You can’t have too much dog …
I am generally an orderly girl even if that order seems somewhat chaotic to observers and right now I feel the extra need to have pegs to hang each day on. I also need to discipline my lawless approach to writing. For these reasons, I have decided to dedicate different days of the week to a variety of new ideas with the strong caveat that when the storytelling muse knocks loud that it will be move over whatever Beethoven is on the menu that day and make way for a bigger post.
Mondays therefore, henceforth and for the next while become the terrain of my motley mutts. Dog Days if you will. In due course, they may be allowed to write their own posts but in the interests of some propriety, I will take the lead and write each of their stories over the coming weeks.
Today is simply a little background to how on earth we managed to increase the poundage of our household canines by a factor of almost twenty. The poundage is the result of three newbies, not more, so I guess one might be credited with a tiny bit of sanity in the mayhem. Or not. Your choice on that one ….
The story starts in the summer of 2018. Our son was staying with us prior to moving to a new flat. He asked if we minded if he got a puppy. He wanted the companionship when living on his own and we readily agreed. Emilia is a cattle-dog cross who was found wandering in Oklahoma City. She duly arrived, aged about 3 months and The Bean swooned. This was astonishing. We had thought she would be reluctant to welcome another dog but since it was temporary I, in the driving seat being home all day, had been happy to roll with the punches. What a glistening silver lining that there was no antipathy and not even a brush of the boxing glove to contend with.
The love blossomed for two months and then it was time for son and pup to move to their new home. We waved them off and settled back to being just we three. The Bean descended into somewhat of a malaise. She clearly missed Emilia. It was tragic. She moped around pathetically and seemed to be a sleep-walking version of her former spry self. What to do? Never one to shirk from more dogs I set about persuading HB² that this was really and truly the moment to adopt a dog. He ignored me awhile, conceded that resistance was futile and acquiesced graciously. I smiled serenely.
I did copious reading devouring books and articles and decided that The Bean should have a young companion, a maximum of a year old, and one that was no more than three times her weight thus no more than 20-22lb. A male would be better since bitch fights are always ugly in any context and it seems that pairing opposite sexes works better.
Here in Massachusetts we have very little issue with dogs being ill-treated or rendered homeless. Which is not to say none but relatively it is not a problem. Therefore, the majority of shelter dogs come up from Southern States. Sometimes this is because of inherent problems, sometimes it is because of natural disasters. But there is a plentiful supply. The first dog we applied for turned out to be one that would be put on a transport and sent to a collection point with numbers of other dogs. It’s a bit like a blind date crossed with a lottery. You arrive at the given time and the driver calls out your name and you meet your dog. No sending it back. You’re on your own. We were not confident that this would work not least because The Bean would have no chance to meet her potential housemate before being required to budge up and share her digs. We slid down the snake and went back to square one. Rather heavy hearted because Wilma did look like a lovely Beagle though older than we had ideally wanted. Next we turned to one of the local shelters. Now, in fairness, our timing was off. I was about to travel to Europe for ten days and The Brains was joining me for five in France. Naiveté is a speciality of mine and it didn’t occur to me that if we offered to pay for a dog and it’s keep that it would be a problem to keep it at the shelter til we got home. The shelter were not impressed when I emailed our delight with a brother and sister called Alexander and Anjelica and said we would take both. I’m not renowned for being able to make decisions between one thing and another. For this reason I am always last to make my order in a restaurant – I dither back and forth and eventually am forced by the collective irritation of whomever I am dining with and the person taking the order and the choice will be made by whichever point of the eeny-meeny I am at at that precise moment. This in part explains why we opted for both not one or the other. That and the site of them so clearly a pair of attached siblings. Anyhow, I got rather a brusque rebuff from the manager and got on the plane to London heavy of heart. I checked their website. One of them had been adopted. I remain convinced they should have gone together – they were so bonded. I cried quietly in my seat as I flew further and further away. The dogs, incidentally were estimated at a weight of 40lb each when grown. So each double what I had sensibly understood the maximum optimal weight for a Bean companion should be.
We returned to the US and I started the hunt again. Weeks past and I became a woman obsessed. By then, based on the two we had found, we had decided that it would be better for The Bean if we got two youngsters so that they could occupy each other when she was feeling her age and a little less affable. The Bean, you see, may look cute and harmless but many is the dog and human who have fallen foul of her less than even temperament. Bad hair days are unpredictable in world of Bean and we felt she would do better not having the pressure of always being spruce and polished. I must have looked at and enquired after twenty dogs but many were of the trapeze without a safety net variety coming straight to a carpark near you on a transport. Others on closer inspection were not the right fit. Maybe they were known to not be good with children for example. We have five children and it is inevitable that there will be tiny pitter pattering feet along the way.
And then I struck gold. A rather oversized crock of the gleaming stuff as it turned out. I found two sisters aged five months old and we went to the shelter, a different shelter, to meet them. Unfortunately they had been spayed that day and were not taking visitors but would we like to walk this one ….? This one was a red coated fellow with the most pleading expression and it was clear that he had decided we were to be his family. The following evening Red Boy met The Bean and duly bonded, we brought him home. But what of the sisters. Well – my husband pretends to be a badass but in fact is extremely soft and he whispered to me as I stood looking at their forlorn post operative forms on their little cots through the wire of their cages ‘we could take all three ….’
Most shelters would not have let us take two let alone three but we were interviewed, a stiff but fair interview. It felt a little as I imagine it might feel for a young man asking a father for the hand of his daughter in marriage. I have owned multiple dogs all at once and most of the many dogs I have owned have been rescued. That may have been a factor. Whatever the reason, they said yes. People might comment at this point that we have ‘sucker’ tattooed on our collective foreheads and that the shelter saw us coming but this is a highly professional place which has been a place of refuge and rehoming since 1961. We consider ourselves fortunate to have crossed their threshold and privileged to have been given the opportunity to adopt three needy souls. So the morning after we took The Boy home, we went back with Boy and Bean for the entire potential quartet to meet. It was deemed a success and paperwork duly done, we squoozed into our Mini Cooper and took our new tribe home. And the fun commenced but that is a story to be spun over coming Mondays.
PS, the ever present PS: The title is taken from ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine’, Gail Honeyman’s brilliant debut novel. Eleanor is talking about her love of ‘Jane Eyre’ and gives special praise to Pilot, Mr Rochester’s faithful dog, remarking ‘you can’t have too much dog in a book’ – I am happy to paraphrase that as ‘you can’t have too much dog in a life.
Very much looking forward to the doggy tales!
Wonderful story Fiona! You have one big happy family and all your doggies are so grateful for your love and tender-loving care!
We are one big chaotic mess of a family if truth’s told, Gary but happy we are and so grateful to have been given the opportunity to care for these three along with The Diva Bean
Well, you can’t have too much of a dog (period.) What a great tale of how a DogFamily comes together. Your perseverance clearly paid dividends. This was impressive to me because I sincerely believe that if at first you don’t succeed you should grab a beer and go back to bed. I look forward to learning more in the evolution of the Pack ‘o Dogs.
Maxwell, you are SO right. I’m flattered that you enjoyed the story. I look forward to you seeing you as the riot that life has turned into unfolds. I will also pay your site a visit. I do this on Sunday’s normally as a treat for the week to come. See you on the other side. And cheers to you with your beers!
A weekend visit to the silly dog blog can destroy your week. You’ve been warned!
My sort of destruction!
They are adorable! Missing my furry babies a lot
Thank you so much. that is kind. I’ve been away for a long time so you will have to explain where yours are – I hope you are OK
Oh, mine were quite elderly and I lost Inga, my Norwegian Elkhound, three years ago at age 12 and Chief, my Chow terrier mix, last March at almost 16 years. Hoping to get a new dog later this year. We r doing well but our state is shut down till 4/30 at least. Never cooked so much in my life!
I am SO sorry. The pain of losing our four legged companions is immense and takes much adjusting too. The Bean was once the newbie in a pack of four and I still miss all those that have passed ahead. I hope you find a new one when the time is right for you. We are not locked down but we have taken the strong advisory to heart and only venture out to walk the dogs and buy groceries. Fortunately I love cooking ….. take good care of yourself and all those you cherish x
I do see what you mean about The Bean’s sensitivities. Our little Scruffy, though sweetness itself with people, can be choosy about her canine company. A tiny dog from the ghastly people across the road is worming his way into the household…and, lo and behold, she accepts him!
Isn’t your husband a sweetie! ‘We could take all three..’.
Scruffy sounds very similar to The Bean in sensitivities. She loves people (sees them all as potential cheese donors) but some dogs she just won’t allow to even pass the time of day. I need to know more about the tiny dog of the ghastly people. And yes, he is an absolute gem. When I met him he came labelled as someone who didn’t like dogs. I saw through it with the way he was with The Bean and her then companion who died just after we moved to France. Very kind and very tolerant. It turns out that it was propaganda drip fed to his son by his ex-wife. Poor J adores dogs but was never allowed one ‘because your father hates them’. J now has Emilia and is thrilled to see his father so happy with our tumbling mess of canines!
“We could take all three.”You have yourself a treasure in that man. When your son visits, does he bring his dog? What a wild and wonderful menagerie you have with all those pooches boiling about your feet as you take them for a walk. I once had a fantasy about living in the country and having a pack of hounds baying morning, noon and night. Life is full of surprises. I live in a tiny townhouse with a tiny dog and four other adults. They boil about the place but mercifully rarely howl.
It is fantastic to have you back in the blogosphere, Fiona. I love your real life, big-hearted stories.
I’m glad HB² recognises the fact the resistance is futile when it comes to dogs. I dither terribly when ordering in a restaurant. When the waitperson seems up to it, I say ‘surprise me’.
He knows when he’s beat! I think I should adopt your clever way round the dining dither when we are ever allowed to have restaurants in our lives again. Genius. But I already knew you were!!
I highly recommend the ‘surprise me’ tactic!
So glad you all found each other.
Thank you Nadia – we really do feel very fortunate!
My two rescues:
Link not working – I’ll hop over to your site in a little while and dig and delve til I can find them!
Awww that’s wonderful! Our little dog was lonely after our big dog died so we adopted Trudy. They are pack animals…too sad for them to be onlies once they know the difference
You are so right – it IS sad when they know the difference to make them be singletons. I love that you found and adopted Trudy to keep your little dog company. That really warms my heart. And it’s lovely to ‘see’ you here. All hail dogs and national parks ….
Glad to have you back and telling tails/tales.
Thank you! I’m happy to be back.
A great story about acquiring your canine menagerie, and I look forward to hearing more about them in the coming weeks. Hopefully you won’t be signing a post off with a video for ‘Who Let The Dogs Out?’ xx
There has been one moment when that track would have been appropriate. Thank you for your lovely words, you are a keeper! xx
Oops! Do tell! YVW, and so are you xx
I think it will be an episode. I’ve just about recovered sufficiently. It was about a year ago …. xx
Look forward to it, when you feel up to it 😊 xx
you can’t have too much stories like this
Thank you. I’m glad you approve
Oh you and your husband are amazing!! What a wonderful story and very lucky, as you will now be surrounded with so much unconditional love, not to mention the fun and games. I have to add too that Bean is also such a lovely girl to be so graciously accepting of your new three 🙂 x
My daughters have always believed that when we settle in our forever home that I will literally be surrounded by dogs. I am fortunate that my husband is as batty as I am. The Bean has done really well. Amazed us in fact. She is still her own gal but seems to enjoy leading a pack of rookies too!
Our daughter’s Jack Russel was left unfed and unwatered in a police pound over a weekend until his crying prompted our son to climb over and rescue him. That was 17 years ago and Scooby is still with her.
Long live Scooby! That is a wonderful story with the right ending 😊
We are owned and trained by three dogs. Two of them older now, a 13-year-old Weimeraner and Mama’s boy, a 15-year-old Pitbull mix. A couple of years back I decided it was time to get a puppy because our older dogs would not be around much longer and so we rescued another pitbull mix and brought the little rascal home.
Our dogs adopted her as their baby that night and started teaching her all the nonsense they know, even played with her every day. It’s like the new puppy gave them a new reason to live.
Sadly, we know this won’t last. I expect a double-whammy this year and I am not looking forward to it. We even discussed if we shouldn’t put both down at the same time -when it will be time- because a heart can only hurt that much.
Nevertheless, we will continue to open our home for another furry friend in the future, because they belong to us -always have and always will to the day we will die.
So congratulations to your pack. Well done my friend.
Oh I know what you mean about a heart only being able to hurt so much and the loss of a canine is an intense pain. I will see if I can find the little tribute I paid to Tally who was The Bean’s last companion. When The Bean arrived, and gradually they all passed and it was just The Bean and I for five years. I wish I had opened our doors earlier but it was not practical for a variety of reasons. Your boys sound just adorable and I loved the picture you shared last week. I cannot imagine no dog in my life and happily my husband feels the same way. All hail dogs and may you find the right way when the time comes with your boys. You will, I know you will, you are a wise and compassionate woman and I am so glad to have stumbled across you however on earth we did!
I feel the same way. Where in the U.S. are you if I may ask and how do you like it so far -beside the Coronavirus? (What in the world made you move to Trumpland now?)
We are in Massachusetts (about 30 miles west of Boston). I actively hated it to start with, if I’m truthful. I had previously spent the whole of 2016 here but I guess that felt like a loooong vacation. The hot mess in my head didn’t help, of course, but I found it SO foreign and I seemed to spend all my time apologising for not being a shoe-in. Now that I have had my head bent into comfortable (for me) shape, I don’t give a fig if I don’t conform. I’m me and I am damned well not going to compromise myself. But, that said, there are things that have to alter otherwise you are swimming against the tide all the time and it’s too exhausting. What made me move here? My husband, although British by birth moved to France in 1980 and in 1989 he moved here. He is a naturalised citizen of many years past. We met 8 years ago and after seeing my youngest through Uni, it was time to actually be married together rather than 3,000 miles apart. I miss France terribly (lived there several years before moving here) and I miss my family more than I can explain, but this is my life and I intend to make it work. Whether we remain here forever remains to be seen. We would like to retire back to France but economics, politics and now pandemics make planning futile for now and maybe forever. So we may find a place to settle into old-age on this side of the pond. All to be discovered and we are fortunate to be alive and I cherish life just now more than I ever consciously have. Go softly, friend. Hard to achieve right now but more crucial than ever, I believe.
I am 30 years ahead of you, so let me give you free & unwanted advise. Don’t try to fit in, because it doesn’t work.
You are a cosmopolitan like me and we can never hide the fact that we have seen more than others. Soon you will stop apologizing and you too will find yourself smiling wisely (too often) especially if you come across very narrow-minded people.
Many of my friends have not been brought up here, and the ones who have been born here, are liberal nutcases like me. 🙂
Enrich the area around you with your style and have fun by doing so. You are a unicorn ..stay one.
My husband has been here 30 years and nodded his head sagely when I read your note to him. Thank you for calling me a unicorn – that makes me proud. May I ask where in the country you are?
Columbus, Ohio (not by choice)
My cousin lives in Shaker Heights, OH. My choice wouldn’t be here actually but at least you can pretty much guarantee the tenor of any conversation or gathering will always be Liberal.
I am a unicorn myself and insist on being treated as one. 🙂
As you should and as i will henceforward and ever after …. 🦄 🦄
HB2 finally caved in and suggested getting the sisters too?! Secret softie. 🙂
“For this reason I am always last to make my order in a restaurant – I dither back and forth and eventually am forced by the collective irritation of whomever I am dining with and the person taking the order and the choice will be made by whichever point of the eeny-meeny I am at at that precise moment…” If you only knew what shade Adi’s face turns by the time I am done deciding.
Three posts in three consecutive days. You are hitting sixes, milady! xx
He is SUCH a softie but don’t tell anyone 😉 Ha … I can just see Adi’s face. I have to say Two Brains shares this with him …. he does not enjoy my intense procrastinations. Hitting sixes! You do make me smile xx
Needed the time to read carefully how you acquired a full pack of loveliness – and what a story this is! Not only do you write like a Godess but you’re also a whizzard in packing up your wishes in a way that no hubby could twiddle out once you have set your eyes and mind on a few more rescue puppies…. Well done you. You are a sweet couple.
Dogs reign supremely and I can(not) imagine the riot they create in your home. I do wonder though how this will go down once you might want to come back to France?! If ever you do?! If they let you back in or in your case ‘out’ of the US….. for the time being you seem to cater beautifully with your lot of furry happiness and I do envy you just a tiny little bit. Our wish for a dog once more in our life is still only a wish – but once this period of indecision and nightmare will be over, we’ll talk again.
Once you’ve decided to write again, you do – and how you do! So well done – I’m so pleased to see such an output in my mail. Thank You.
Thank you KiKi you are far far too kind. My husband is also very kind hearted and it is true that I know how to bring out the soft side … I do hope that when the world settles back to some semblance of normality that you will be able to have a dog (or dogs) again. We are not planning anything at the moment. Events have surely conspired to put a stop to pretty much everyone’s plans. There will be a mail from me sometime in the coming days. I just need to focus on the blog for a while to get my discipline back! I’m very glad that you are enjoying the posts. You are a great friend to have x
I have never had more than one dog at a time… and, sadly, I have none at the moment. I do agree, however, that YOU can’t have too much dog! You, your hubby and The Bean seem to be made for it! Congrats on your one big happy family!
My therapist remarked that at least we are both exceessive! Now that I am back on track, I do see what she meant …. seriously, we are just soppy, soft hearted fools but we do no harm and the dogs have a good and loving home. I’m always happy to see you here. Thank you!
So many things to say, so many ways to go with my comment, but I’ll limit it to this: You have a heart of brilliant gold.
Thank you, Brian. It’s a soft old heart, that’s for sure. And a bonkers brain.
The last photo is beyond wonderful! Any plans of framing it?
We have a framed photo of our beloved, sadly departed, Freckles in our living room with the other family photos. Because, well, of course! 🐶🐕🐾
As you absolutely should. I hadn’t thought of framing that one but I do have one that The Brains framed as a Mother’s Day gift from them last year. All four in their winter coats. Have you got another dog? Please tell me you have …. not a replacement for Freckles because, not possible but just because, just, dog 🐕
What an odyssee! 😄 And what a wonderful thing to say by your husband that you could take them all… a true badass. 😉 The Bean looks as cute as ever and I look forward to hear more about Red Boy (whom I’m officially in love with) and the sisters! 😄 xxx
The Red Boy is very happy to hear that …. he’s a real ladies man!! Xxx
Your dogs are beautiful and full of spirit Osyth. I have missed you dearly, i hope you are staying safe. God bless you
Gastro! They are lovely. A handful but lovely. Much as I imagine myself to be 😊 It is truly lovely to be missed – I’ve missed you too. I am being sensible to the point of stultifyingly dull in my quest to stay safe and I trust you are too. I send you my warmest wishes and great strength 🙏
So good to hear from you, God bless
I am only just now catching up with all your lovely posts. Pets, and dogs in particular, are such a solace during difficult times. How wonderful that you took all three! I’m sure they will give you great pleasure and affection.
They forced me to stop dwelling on myself. They certainly provided the comfort cushion I needed and now we can’t imagine life without a full cohort of canines. The move back to France will be interesting …. I have nightmares wondering how to manage the logistics of getting from Paris to the Auvergne Rhône Alpes with jet lag and four dogs (though The Bean is a pro at travelling so she can be navigator)
Animals certainly take you out of yourself and are non-judgmental. Except for cats, maybe…The Bean is a traveller par excellence. She will have to instruct the others.
I think she feel her role in life is to instruct the others – how successfully remains to be seen!
I got a dog about a year and a half ago and I am so glad during this social distancing to have my little furry friend to pass the time with me. Stay safe and thanks for the posting.
Great Post and great pictures. I am the owner of a Japanese Sptiz called Louis. Louis and and I talk a lot. I wrote an article a while ago titled “The Art of Living From a Dog’s perspective’ – https://authorjoannereed.net/the-art-of-living-from-a-dogs-perspective/. Feel free to check it out!
Hi Joanne! Thanks so much for dropping by and taking the time to comment. I will certainly check your article out and meanwhile wish you and Louis the Spitz all the best. Stay safe and well and take your cues from the canines! 🐾 🐾