The first time I held Genevieve, 11 years ago, I couldn’t describe the amount of love I had for her. When I got pregnant with Audra, I was scared that there was no way I could love her as much as I loved Genevieve; of course when she was born I learned quickly that it is possible to love your children equally. With Liam, I had no doubt that I would love him equally. I love my children, a mothers love is something indescribable, so when we adopted a mangy, malnourished Jack Russell, Yorkie puppy from the shelter, I didn’t expect to love him like one of my kids.
Pickles was 8 months old when we adopted him, a stray picked up in Orange County, he was so skinny that you could see every rib and his spine. He was a far cry from the cutest dog on the OC Animal Shelter website but something in his eyes just made a desperate plea to be loved, so I knew he was destined to be my dog. Now, 2 years later, he is a well adjusted loveable guy.
The Picky Monster.
In July, we added a 10 week old Siberian Husky/ Black Lab puppy to the family, adopted from the Downey Animal Shelter. The first few months of raising Whiplash were expensive as he was very sick from mistreatment.
Whippy: 65 lbs ago.
What I have learned from this experience is that their vulnerability and need to rely on me for love, protection, and security; grew an unexpected love like that I have for my human kids. Shelter animals seem to understand that you rescued them, they have an appreciation and loyalty that is overwhelming. I find that I worry about them, think about them, and can’t wait to come home to them. I found that as my kids get older, the dogs fill those maternal needs that as my kids get older they either don’t require or they reject.
Dogs don’t mind nicknames: Every parent is guilty of giving their children horribly sappy, cutesy nicknames but it doesn’t take long for your kids to protest these names but not your dogs. They don’t mind having a million variations of their name and every single one of them they embrace with a wagging tail. So, my need for affectionate nicknames is still fulfilled but I will take this second to say that I still will use Bean, Dawdy, and Scooby secretly when referring to my human kids.
They are always happy to see you: No matter what body part they are licking, what part of the couch they are chewing, or what animal they are “window hunting”; when you walk through the door you become priority. Who doesn’t enjoy being greeted at the door by happy and excited face? It sure beats being greeted by The Complaint Department, The Hunger Unit, or The Toy Receiving Specialist; it may have been a while since I have “Mom, I am so happy to just see your face, I want to spend time with you”.
They are suppliers of eternal unconditional love: I know my kids love me, I get that but it sure is nice to know that there are at least two completely non-cynical members of our family. They don’t mind if I am not showered or not wearing makeup, if I discipline them they come right back for hugs, and they adore the kids no matter how loud and obnoxious they get.
But the number one reason I love me dogs so much is….
They are my kids best friends: The lessons of compassion and unconditional love that come from kids having pets are untouchable by any other format. Children learn how vulnerable and reliable other living creatures on are humans. They learn about simple love and pure joy. They even learn anger management and the art of forgiveness. They even learn responsibility like providing food/water and cleaning up “Poop Graveyard”. Having adopted from a shelter, my kids have learned how real overpopulation is and that adopting from a shelter you are saving a life, that really resonates with my girls.
Maybe I am just a crazy dog lady but I find owning dogs has been quieted a restlessness I have and adopting from a shelter gives me a feeling of purpose.