Sunday, November 6, 2011

Puppy Love

The first time I fell in love with a dog, it was with my best pal Kristen's greyhound Neptune. She was the sweetest, gentlest princess I had ever met. Neptune led me to wanting to adopt a greyhound of my own. When I first delved into home ownership, greyhound adoption was the first thing on my make-a-house-a-home to-do list. I remember the day Kristen went with me to pick up Dottie from Arizona Adopt a Greyhound. It was love at first sight. She was a petite girl for a greyhound, and had an independent (read: snobby) personality and the most beautiful dark brindle coloring. This first photo just kills me with her lovely face.

Over time, Dottie had quite a few health problems: ear infections, digestive woes, and paw/nail problems that have plagued her since about age 5 or 6. I can't even count the many attempts at treating her poor paws. Her paw/nail problem baffled multiple vets. But she was still our sweet snobby girl and we loved her.

I first met Dexter at an adoption event. He was a scared sweet big boy looking for a home. He raced for about two years in Kansas City before coming to Phoenix for retirement. Life with Dexter was a bit of a journey. He was clearly abused during his racing career, and perhaps before it too. He could be a bit agressive with other dogs when put in a bad situation, and was very wary of humans. Sometimes he'd be so spooked that we couldn't get him to come inside the house. Poor guy. Over the years, Dexter warmed considerably. He gave the best hugs, and loved to hog the bed.

Just before Harper was born, we stopped letting the dogs rotate turns sleeping at the foot of the bed with us. We didn't want to take chances of having a 100 lb dog jump onto the baby accidentally. It took them awhile to adjust, but they eventually did. To them, that was the end of an era. From that point forward, the dogs were constantly having to adjust to the shenanigans of their humans. It hasn't been fair to them at all, and now we have the added concern of soon bringing home Norah with all of her respiratory concerns.

The day after my gallbladder surgery, Jeff took on the awful task of dropping the dogs off with the kind woman who runs GPA SLC. You may remember that she helped find the perfect home for Noodle, too. She agreed to take Dexter in to her own home and adopt out Dottie to a friend of hers. Since this happened the day after my surgery, it was just too physically painful to cry. Jeff and my mom helped me fight from sobbing because it was murder on my body. As a result, I still haven't found myself fully able to grieve the situation. I miss them so much, but know it was for the best. The reality is that they're going to homes where they'll probably be much happier than ours. They'll be the center of their little universes again, and that's exactly what they deserve - especially at their old ages of 8 and 9. They were our kids for so long, and I am so thankful for their companionship over the years.

Dottie & Dexter, your mama and daddy love you so much. I hope you can forgive us, and I hope you enjoyed our years together as much as your daddy and I have. We miss you so so much, and not a day goes by that I don't think of you with love in my heart.

Some of our favorite memories with Dottie and Dexter:

  • We lovingly referred to them as the most "pathetic" dogs on the planet. Just look at the sweet pathetic looks on their faces. <3
  • Dexter loved to catch snowballs in his mouth every winter; Dottie loved to chew on ice in the summer
  • A few months after adopting Dexter, I attempted to take up jogging. I took both of them with me the first time, but before even a single mile had passed, I was having to literally pull Dexter along. He has zero endurance!
  • In her younger years, I'd take Dottie to charity 5k walks. She liked being social with the other dogs, but sometimes I sensed a little competitiveness in her pace.
  • Though I can't recall the reason, I remember once crying on my bed in Phoenix. Dottie came right up to me and licked my face to cheer me up. It worked.
  • Once I had to carry all 65 lbs of Dottie across a giant parking lot in Phoenix because it was too hot for the pads of her paws.
  • Dottie was a sun worshiper. She loved to spread out in the grass and soak up the hot sunshine.
  • One time Kristen brought over one of her foster dogs for a playdate. The moment we went outside, her foster dog just trotted into the swimming pool, thinking it was only a couple of inches deep. Down he went! FYI: Greyhounds don't float well since they have so little body fat!
  • The first time Dexter met Jeff, he clearly didn't want him to leave. Jeff was sitting on the couch when Dexter came up to rest his head in his lap and heaved a big sigh.
  • In Arizona, there was an especially large bee flying around. Dexter thought he would do his duty and chase it away. He trotted over to the bee, snapped his jaws in a fury, missed, and came running back into the house as if he was being chased by a pack of hungry cats.
  • Dexter loved to lean against us. He'd just lean in, begging your arm to be wrapped around him. We couldn't ever deny his hugs.
  • Dexter was especially gentle with Harper, and I often got the sense that it was in a protective sort of way. When Harper would get upset at a random barking dog during a walk, I'd always say "Don't worry buddy, Dexter will protect us!"
  • Dottie, Dexter, and Noodle bore their own track into the backyard in Seattle! Here in Utah, Dexter still loved to run, and for some reason it made Harper laugh so hard! Dottie, on the other hand, would often go back inside. She became antisocial in her old age!
  • Backyard picnics with the dogs begging for food cuddling with us on the blanket 
  • As mentioned in Noodle's post: The fact that they were there for our wedding in CA - I'm sure everyone who was there remembers Dottie and Noodle's Great Escape!
  • And who can forget the "bucking incident" as hilariously documented by Jeff
  • Though a pain at the time, I'll always remember the many many road trips with them including a Thanksgiving with Kristen in NM, several trips to CA, and of course our multiple out-of-state moves.
  • Dexter's ears could rival the softness of any puppy ears!
  • Dottie's nicknames: Moomooz (she had what I called cow spots on her chest), Moomoozers, Dotsalot, Skinny Minnie... but when she was in trouble, we called her by her full racing name: Dotsero!
  • Dexter's nicknames: Dexterious, Dexterious the Mysterious, Dexter the Perplexer, Cuddle Bear
  • Their collective nicknames: Mangies, Puppies, Mange-mo-my-moes (don't ask), Smellies (this one was well deserved... Dexter could especially clear a room)
  • The love they always had to share, especially when you most needed it

Sisters Dottie and Noodle reunited.
Dottie: "Oh no, not you again!"

Dexter snoozing a few days before the wedding

Driving to our honeymoon

The only thing Dexter loved more than eating... sleeping

Miss Priss in Seattle making it known that she hated the snow, though it was only a light dusting.

My Skinny Minnie. She was often on a hunger strike, but would eventually give in and eat.
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