OUR CANINE FAMILY – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I haven’t written about our dogs in a while. That’s unusual for me because they are such a big part of our lives.

Our two rescue dogs are my constant companions, or nearly constant. More often than not, wherever I am, they are too. But, they each have favorite spots around the house that they like to go to hang out on their own. So sometimes Tom and I will realize that we humans are the only living beings in the room. When that happens, we usually get up and go looking for our furry pals. I’m embarrassed to admit that we often try to cajole them to come back and hang out with us again.

Lexi

Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. I like that independent streak in our pets. Especially with Lexi, our eight year old. She is generally too attached and dependent on me and has separation issues. She is usually my shadow so I’m thrilled when she goes into another room on her own. It has taken years to get her to this point.

Remy

Our two-year old, Remy, is much more independent. But she is such a lover and a cuddler! She is one of the happiest dogs I’ve ever known. She greets us each morning with sheer joy! She is so thrilled to see us again after a long night. It almost feels like she is excited and grateful to see that we’re still here and so is she. I believe that most rescue dogs have a deep sense of gratitude for being rescued. And also a great appreciation for being part of a family. I see that clearly in Remy, who was eight months old when we got her.

Remy playing cards with one of our friends

Remy exudes doggie charisma. Everyone loves her instantly. People sense her sweetness and take to her like bees to honey. She sits next to our friends and cuddles with them. She paws them gently to get them to pet her. She rests her head on their arm or thigh. She sniffs and occasionally licks their faces and hands. She just charms the pants off of everyone she meets.

Sometimes I feel bad for Lexi. She is a shyer and more obviously neurotic dog. So people don’t realize right away how special she is. But once she warms up to you, she is truly awesome. She is very interactive with people. And she is the most verbally communicative dog I’ve ever had. She ‘talks’ – not just barks. She has a wide vocabulary of distinctive sounds and she responds verbally when you talk to her. It’s delightful to have ‘conversations’ with her.

Lexi, like Remy, as also very affectionate. She elicits attention from people with her paws and her voice. She drapes herself over people she’s comfortable with. Sometimes Remy is sitting next to me so there’s no room for Lexi at my side. But that doesn’t stop Lexi! If she wants to cuddle with me, she’ll just climb over Remy and onto my lap. Or she will climb onto the sofa cushion BEHIND me and wrap herself around my neck. Very creative cuddling!

Remy’s favored modes of verbalization are whining as well as barking. I’ve never had a whiner before. Apparently it’s a breed trait of the Red Boned Coon Hound, which seems to be part of Remy’s DNA. (She also looks similar to dogs of that breed and shares their unique and beautiful color).

Her whining can get really high-pitched and shrill, not her best feature. We’re much happier when she just barks at us. But to get Tom to play with her, she whines. She starts softly and then escalates into shrieks if Tom dares to ignore her. This tactic usually works to motivate Tom to get up and take the dogs into the backyard. Or to run around the house with both dogs frantically chasing him and barking with glee.

Both dogs are still skittish, as are many rescue dogs. They startle at sudden noises or movements. They bark frantically when people come into the house and it takes them a while to calm down. Even when we come home after being out for a while, they greet us with frenzied squealing and barking and crazed jumping and running around. They’re a bit over the top, but we enjoy our enthusiastic greetings whenever we walk into the house. It’s a family ritual.

Our dogs sleep in bed with us. All our dogs have. Like most dogs, Lexi and Remy have nighttime rituals they follow religiously. When we first go to bed, Remy lies between Tom and me and cuddles with both of us, in turn. Lexi curls up against my legs or feet. Then at some point towards morning, the dogs switch places. Lexi ends up cuddling with me and Remy takes up her place at my feet or up against Tom.

Sometimes when we get up to go to the bathroom during the night, we get back to find little or no room for us on the bed. We have to push and prod the dogs to get them to move over and create a viable, albeit small, space for us.

Remy sleeping with Tom

In the morning, when the dogs sense we’re getting ready to get up, they pounce on us. Lots of licks and nuzzles. They climb all over Tom and lick him until he finally gets out of bed. What a great wake up call. We start the day with a big dose of love and enthusiasm! Lots of joyful wiggles and wags!

We get out of bed smiling and laughing – which says a lot. We DO NOT like getting out of bed in the mornings!

Dogs playing

We don’t have grandchildren, so maybe that’s a factor in our obsession with our dogs. But, whatever the reason, we love our human/canine family. They fill our days with laughter and love. They provide entertainment and affection. They make us happy. And we can’t imagine living any other way!

19 thoughts on “OUR CANINE FAMILY – BY ELLIN CURLEY”

    1. Aren’t they friggin adorable! I know everyone thinks their own dogs are the best, but everyone loves my dogs! So I’m not crazy and biased. They are awesome!

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      1. Lexi and Remy are OFF the cute-o-meter chart.
        You’re lucky they give you some room in bed.
        Lexi is like our Duke who’s our constant shadow. Duke is literally on my heels when I head towards the kitchen and another possible biscuit.
        Duke, Bonnie and Gibbs stage their version of wrestle-mania, EVERY night, as we sit down to eat. No entertainment charge. Biscuits maybe?
        Our furry kids light up our darkest days. They know this.

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    1. We never want to be without dogs either. We have actually talked to our kids and made sure that when our dogs eventually outlive us, that they will be taken in and cared for like royalty! Our kids are serious dog people so it shouldn’t be a problem. But as I’m getting older, it is something I worry about.

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  1. I love the photo of Remy ‘playing cards.’ They are both so sweet. I am amazed at people who are shocked that I had our dogs and cats sleep with us. I mean….why would you not??!! Wonderful photos, Ellin.

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    1. Some people are appaled that we sleep with our dogs. Some people don’t even let their dogs up on the furniture. It’s their house too. I know some dogs love their doggie beds, but I like sharing all my spaces with my guys. It’s the petting and cuddling that I love so much about having dogs. I do get testy sometimes when I have to fight for a few inches of bed space or covers, but it’s worth it in the end. We always work it out together.

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  2. Our three range from completely normal — for a terrier that is — to more than a little weird. But no one could call them dull. They are forever lively and keep us lively too! I love your dogs, by the way!

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    1. You’re lucky you have lively dogs who keep you active and entertained and occupied. I would never want a dull couch potato dog who just sits at my feet quietly. I’m not sure that breed of dog actually exists. We like dealing with interesting and quirky dogs. I guess I think of myself as interesting and quirky, so that makes sense.

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      1. A friend of mine is seriously into King Charles Spaniels, but they are much too docile and velcro-ish for me. I don’t really WANT dogs who cling. I like watching them play and relate to each other, too. But you know, everyone likes what they like. Terriers are the quirkiest dogs I know of … except maybe for hounds who are downright weird. My very favorite crazy ass dogs were hounds, but a combo of hounds and terriers? Doesn’t that sound like an English Pub?

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    1. Thank you! We find them endlessly amusing and adorable! At first we weren’t sure that Lexi would accept Remy. But after the first day, they became pals and have been a great pair ever since. They don’t play and run around as much now that Remy is past puppyhood. But they are together a lot and interact all the time. They are usually touching each other in some way or nuzzling. It is sweet to watch them together.

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    1. That card playing photo is awesome! I was so lucky to catch just the right moment! It really looks like she’s analyzing her hand! Our friends are so good with our dogs. They are mostly dog people too. So they are good about sharing the sofa with the dogs and even playing cards with them! Lexi and Remy are a wonderful pair now. They spend a lot of time together and very often are touching in some way. They go exploring outside together and bark furiously at nothing together. And they always sleep near each other if not actually touching. It is wonderful to watch their relationship evolve over time.

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