I’ve had multiple dogs over the years. They have all had different personalities and I loved them all, in different ways.
Barney was my first dog when I was a kid. I don’t have a picture, but he was part Boxer/part mutt. We got him from a friend of my Dad’s when he was going off to seminary and had to give him up. As far as I was concerned, he was always ours. He went to the beach with us on vacation and was part of the family.
Those were the pre-leash law days so he roamed the neighborhood on his own. He left his mark on the street with many little Barney’s and some pissed off neighbors. Dogs will be dogs. He was a car chaser and got hit. He recovered, but as Mom said, it took the spirit out of him.
When I got my S*** together in life, we got Conan. He was a rambunctious Golden. Through a breeding mistake, he got hip displaysia and only lasted 10 years. He was happy and had a good life. I learned how to train dogs and we bonded. As with all our dogs, I understood what he needed and took care of all his medical needs.
Bandit was my day pal. We picked her up from a breeder. I’ll be honest, we got a boxer because we wanted a smaller dog than Conan and a female, but we got a bundle of energy that was more than 3 Conan’s. As I think back, we got her because of Barney. They were the same color and size. She was fearless and friendly and loved everyone.
We named her Bandit from the dog in the Jonny Quest comics that I watched faithfully.
I was working at home by now. Being an introvert, I was happier being with her than people and she was by my side. We were together almost 15 years. It was almost like ET and Elliot. I knew what she needed intuitively. Where I went, she went. I took care of all her needs and she was my dog more than anyone in the family because of her.
I got her ashes, but couldn’t bear to bury them until I processed my feelings. I planted a dwarf Japanese Maple and she rests now forever there.
After taking a year off when Bandit finally left us, we decided to venture into the dog game again. I decided on a rescue and took my son to adopt another dog. He was with me when we got Bandit, but being so young, I picked Bandit from the litter to try and get the right one.
He helped me with picking out Boone. He noticed that out of all the dogs we looked at, he was the most gentile. While he looks lie a black lab, we later found out that he was part Boxer, so I guess that is a the theme in my life. He doesn’t have the energy that Bandit did, but neither do I anymore.
He is a great dog. Again he and I bonded more than anyone else in the family, even though he loves everyone and every other dog. Cats and deer, not so much.
My son was attached to Bandit and to Boone. When he went on his own, he got his own dog Raider. She is also colored like Bandit, but is a mix of a lot of breeds, a mutt. She is a great dog, but with a lot of energy. She is less friendly with other dogs, but loves Boone.
Without trying, I bonded with her also. She knows I’m an alpha and that I am the lead dog in the pack.
I know what they all have needed and what they like, it’s almost a sixth sense. I’m not a dog whisperer, rather through observation and empathy, we know we are together.
I love my dogs and they love me. When I have people problems, the dogs have always been there. I’ve been fortunate that they have all been good dogs.
Sometimes when life goes to shit, they are the only friends I have, at least it feels that way. They always by my side, without any pretension other than wanting to be with me.