Sunday, October 07, 2007

Connor, Sadie & Toby

My folks have 3 dogs. Well, really, I should say my Mom has 3 dogs, and my Dad tolerates them. At least that's what he would like us all to believe... Daddy was never much of a man for pets, and he especially doesn't like animals in the house, though he does appreciate a good watchdog.

Through my childhood, we always had a dog outside - the watchdog. Usually a German Shepherd. My earliest memory of our family pet/watchdog was a silver Shepherd named Duchess. We all loved that dog so much, she was the best.

We also had other pets, dogs and cats, and horses and ponies. But never in the house. I was the youngest of 5 kids, and you can imagine how many times my Dad was asked to have a dog in the house. What kid doesn't want to have their dog sleep with them on their bed?

Mom has since overruled, and she has had various dogs in the house, much to Dad's overwhelming glee. Dad's main complaint about animals in the house is the dog hair. And the man has a point. Our Reilly, who lives in the house with us, is a Border Collie mix, and he has long hair... which he sheds all over the house. It's an ongoing challenge. That's how we got Reilly as ours... my Mom bought him as a puppy, but as he grew, my Dad didn't like the dog hair in the house. We all loved Reilly, especially Sammy... Sammy would get on and off the school bus at Gramma and Grampa's, so he spent a lot of time there, with Reilly. Mom finally got tired of Dad's bitching, and gave Reilly to us. Joycie, Sammy and I were over the moon about it; Kev not so much. Kev is more in the same camp with my Dad.

But a good dog can win a dog-hair-in-the-house-hating man over... This is Toby, who lives in the house with my folks.

Toby is my Mom's dog, and he spends a lot of time right next to her. Whenever we are sitting together in the living room at my folks', you will find Toby in this pose - laying next to my Mom with his paws on her feet. Laying claim, so to speak. Toby is a super smart dog, and he is very loving and affectionate. He's also a good watchdog. And he is graceful and comical. I've never seen a dog move like Toby moves. He'll use his front legs and paws like arms and hands, hugging you and handling things. It's amazing. He's a great dog. And he has won my Dad over. You can't live with a dog that wonderful and not love him. Daddy would never say he loves Toby, but I know he does. And Toby loves him, too.

Dad will sit in his recliner and play his harmonica, and Toby will "sing" along with him. It's a treat to watch.

My folks have 2 other dogs that live together outside. They are both German Shepherds, and they're The Official Watchdogs. The male, Connor, is a black and tan, and the female, Sadie, is all black. Connor and Sadie are both excellent watchdogs, and they are loving pets, too. They have personalities very different from each other... Connor is huge, larger than normal, and sure and steady. Calm and smart. When he barks, people listen. Sadie is smaller and quick, fast and bossy. Wants your attention. But she is also able to be ferocious, and with her deep growl and those white fangs showing against that deep black fur, you know that's an animal to reckon with... she can be very scary.

With the family, though, they are fun pets. Both Connor and Sadie love the golf cart, because my folks take them for runs around the trails and the dogs love it. When I was riding the golf cart a couple of weeks ago, Connor and Sadie took a little jaunt with me. Connor kept pace with the cart, right near my side, while Sadie ran circles around us, barking up a joyful storm.

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