I love all animals, and I’m a big marshmallow when it comes to anything on four legs. I even apologize when I kill spiders. I never killed spiders until I moved to AZ, where we have more poisonous things than I know what to do with.
While I love animals, I’m a dog person. Other dog people will understand that there’s nothing in the world like a dog.
My parents had a dog when I was born, a big German Shepherd prankster, but he unfortunately died when I was very young, and I don’t remember him well. My first dog was Charlie, and we got him from the shelter when I was 10. I don’t know why someone gave him up, but he was some sort of lab mix with all the friendliness (and dumbness) that goes along with the breed. We got him in the fall, and I had just raked a big pile of leaves. Charlie and I dived in the leaves together, and he became my companion until I had to put him down when I was 20.
A few years later, I got Lucy, a lab puppy from the shelter. I didn’t housebreak her; my mom did, and Lucy became my mom’s dog, following her everywhere. Since my mom had a dog and I had a dog, that meant my dad needed one too. Back to the shelter, and he came home with a big, grouchy German Shepherd named Effie. She was the first German Shepherd I knew, and that started my love affair with the breed.
After Charlie died, I was at loose ends without a dog, so a few years later, I went to the shelter and found “Cassie.” She was a 9 month old German Shepherd, and the sweetest dog I’ve ever met. At first, I thought her nose was too long and she was way too skinny. Now I measure other German Shepherds by her. She’s perfect the way she is, though we never could put any weight on her. She’s 14 now, and hobbles around with a grin on her face. She’s just not ready to give up on life yet!
When I moved out with my husband, he wasn’t a dog fan, no matter what he told me when we were dating! He knew how much it meant to me to have a dog, so when friends of ours had a pregnant dog, he finally gave the go-ahead for a puppy. Midnight is a lab-dalmation-german shepherd- collie mix. She was the runt of the litter, the last one out, and they had to pop the sac she was in. Because my friends didn’t really take care of the puppies, I took her from them at 5 weeks old. She’s got definite attachment issues with me, but I couldn’t ask for a more loyal friend.
Years later, my husband finally decided he wanted a dog of his own. When his boss talked about the pregnant German Shepherd stray they were fostering, we knew it was go-time. We picked our puppy, adopted her from the shelter, and brought her home without a name. (They were calling her “Flower.”) One night, my husband was watching his favorite movie, Aliens, and when an alien came onscreen, our cute little puppy barked like she’d rip that alien apart. We’ve called her Ripley ever since.