as she grew older, incontinent, and eventually succumbed to a genetic defect common to her breed. I know she was "just a dog", but she was also family, and her loss was more devastating than I care to admit. As the saying goes, "until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." Once this awakening occurs, you can never quite go back to the person you were before.

So now you have some context to appreciate why it was so exciting for us to go pick out a new puppy several weeks ago, after about three years being dog-less. We found him online through a rescue agency, and drove up to Whidbey Island to pick him up from his foster home. A terrier mix, the little guy was born at a high-kill animal shelter in California, and was brought with his mom and siblings to Washington within five days of being born. We brought him home to Port Orchard and named him Indiana...Indiana Jones. My wife and I fell instantly in love, and little Indy is quickly becoming a part of our little family. 

And WOW had I forgotten how hard it was to own a puppy! It has been fifteen years since I had a puppy, and holy cow do they bite a lot...and they need constant attention, and they pee every two hours or more, and they destroy everything at biting level. I quickly realized that while I was an expert at owning an older dog, I needed to update my knowledge of puppies. Little Indy needs training, consistency, understanding, and support if he is to match up to Chloe in the friend department. So I've been on a dog-related reading spree lately, and I wanted to share some really great books for potential dog owners, new dog owners, and those who just love dogs like I do.

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