What makes those furry things tick??

I’m about 80% sure that’s what Colin thinks every time he interacts with our dogs.

Last summer, we sent our middle son – Ryan – to spend a week with his Mamaw.  One street over from Mamaw is Uncle R and his boy C. And they have a puppy dog. Ryan fell in love with this scrappy little thing. So much so that when he came home from his trip, he was depressed.  He missed this pup so much he was crying and whining off and on for a good couple of days. 

Now Ryan’s a “tough guy”.  He’s built like a brick and alternates between being the funny guy…and being entirely too cool for all of us.  So to see him crying like this just broke my heart.

We’d already been talking about getting a dog. Rick and I are both dog people and we felt a dog could be good for the boys as well.  Ryan’s tears prompted us to stop putting it off and see what we could find.

We searched petfinder.com for a couple of weeks – emailing each other links to dogs left and right.  Then we narrowed down the list to about 5-6 dogs we wanted to go see.  We decided to go without the boys. Friday before we were going to go on our doggy hunt, Rick found a pup just north of where I used to work in a shelter that was open until 6pm.  He sounded like a great little guy, so we wanted to check him out. He decided to bring the boys and meet me there after work.

Of course, we fell in love.  Rodeo was SO gentle with our boys.  He was advertised as a “lab/shepherd mix”, but he’s obviously got some pit in him.  He’s white with brown spots…and then black spots on his skin beneath his fur. Just playful enough and so sweet.  We fell in love immediately.

The next day, we bought doggy supplies (including a tag with his name and our info on it) and went to pic him up.

What a great dog – so patient with our kiddos and such a snuggle bug.  He made himself right at home almost instantly. After a few weeks, we noticed he was also very protective of his new family.  As much as the boys might drive him crazy, if you even jokingly spank one of them or raise your voice, he will get on the defensive!  (This has become a long-running gag in our house… poor dog.  One of us will tell one of the boys to cry out as we pretend to spank them and Rodeo comes running to the rescue EVERY time. I love this dog!! The funniest is when Rick and I try to make him pick between us…if we act like we’re hurting each other, Rodeo is just at a loss… he has no idea what to do and just looks at us and whines.)

[Let me take a moment to say that domestic abuse is far from a joking matter – I really hope no one reads this and thinks I takerealabuse lightly. Abuse against anyone – adult or child or animal – is no laughing matter.]

One day my mom made the mistake of walking in our unlocked front door unannounced. Rodeo hadn’t met her yet and he just lost it.  Hair raised, teeth bared…he was flipping out!  My awesome little guard dog! 

He also gives our boys warnings.  If they bug him too much, he gets up and walks away.  If they don’t take the hint, he will give them a little growl.  The most extreme thing he’s ever done is to nip – never breaking the skin, but he makes sure you get the idea.

At first, I thought he wasn’t a fan of Colin.  Colin made him uneasy – always poking and prodding him.  I really think he was trying to figure out where the batteries were on this new toy we’d brought home.  We kept a close eye on them as much as possible – I was scared to death Rodeo would snap eventually.  He never has.  In fact, he seems most protective of Colin out of the three boys.  He won’t follow him when he calls and won’t put up with him very often, but if Colin gets upset or is sent to his room, etc, Rodeo is there, trying to console him.


Did I mention he’s a snuggle bug?


The only down side was he would get so lonely whenever we were gone on the weekends.  We have soccer games and always try to go have some fun as a family on the weekends.  Sometimes it involves the dog park, so he gets to come, but usually it’s other, less dog-friendly activities. 

After about 6 months, we decided we should look into getting another dog – a companion for him.

Rodeo’s no small fry, so we thought we should look into a smaller dog.  Our house isn’t huge, by any means.  Yeah… a small dog.  That sounded like a good plan.  Let’s say 30 lbs or so.

We resumed our petfinder.com search – sending each other pictures and links left and right.

With each email, the dogs seemed to get bigger and bigger.  Who were we kidding? We’re not small dog people!  We like big dogs! 

And then… we found her.  Well, Rick found her. Miss Chloe.  Her profile just sounded great.  Border collie/greyhound mix!  We were looking for a smallerdog…and wound up falling for a bigger one!

Chloe’s back is about 2″ higher than Rodeo’s…and she outweighs him by almost 10lbs.  She has the same sweet demeanor he has – patient and gentle with our boys as well – but with a lot more energy!  We could hardly believe she’s almost 3.  Rodeo (who is about the same age) seems like an old man next to this crazy dog! 

We joke that Chloe is like the dog version of Colin – hardly sleeps and always ready for the next fun activity.  Colin’s first words on the weekend are typically, “Are we going to have fun today?”  Chloe’s first move almost every morning is to bring me her kong or rope, as if to say, “You’re up – let’s play!”

And – who am I kidding? – it’s nice to have another female around the house!




2 responses to “What makes those furry things tick??

  1. That’s so gorgeous! I have thought about the possibility for a therapy dog for my boy. It’s taken him quite a while to manage himself around them. Initially all he wanted to do was pull out their hair (the first dog he got to know was long haired). He was fascinated by them but not in a good way. He would pull their tails or the hair around their tails (ouch!!) or if the dog was super friendly he would end up getting licked all over his face (a bit like that scene in there’s something about Mary). It’s a maybe at this point but your story is encouraging.

    • Colin still occasionally pulls tails and I’m constantly having to tell him not to rub his face in their bellies, but for the most part, he’s doing pretty well with them. We’ve shown him how to pet them the right way and tried to establish boundaries for him.

      I think our newest addition is even better for him because of her energy level!

      Maybe your boy will be ready in another year or two!

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