Why did I say that? I’ve been a cat person for the last 60 + years and not real thrilled when my husband, Jim, kept hinting “we should get a dog.” From the looks of our two cats, they shared my dread. Not having a dog since 1977, the thought made me cringe. I was still working, so how would we take care of a dog while at work? So, me and my big mouth mentioned “you can get a dog when you retire.”
Then, he retired. Oh, yeah. I did say that, didn’t I. The search began.
Jim had a collie 30 years prior and wanted to see about getting that breed. “A collie in the desert”?? We live in Chandler, Arizona just SE of Phoenix. Our average temps in July are 105 degrees. That’s not bad either. It can get up to 110 easily. Needless to say, not many collie breeders in our area. Even the animal shelters rarely saw them.
So, after checking out area shelters, we decided to go with a short-haired golden retriever/beagle mix and her name is “Meadow”. They claimed her age was 2-3 but we think she is younger with her boundless energy.
At first, I was out of my element with this very needy creature who demanded much of our attention, unlike the cats, who seemed more like furniture in comparison. For the first 3-4 months, I struggled with the walking, discipline, “let the dog in, let the dog out, let the dog in . . .” even with doggy and people training from the animal shelter where we got her. But, at about 6 months and switching from the 6′ leash, to a 17′ retractable, things started to go better on our walks. She is a sniffer and constantly has her nose to the ground, sniffing out any and everything.
In the almost two years with Meadow, she has learned these commands: sit, stay, wait, stop, this way, OK (to go) and the usual: no, go lay down, want a treat? For the cats: Leave it!! I have to say it was an incredible journey for me as well. We have grown closer (all of us) for the better and can’t imagine our lives without her. I tell her “Meadow, you’re such a dog”!
Painting by Barbara Tibbets