Given how much of my life is consumed by my two dogs, I’m surprised I haven’t posted about them since adopting them a few years ago.
When I say "consumed," I mean it literally. For example, here’s a couch they consumed one rainy day when I skipped their walk:
In other words, they have a lot of energy and need a lot of exercise. They’re also very strong, especially Bella. She’s an Alaskan Malamute mixed with white German Shepherd. Ripley, the black dog, is Bella’s puppy. She’s much more Shepherd in appearance and attitude, but the Malamute in both of them is apparent when I walk them.
Actually, it’s not really walking. It’s being dragged by beasts bred to pull large loads. I’ve stopped going to the gym because being pulled by 130 pounds of dog every day is more than enough full-body exercise.
It’s not risk-free exercise, either. Late one night I made the mistake of letting their leashes get behind me right before they spotted another animal in the woods. They took off full speed, tripping me up and dragging me across the ground for several yards before I could right myself. My wife still laughs at the memory of me coming inside with leaves in my hair.
Another risk is other dogs. Bella is incredibly gentle and sweet with people – she loves everyone – but she’s the polar opposite with other dogs, at least ones that annoy her. If she sees another dog she usually ignores it, but if it makes the mistake of barking at her she instantly changes from a big teddy bear into a raging wild animal that’s very hard to control.
Barking is something my dogs rarely do, though. In fact, I’ve never heard Bella bark – but I have heard her howl plenty of times (it sounds like this). The neighbors probably think we own wolves.
And did I mention the fur? Both dogs blow their coats twice a year, which means everything we own is covered with either black or white dog hair for several weeks. When I brush them, they shed enough fur to build another dog with.
Sometimes I look back at the day we adopted Ripley and Bella and wonder whether I would’ve done it had I known how much work they would be. I have to admit, there are days that I wish I was dog-free.
But despite everything, these two dogs are like best friends to me. I’ve connected with them in a way I never have with other dogs I’ve owned. I’ve come to truly respect their combination of strength and gentleness, and I admire their intelligence and independent natures. I wouldn’t trade them for anything.
But I am looking forward to them being a few years older, when they’ll hopefully be a little less energetic.