I talk a lot about that boy I live with, and I’ve mentioned the other (furry) two boys I live with more than a few times as well. I realized though, in a moment of dog-mom panic, that I’ve been neglecting to
brag incessantly about how much I love them formally introduce them to all of y’all!
These two bundles of joy have tested my limits, made me want to rip my hair out (and actually pulled a little out on their own by accident a few times), and melted my heart completely to mush – Olaf-style.
I grew up with dogs, so having a dog or two around was no major change for me when LJ and I started dating. Especially not when it comes to big dogs, after all, I grew up around golden retrievers, labradors, and even a giant alaskan malamute. But, I had grown up with pure-bred dogs. It’s not that we had anything at all against rescuing a dog, but I got my first golden retriever as a present for my 2nd birthday – and she came from my aunt and uncle who bred goldens.
When the time came that we had to say our goodbyes, I was aching for another golden, and we happened to find a pair of sweet, Welsh ex-pats with 1 female puppy in a litter of 12. Needless to say, I wasn’t going home without my sweet (albeit rambunctious) Zoë.
So, before you put your judgey-pants on, you can see that both of our goldens kind of fell into our laps.
LJ had rescued Apollo as part of a pair with one of his best friends while they were still in college (hi, Oscar!) and he had led the life of luxury as a frat hound and in a bachelor for more than a few years.
He definitely did his best to test me when I first started coming around, I don’t think he was quite sure what to think of having a girl around so much. One night in particular that I will literally NEVER forget, I was over at LJ’s house with the dogs while he was at a wrestling match and decided I was confident enough to take them out in the dark, without a leash, for the first time. Needless to say… BAD IDEA. They each took off in different directions, and I couldn’t find Apollo for the better part of an hour.
Luckily, I found him and I didn’t tell LJ about it for a little while after that night. We still have our moments, usually when he puts his paws in my back and pushes me off the bed in the middle of the night, but he has given me a completely new perspective on “bully breeds.” I hadn’t spent much time around pitbulls, and while I wasn’t afraid of them, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Let me just tell you, people aren’t joking when they say these dogs are gentle giants. I have seen him crawled all over by a toddler, refuse to go outside in the raining because he doesn’t like wet paws, and climb under blankets because he loves to snuggle. I joke that he’s more likely to try to lick your face off than bite you, and I’m only semi-kidding.
Like I mentioned, Apollo was living the life of only-child luxury… that is until Tyson – the little brother he didn’t want – came along. I think if Apollo could talk he’d say he still doesn’t want a little brother, but we all know how much they really do love each other. In any case, Tyson ended up in our lives completely by chance. One of LJ’s best friends from back home in Delaware was teaching high school in Dallas, TX when this little guy wandered into the school. He originally lived with LJ’s friend, but life happened and LJ ended up taking him in. And THANK GOD he did. I couldn’t imagine a better home for him than ours.
Tyson is still pretty young, and recently we’ve all been working through the ‘terrible two’s’ together with him. He is seriously all boy – he has two speeds, and those are 0 and 100. Sometimes he can be a loner, and he’ll come up missing… Only to find him laying on the bed watching himself in the mirror of my wardrobe. (Yeah, he’s a little bit of a weirdo.) But he also loves to snuggle, and I’m talking the kind of snuggling where if he could be underneath your skin he might be close enough. Again, he’s a weirdo.
The old saying goes that dogs take after there owners, and that’s not even close to an exception on our house. Neither of us plays favorites, but Apollo takes after LJ and Tyson tends to take after me. “Why do you say that,” you ask? Let’s see: Apollo likes to think he is the “alpha” of our house, can be a bit of a grumpy old man and a diva, and loves to curl up on the couch when he’s not barking at the neighbors. Tyson, on the other hand, has a bit of an anxiety problem, is either going full-bore or sleeping, and is excited about everything. I mean everything. I wish I was as excited about anything as that little guy is about everything. But they’re both so full of love and loyalty, I wouldn’t trade them for the world.
I love our golden retriever, Zoë, with my whole heart – and I have loved many other dogs who were “shopped” for. I will never judge someone who chooses a breeder for their family pet, because those sweet babies need loving homes too. I will admit though, these two little monsters have changed my life. I used to think the saying, “who rescued who?” was just an overused cliche, but man y’all. It’s true.
It breaks my heart to think of what their lives would be like with someone else, or what my life would be like without them. It’s no secret that I’ve been fighting a tough battle against anxiety, but I have seen first hand the difference a support animal can make when you’re struggling with those feelings. The way that they just know what you need, without you ever having to say a word. The way they will snuggle in closer when it feels like I can’t get out of bed, and will lick away the tears when it’s been a long hard day.
So, this isn’t a command to ‘adopt don’t shop.’ It’s just 2 ‘tails’ of how 8 rescued paws changed my life.
And maybe a little bit of a dog mom brag session about how much I love these two little babies.