Not too long ago, I said to my hubby “Do you realize we are back to having a Lab mix and a Beagle, just like when we had Maggie and Kobi?” He had thought about it, and we both thought how funny life can be, when things can circle around to being similar to where we were many years ago.
We got our first dog, Shelby, a terrier mix, right after we had our home built. Long time readers might know that I have not always been a dog lover…you can read here how I came to be one. Once we had Shelby, I was hooked on dogs. We lost her at a young age to lymphoma and that was when we got our Labrador retriever mix Maggie. Maggie was around a year old when our beagle Kobi joined the family.
We took those dogs camping, boating, and hiking, and those were some of the best times of our lives. We also lost Maggie at a young age, and from there went a little dog crazy and added three more dogs to our family!
That changed things a lot, and we no longer did those activities, but were happy to spend more time at home with our larger family, including the multiple cats we also had at the time. We had neglected our home upkeep, and probably our cats to an extent, when we were always out having fun. That change was a good thing, and camping and all those fun things were just not the same without Maggie anyway.
In addition, taking four dogs anywhere was just too much for me. The two goldens and our beagle Cricket loved to play ball, so staying home mostly and playing ball kept them happy. We took the goldens swimming some, and each dog for solo walks, especially Kobi who had no interest in playing in the yard.
That’s how things were when I started the blog. Over the last few years, we have seen three losses of dogs, the loss of all but one of our cats, and the only addition has been our Lab mix Luke (not counting the farm birds – which we do consider pets!). Our golden Sheba became my more frequent walking partner after losing Kobi, since she was the only one who was not at all reactive, and walks with her could be relaxing.
Still, I hated listening to the barking and howling from Luke and Cricket when we left, but walking the three of them together was still too much. Recently, as I walked Luke and Cricket together, it struck me again how we’ve come full circle. While I still miss Sheba every single day, I am content to have two dogs that I can walk together.
Our new home provides quiet roads and woods trails where I don’t have to worry about their reactivity quite so much. I am a shy introvert and the truth is, walking Sheba and Kobi and stopping to talk to people when we passed our neighbor’s houses was not ideal to me. Now, being mostly alone on our walks is exactly how I want it too.
I worried a bit about Luke and Cricket’s relationship after we lost Sheba. Luke can be jealous, and he went after Sheba more than once when she was getting attention. Sheba had always been low dog on the totem pole, so she did not fight back. Cricket had always been the bossy one, and I feared if Luke went after her she would fight back and it would not be good.
Now that some time has gone by, I feel like they have settled into a good relationship. Luke still shows some jealousy, but since Cricket mostly ignores him, that doesn’t seem to be an issue. I hope that our pack walks are helping that relationship, and I know they sure aren’t hurting. Cricket puts Luke in his place when he’s bugging her (you’ve seen the videos) and Luke respects that. I don’t know that they’ll ever be the best buddies that Maggie and Kobi were, but it somehow feels comfortable to be back to that original pair of breeds, and to be walking two dogs together again. I think they make such a cute pair too.
I put Cricket on my hands-free leash which I still love, so I have an extra hand for wrangling Luke, distributing treats, and this time of year, swatting at bugs!
I am nothing if not a realist, and it bothers me at times knowing that Cricket will be 13 years old in less than a month. 13 scares me a little bit, our beagle Kobi only lived a few months after his 13th birthday, and he was the oldest dog we’ve had. I’m also worried about a cough she’s developed, and we’ll be visiting the vet with her next week.
We don’t plan to add to our family now, other than the farm animals. Luke’s issues keep me busy enough, and I don’t spend as much time on those as I’d like to even now. Samantha is 15 and she will be our last house cat for a while, though we do hope to get some barn cats at some point. Sam is, happily, quite healthy right now (knock wood), we’ll give you the details of her wellness visit to the vet last week soon.
Cricket’s loss, though hopefully far in the future, will bring us back completely full circle: in a fairly new (to us) home, and a one dog family (and hopefully multiple cats even though they’ll be outdoors cats). Who knows what other changes that will bring though? Luke does seem to be settling down a bit lately, so maybe in the future adding another dog to the family won’t create the drama I fear it will. In time we should learn if he can be happy as a solo dog, or if he might want a sibling.
Things are unsettled with our jobs as well, another thing that circled around over the years. My current place of employment was also the first place I worked when I was in high school and we lived just down the road. Many years later, circumstances put me in touch with my old boss when I was unemployed, and over 20 years later I’m still there, though the end of that is near.
Starting the farm has been something new and exciting. I have a feeling that life will find a way to work the rest of it out, as it always does, and whether the changes are different or the same, we’ll find the same contentment and happiness we always manage to even through the tough times and the losses.
Jodi Stone says
I like your attitude, life usually has a way of providing and being what we need, even when we don’t know that’s what we need!
I’m with you on the age thing. Sampson just turned 13 and Delilah will be 12 come December, Sampson has a ‘hoark’ type cough, but only after he’s eaten, or is getting up sometimes at night. We will discuss it at his next visit.
I’ve been walking the dogs separately for so long, and it’s really quite enjoyable, but there are times when I really miss walking them together. I’m glad you can manage it.
As I was tripping on and getting tangled in leashes when walking them the other day, I realized it was no wonder I could never walk 3! Solo walks can be good too, and I like to do those occasionally, especially when Luke seems like he needs some more work with paying attention to me.
Hopefully Cricket’s cough is turning out to be nothing but a seasonal allergy. That’s what the vet thinks and she’s on meds now so our fingers are crossed.
Sand spring Chesapeake says
Life works is mysterious ways.
Life is amazing like that. We love that picture of Luke and Cricket in the snow. How wonderful that they’ve settled into a good relationship. 🙂
We are so grateful for that.
GROOVY GOLDENDOODLES says
The evolution of life I call it – It always happens, it’s up to us to figure it out when it does. Nice story – thanks for sharing it with all of us.
Thank you for reading, and understanding! ♥
Life takes us on lots of twists and turns. I loved having the three cats with our Golden Retriever, and everyone got along. I know I’ll never recreate that again, but that’s ok. Hopefully life’s adventures continue to be positive for you.
It’s the unknown that always scares me. If I can have things planned out, I’m OK. Sometimes you just can’t do that though, but things really do turn out all right. I worried so much about losing Sheba and how those dynamics would affect us, and it’s turned out to be fine.
Barbara Rivers says
Aw, sweet Cricket! I hope that her cough will only be temporary. I also hope that Missy & Buzz will make it to at least 13 as well. Originally Buzz was supposed to be an only dog, but then there was his little sister Missy who stole my husband’s heart..and the rest is history, lol. It’s fun having two dogs, but there’s no doubt that just one is less work, less dirt, and less expensive. Like Emma’s mom said, everyone has to do what feels right to them.
And I guess what’s right can be different at different times in our lives too. My hubby would be happy to go back to four dogs, but I know that’s too many for me. He does at least leave the decision to me since I am the one that takes care of them – training, grooming, exercising – the most!
These pictures are fabulous! I especially love the one of Luke and Cricket in the snow. I’m glad that Luke and Cricket have settled into such a comfortable friendship.
I wish she would play with Luke a little more, but I think the size difference puts her off. He has a tendency to step on her! But still, just to have peace is so important, and knowing they keep each other company when we’re not home.
Melissa K. Clinton says
The more things change, the more they stay the same. I don’t know if I will ever be a one dog person but it does have advantages. I was surprised how bonded Bentley and Pierre have become but I am so grateful for it.
We were fine with being a one dog family with our first two dogs. But after Kobi joined Maggie, we could see so many advantages to having two. I really don’t want to go back to one, but we’ll see what happens with Luke. Hopefully it’s not an issue for a long time to come! In spite of her cough, Cricket is doing quite well for her age I think.
The Island Cats says
Interesting how things have come full circle for you. We love that pic of Luke and Cricket togehter too.
There is just something about that photo….I don’t know what it is, but it’s special!
I don’t think I’ve said this before … but I love your outlook and attitude toward your dogs. I can tell how much you love them – how much they mean to you – even while they might frustrate you at times. Sheba and Cricket are tough and know how to live with their whole hearts – which is so inspiring. I will never forget the pictures of Cricket’s head barely out of the snow while playing ball. I’m not sure where I’m going with this … I think your furbabies and their successes say a lot about you – and you certainly know how to share them though your own eyes so that we love them too. Whatever the future brings, I know with certainty that you and your furbabies will be able to handle it. You’ll go on loving – and living – even in the midst of humongous loss. That’s little consolation when the loss comes – as it always does – but it’s a bigger picture encouragement when you’re plagued by doubt and change.
Thank you so, so much for those kind and thoughtful words. The crew really have my whole heart, and I cannot imagine my life without pets in it. ♥
Monika & Sam says
Your concentric circles of a story was lovely. Thank you for sharing. Here’s to a wagnificent weekend.
Thank you for reading!! Have a wonderful weekend yourself. ♥
Brian Frum says
Yes, quite a circle is has been for you and the chickens like to run you in circls!
That’s for sure!! 🙂
Crystal Stewart says
You look like forever friends. Have a great time.
caren gittleman says
you have a fabulous attitude and whatever life hands you, I KNOW you can handle!
Thank you, Caren! ♥
Two French Bulldogs says
You guys look like forever pals now
Lily & Edward
They really have settled into a great relationship, which makes my heart happy!
I love your positive outlook. Things do seem to be moving in a wonderful new direction for you, and I find change like that exhilarating.
I know many people hate change, but I really enjoy it. It’s just not knowing what’s coming that makes me out of sorts. If I can at least have a plan, I feel better about things. 🙂
Life if full of change. As things change, so do your wants and desires. If no cats and one dog are right for you, then that is the right decision. There are many people with no pets, some have too many, but if you are happy with what you currently have, that is what is important.
That is so true. What was right many years ago just turns out to be the same these years later, and it was fun trying out other numbers of pets in-between!
I do know for sure that no pets will never feel right to me! I have a friend who has been a pet lover her whole life, with different numbers of cats and dogs over time, and now she has none. I don’t know how she does it – it would feel so empty to me.