by Anne-Marie Mayes
A common question I am asked is “how many dogs do you have?” and many people are surprised when they hear I currently have five dogs. I thought I would share the journey of how that came to be. I never set out to have five dogs, or had a plan as to which breeds or ages I was going to adopt. Each dog was considered as an individual and I cannot imagine my life without them.
Since I don’t want to write a book, I am going to share how I ended up with my current dogs, not the dogs I have had in the past.
First came Frolic, my border collie mix. I had 3 other dogs at the time I adopted her as a 12-week-old puppy from animal services, but life happened, and I had 3 dogs pass away in a short time frame. Frolic went from a multi-dog household to being the only dog. I had been training her for agility and also to be a support dog for client’s dogs who need to build confidence. After the passing of my other dogs, I found Frolic a little lost; she had been the youngest and looked up to the older dogs. I do believe that dogs experience loss and depression.
After some time had passed my family and I decided it was time to adopt another dog. My daughter was getting older and more interested in helping train the dogs. So I started looking for a small dog that would be athletic and fun to train as well as be a friend for Frolic. That’s when Elfie came to live with us. He was a 6-month-old Jack Russell mix that was in a foster home. Once meeting him I decided he was a great fit; smaller but not too small and eager to learn. Once Elfie was about 2 he started to show some dog reactivity/barking on leash. He was a little hard to handle for my daughter so I took over the training.
Hence, Tulip arrived. She is a female Chihuahua we got as a puppy. I have never had such a small dog, but she was spunky and outgoing. She fit right in, Elfie and Frolic accepted her quickly. Tulip participated in every activity that the other dogs did: walking, classes, and agility. She is a great companion for my daughter. Being the size that she is, she’s quite portable but a little fragile.
Since Elfie was only able to socialize with certain dogs, I decided to adopt Maui, a Standard Poodle. Frolic was helping me with consults and attending training classes with me, but I wanted to have a male dog to help out as well. I had met a few poodles in my classes and decided that it would be a good fit. I found a breeder close to Thunder Bay that I was comfortable with and adopted him.
As you can see I did not just adopt one breed, size, or sex of dog but a variety. At the time everything just fell into place, but something was missing. In my early years of having dogs I had a toy poodle who passed away suddenly. A few years ago, I was finally ready to adopt another small poodle. This is how B, a Miniature Poodle, joined my family. His breeder was a friend of mine and once I met him I knew he was coming home with me. He is my shadow and joins me most places I go. He has become a great helper with other small dogs teaching them how to socialize and play.
This is my present dog family along with my 2 children and husband. Everyday has its challenges but I would not change my journey.