It has been a week of visitors. My friend Gena, Don the handyman, my sister Denise, all came by the house this week. Chance, who loves and adores all people, constantly barks with happiness as new people enter. Elle is more reserved. She sniffs the person while weighted on her back legs so she can put herself into an instant reverse. Eventually she gives the lick of approval and rolls onto her back for a belly rub. I noticed by the time my sister came by, the third new person to come into the house, Elle was more curious than timid and was quick to give the tongue slap of approval. It is good to see her growing.
Today we will take our longest walk yet as the weather is mild and there is no time line. Elle and Chance have come to work things out on the walk. Elle no longer walks in an "s" shaped pattern pushing either Chance or I off of the sidewalk. She seems more in tune with us; when I call her name during the walk she makes eye contact now and when we meet the neighborhood children she doesn't shy from them.
You never do know just what you are getting yourself into when you invite an animal to be part of your life. It makes no difference if it is a puppy or a dog; all animals come with their own personalities and quirks much of which is not ours to choose. While we can anticipate that certain breeds will likely come with particular behaviors, there is no "rule" about these things.
Chance, my Rough Collie, is a quiet dog with the exception that he barks. I know Collies are alarm dogs and that they have a tendency to bark. I get that it is his way of communicating, but he is really talkative. Lucky for me he had been previously debarked. While I'm not sure debarking is an option with which I agree as I would prefer to train the dog to bark more selectively, I am confident the neighbors are relieved Chance was debarked.
Elle is my noisy dog. I know where she is and what she is doing by the sounds. Chomp, chomp, chomp. Elle chewing an elk antler. Lap, lap, lap. Elle gulping water. The alarm clock has become obsolete as the sound from Elle's giant yawn each morning has taken it's place. Back to the water issue, I have never seen any dog lap up so much water and swallow so little. It doesn't just drip from her beard, it pours from her mouth. I have resigned that I will never have dry socks again.
It is also the first spring I have had with this crew. Both dogs love to roll upside down in the grass and it is quite cute until they pop through the dog door, fur laden with dead grass, and shake it off inside the house. Today is Easter Sunday, a time when many families gather together. As I sip my second cup of coffee this morning with two dogs sleeping happily at my feet, I realized that we are a family. We play, eat, and sleep together. We have disagreements. We accept each others quirky behaviors. We genuinely care for and about each other. We are family.