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Women of the Dog

Cheers to my Mom! Today is her 70th Birthday. As a BIG thank you and tribute to the woman who taught me everything I know about dogs, I dedicate this blog post to her today.

Lots of people ask, “how do you know so much about dogs?” I always answer “My Mom”.

I grew up with dogs. No literally, I grew up “with” dogs, like I cannot ever remember a moment in my life when I was not around dogs. You know that kid that was raised by wolves, well yeah my life was similar but I’m a girl and I was raised primarily by English bulldogs…yeah I know.the Irony I know….

Seriously my mother had show dogs, English Bulldogs were always present in our home. Slobber, drool, Va-Vo-oo-se (some made up Italian word for drool that my mom used) was a constant in our home and on us.

She dabbled in other breeds as well. She bred and showed many different breed groups. My mother owned, showed, handled and bred champion dogs. She also owned mutts and worked at the local pound. She took great pride in her dogs no matter the breed. She enjoyed the show ring, the sleepless nights rearing litters of puppies that would grace the champion rings and the sofas of loving homes. She always said she bred for temperament over anything else. She set that as her goal. She always had a goal. She was always working toward something with her dogs. Training, showing, grooming, breeding, loving. She was and is indeed a dog person.

She taught me well. I could read an AKC pedigree before I could read see spot run. I knew what the proper top line on a Great Dane should look like at 8 years old and was snickering at a cowhocked golden retriever puppy at a B match by 10. To which I was promptly pinched hard and given the look. No dog snobbery allowed, EVER. I understood that a male dog was called the “dog” and the female was called a “bitch”. This was not a bad word to us in our house. It was a bad word in Sister Mary Margaret’s classroom, I found out in 7th grade. That began my realization of not everyone are dog people like us. We were a breed unto ourselves.

I watched my mom educate people about dogs, the breeds, nutrition, coats, behaviors and more. I watched as I could see her face light up, the passion well up inside her when she talked dog. She went to seminars before it was something people did. She drove hundreds of miles to seek out the advice of the best veterinarians. She fed raw and special diets before it was the fad thing to do. She was an innovator, an inventor of sorts. She worked with other dog ladies on recopies and remedies for all sorts of ills and problems. They were like their own little society, the women of the dog or crazy dog ladies, depends on who you talked to.

That’s what I did, I watched. I watched and I bathed, brushed and prepped. I stacked, and I grew….and suctioned puppies, and shook them to help the fluids come out of the lungs, and I rubbed to warm them, and I cried and cried and cried when they didn’t make it….and I grew….and I said goodbye to dogs that left us too soon, and those that were adopted out to be the only dog in a spoiled family home……and I watched and I learned and I grew……and I saw that nature is raw and rarely kind….and I grew and I watched as my mother adapted and changed to the changing world around her……

The beauty of it is, she is still evolving, adapting, changing, innovating, and I am still by her side watching, learning, listening, but now I am sharing, we are sharing, we are innovating, we are inventing, we are grooming, we are bathing, we are breeding, we are rescuing, we are educating, we are……

Thanks Mom for all that you have done for me, and will continue to do for me. The lessons you have taught me go beyond just dogs but it is our common road that we walk together. I cherish every minute of every day I spend with you, especially when we are talking dogs.

Enjoy your day with Pop, don’t worry I got the puppies and the dogs so you can sneak off for a birthday get away but I know you, you will be counting the minutes till you can get back home to your dogs.

Happy Birthday Mom I love You xoxo

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