I wanted to write today because it’s an emotional one for us.
Today is one year since we lost Lylee.
Last year we were in the last stage of pregnancy. It was freshly fall. We were in the midst of a fun & busy travel season, squeezing in those last few trips before M would arrive. We were looking forward to a baby shower and my birthday and the holiday season. There was so much GOOD going on…
And then Lylee got an infection and passed away so suddenly it took months for us to wrap our heads around it.
Ly’s passing was the second major, Earth shattering, out-of-the-blue death in my life. And if you’re a “she was just a dog” kind of person then this post isn’t for you. But chances are you’re not because our friends and family and neighbors truly SHOWED UP for us this time last year.
I am so grateful for the community of love in which we belong. My parents, K’s parents, & my grandparents gathered together with us to say goodbye to and bury Lylee. My brother and sister-in-law drove four hours just to bring us a gorgeously framed photo of the bear and sit with us in our grief, remembering the joy Ly brought us. Friends and neighbors sent cards, flowers, and food to heal our souls. My best friends had a drawing of Lylee (& Enzo) commissioned and sent to us.
Remember the life Lylee lived and the love she brought out of others is the gift she left behind.
I’m also pretty sure she gifted us Bristol and laughs about it everyday, looking down on us and thinking, ‘See? I wasn’t so bad, was I?’ Lol.
Lylee would have adored Moo. I know Enzo still misses his sister. I think about her often. She was K’s dog through and through, and I know her death still deeply affects him. But Lylee came to us by chance and we were so damn lucky to spend those years with her. She was our first baby and I’m forever grateful that we got to love her.
So the moral of today’s post is simple. Hug and squeeze and kiss on the ones you love- fur and flesh. Sit in the sun and pet your cat’s warm fur, throw the ball a few extra times for your dog, give your mom a call.
And please adopt your next fur baby. Do it for Lylee ♥
Time to formally introduce Bristol to the blog. I should’ve posted this on Tuesday for Subaru’s National #MakeADogsDay but alas…
This might be a longer post… but there are pictures so it’s worth it. Lol
The amount of doubt, second-guessing, and hemming & hawing that went into Bristol’s adoption is embarrassing. I think K felt *good* about her from the start. I loved her profile and I was the one to submit the adoption application, but I was nervous to meet her. And poor Enzo was completely blindsided.
Losing Lylee was the worst pain our little family has felt. It shook all three of us. I couldn’t fathom loving another dog like I loved her. To be completely transparent, I couldn’t imagine loving anything new. I questioned my worth as a mom-to-be because my heart just felt so broken and out of commission. It was extreme grief mixed with pregnancy hormones.
Lylee was K’s girl. She loved him SO much and in return she was his number one. When we were calculating her potential recovery cost (we were told it could be 5 figures), he was prepared to sell his corvette if we needed to. Just writing that makes me cry. When we bought that car we said we’d never sell it, but Kyle loved Lylee so much he didn’t think twice.
As the days without Ly passed we realize how quiet and incomplete and sad our home and family and lives felt. We lasted as a one-dog family for a week.
We don’t do anything on a whim. We over-talk about it. I overthink about it. I pray about it. K researches it. But once we make a decision, we don’t back down. And we knew in our hearts we needed to be a two dog family.
I decided to browse the website of the rescue where we got Enzo nearly 6 years ago. An 8 month old dog named “Butter” grabbed my attention & I sent her profile to Kyle.
We filled out an application, I spoke with her foster mom, and we made plans to meet. Enzo, K and I loaded up the car and drove an hour north with zero expectations or plans on what to do. Just needed to meet her.
It was a weird meet-and-greet. When “Butter” was unleashed in the enclosure she bounded over to K and I, flopped on her back, and charmed us. Enzo showed zero interest in her and went to sniff the enclosure. This was weird because Enzo acts like a lunatic when he sees a dog- all he wants to do is play. When dogs on the outside of the fence walked past he reacted, but with “Butter” he simply acknowledged she was there and did his own thing. This worried us.
After a few minutes she started working on indifferent Enzo. She followed him, occasionally mouthed at his ears, and tried to feint at him. She never annoyed him or abused him or pushed him… she just made it known that she wanted to play when he was ready. After about 45 minutes of this, her patient persistence paid off and he engaged. (Enzo hadn’t played since Ly got sick.)
We had options at this point… We could pay the adoption fee and take her home (with a 2 week trial period where you can get your $ back if things don’t work out), we could walk away and say no, or we could leave without her and think on it for 24 hours.
On the drive up we agreed that all three of us needed to be sold. K and I were 90-99% on board after an hour and I think Enzo was roughly 60%… so we decided to give another homeless dog a home and adopt “Butter.”
On the way home we discussed 5 different names and settled on Bristol- which is the NASCAR race track we love & visit every year. Enzo has a car-related name (after Ferrari) & we love the little theme we have going.
We have had Bristol for nearly 3 weeks. She is an 8 month old Pomsky (Pomeranian-husky mix… don’t ask me about the reproductive science there… I don’t know). She is definitely still a puppy (ornery, slightly mouthy because she’s teething) but she is sweet as pie and a true testament to the love a shelter pet has to give.
We started obedience school last night and she hasn’t had an accident inside since week one. She’s a smart little cookie but dopey like a puppy, and she will put anything in her mouth just to see if she likes it (dirt, rocks, a mouse nest from under the porch… sigh). She’s a gem, though. We struck gold with her and she has gotten more comfortable in our house each day.
My dad keeps asking if she had siblings at the rescue because he loves her and wants her. Haha.
Before she came to us, she was fostered for a week through the rescue. Before that, they pulled her from the pound. The pound said she was an owner surrender… It breaks my heart that after 6 or 7 months someone gave up on her and dumped her at a pound. My guess? They wanted a purse-size husky and got a 35 lbs ball of energy. Jokes on them- now we’ve got the perfect baby.
Enzo is doing pretty good with Bristol. I think he’s looking forward to her growing up a bit. She likes to randomly nip his neck and legs, and Enzo is not a rough-housing dog… But he plays with her and chases with her and keeps an eye on her when they’re lounging around. He’s still wary, but he knows she’s here for good and he’s warming up each day.
And that’s the adoption story. Did we adopt a puppy with less than 8 weeks until my due date? Yep. And while a small part of me thought we’d regret it, I was 100% wrong. Adopting her and adding her at this moment was the right decision- even if it seems nuts.
Here’s my adoption pitch… If you’re looking to add a fur baby to your family, start with your local shelters, pounds, and rescues. And then branch out to not-so-local facilities. I can guarantee you will find the breed/temperament/age you want in a rescue. Bristol looks a lot like Lylee (which was honestly one of my hang ups) but that’s because we are comfortable with the husky breed- and we found one in a shelter at the perfect age within an hour drive of our house. Yes, there was an application process and we had to do a meet and greet, but it’s the rescue’s way of placing dogs in perfect homes. Do the leg work for a rescue dog- they’re worth it.
And that’s Bristol. When you see her on IG or in future posts, you know the story. And with a 6 year old dog, 9 month old dog, and newborn baby, there are likely to be lots of additional posts and stories with her as a key player. Lol
I wasn’t going to mention this story here, but it fuels my motivation and drives home the importance of a “rescue kit.” It’s not a happy story… Scroll past the image of Lylee and Enzo if you want to skip it.
. . .
Last Tuesday I saw a small tan dog get hit by a car and die. The entire scene has played through my head numerous times. When it happened I was so frozen in shock- I just stood in my driveway stupidly. The driver of the car immediately pulled over (bless his soul) and raced back to check on the dog, but he knew it was too late. Another car also pulled over to stand next to the body while the man went door to door to find the owner. I was 50 yards from this entire scene and just too shocked to move or help. The driver found the owner, who carried the dog out of the street, and the two cars went on their way. And I just stood there and tried not to cry.
I hate that I couldn’t move. I hate that I wasn’t closer to the scene so I could’ve warned the car (who wasn’t speeding or anything) or grabbed the dog. I HATE that the dog was loose outside without a leash or a tether or supervision. I hate everything about what I saw.
…I can’t imagine losing my dogs that way. I can’t imagine anyone losing their dogs that way. And that’s the reason I pull over or stop what I’m doing when I see a stray dog. (I also share “lost dog” posts on FB.)
I can’t tell you how many dogs I’ve stopped for, but it’s a lot. K pulls over, too- both when I’m with him and when I’m not. It’s an easy thing to do and you’re saving a life.
Rescuing a dog is as simple as stopping the car, opening your car door, and whistling. That said, sometimes it goes better if you’re prepared. To help you out, I put together this little kit as an example.
Box includes: Sterlite box (94 cents), large or medium collar ($4), leash ($5), wet wipes ($3), dog treats that won’t expire or spoil in the heat (training treats or Milk Bones $3), an old towel (TOTAL COST: $15.94)
Please note- you absolutely don’t need these things to rescue a dog; I’ve only just put this kit in my car.
Also, here are a few tips:
If the dog seems friendly but won’t come to you for a milk bone, try something more tasty to coax them over. K once used a blueberry muffin from his lunchbox.
Do not immediately reach for the dog’s collar. Let the dog smell you and warm up to you first.
If the dog has dog tags you can call into the county/use their website and get the owners information. In Ohio it’s on the county auditor’s page.
Get a picture and description of the dog to local veterinary clinics, radio stations, and shelters. Also, take the dog to a vet to see if there is an embedded chip with the owner’s information.
Sometimes you’ll pull over to help a dog and the owner will pop out the front door of a house 25ft away and yell at you. Shake it off- it’s their fault for letting the dog wander away. And honestly, sometimes people are just shitty and you come across a dog that’s been dumped. (That happened to us and we ended up keeping Melody for her remaining years. She was a lover.)
If you’ve never stopped for lost pets I hope you’ll reconsider. And if you’re the kind of owner that lets your dog run all over the town PLEASE stop doing that. I firmly believe we make it through life because we look out for one another, and that includes animals.
Keep an eye out for lost fur-babies during these warm summer months.
Today is one of my favorite days to celebrate: It’s Lylee and Enzo’s Gotcha-Day!
If you’ve been around for a while you might know that we (accidentally) got Ly and Enzo on the same day, one year apart. Even if you are new around here, chances are you’ve picked up on the fact that we absolutely adore our kidsdogs kids. Here’s more detail on Lylee, Enzo, and their adoptions.
Ly is a husky/boxer mix (I think she looks like a Carolina Dog, though). We adopted her four years ago today from a friend and she was already a year and a half old. I 100% remember that night. K and I drove an hour north separately because she came with a doghouse that needed hauled home in his truck. I put her in my backseat and she fell asleep less than 15 minutes into our drive. It was raining and stormy, but she seemed so content in my car. She lived with me at my parents’ house until we got married and bought a house.
We started looking for dog #2 a few months after we bought the house. Ly was starting to develop a sever social anxiety with dogs and I was relentless about getting a puppy. We knew we needed a young, submissive, male dog. K wanted something “tough” looking- like a boxer or a pit. I was indifferent. Then we set eyes on Enzo. After meeting a few other dogs we knew Enzo was the one. When Lylee happily accepted him into the home there was no going back.
Similar to how one dog isn’t for some people, I will admit that two dogs aren’t a good idea for everyone. That said, I doubt we’ll ever be a one-dog-family again. I love our duo.
I love that while one dog cuddles with K the other one seeks attention from me.
I love that Lylee was +2 years old when Enzo came into our lives and she taught him 80% of the rules just by example. It made training SO much easier.
I love that they have different personalities. Lylee is mouthy and stubborn and excitable and intelligent beyond belief. Enzo is delicate and laid back and quiet and loyal to a fault. (Lylee is loyal, too, but in her own way.)
I love the relationship between the two dogs. I love that Ly eases up during tug-o-war with Enzo (verses giving it her all when playing with K). I love how Enzo licks Ly’s face in a gesture of respect and adoration.
I love how they greet one another when they’ve been separated for a period of time.
I love that Ly lets Enzo sit on her back and Enzo lets Lylee rest her head on him.
I love that Lylee comes running if Enzo yelps in pain or whines in distress.
I love that Enzo has the lowest growl I’ve ever heard… while Lylee “talks” just like all those huskies in viral internet videos.
I love that on their own our dogs are good listeners and perfect angels… and when they’re together they are monsters. Haha. That sounds messed up, but they’re siblings and they feed off one another’s energy- which is so perfect.
I love that Enzo’s personality mirrors K but he’s more bonded to me and Ly’s personality is closer to mine but she adores K.
If you’re happy as a lark with one dog then I think that’s fantastic.
If you’ve got a teensy tiny persistent longing in your heart to add a second canine to the mix then I say do it. I am so, so grateful that K was on board to add to our pack. Having two dogs makes my heart so full! (But, of course, there’s always room for three or four dogs… *hint hint* )
Do you have a dog(s)? What’s your favorite part about having multiples?
I know a handful of people who are considering adding a dog to their family right now. I also know that a lot of folks who stop by here regularly have dogs, so this probably won’t apply to you- but maybe it’s something you can share with friends or family who are talking about adding a fur babe to the mix. Christmas is coming and, without fail, people gift their kids/significant other puppies or kittens. Then January, February, & springtime is a super busy time for shelters & pounds. I’m simply asking anyone considering a dog to read this first.
Having a dog is HARD. Having a dog is expensive. Having a dog is frustrating, messy, and time consuming.
I am the kind of person who will always have a dog. We took in Lylee before we were married, while I was still living at home with my parents. Prior to Ly, K and I both grew up with dogs. I’ve had three family dogs from birth to present day while K spent his childhood first snuggling Sandy, and then Melody. Adding a dog to our little fam was a no-brainer. Since we grew up with fur-siblings, we were well aware of the headache/handful/heartbreak a dog can be.
Not everyone has that experience, so I wanted to share the not-so-glamorous & disgusting side to dog ownership parenting. (Please know I would never reverse my decision to adopt dogs! They are the absolute best and I think everyone should know unconditional love expressed through sloppy kisses and nose-nudges…. I just want you to be prepared.)
Dogs are expensive.
We easily spend +$500 on vet bills for our two dogs. Additionally, we drop about $23 per month on food (the cheap kind!)- plus treats. Lylee also has vitamins and anti-anxiety drugs that cost about $20 to $30 a bottle. On top of that, there are toys, bedding, and equipment (crates, travel mats, bowls, leashes & harnesses) that need replaced every few months or years. I bet we spend $1,000 on our dogs annually.
There are initial costs, too. To adopt or purchase the dog might be well over $300. Then you must get them spayed/neutered and up-to-date on all shots. And if they’re a puppy or if they’ve been in a shelter for a while you should sign them up for obedience classes.
It adds up.
Dogs tend to poop. And puke. And have plenty of accidents.
I can’t tell you how many puddles of pee I’ve soaked up. Or piles of poop I’ve scooped from the yard (and occasionally the carpet). And we were blessed with a puker, so I’m scrubbing Enzo’s crate at least once a month. And unlike my co-parent, I was programed with an iron stomach so I’m typically the one to clean up the messes.
When we got home from vacation last week I was greeted by a lovely poop-streak in the living room. Apparently someone had a difficult time outside and came in to use the carpet like toilet paper. (I know it’s gross, but IT HAPPENS with dogs. And I’ve thoroughly cleaned the carpets, fyi.) Also, last week Lylee stepped in poop so I had the privilege of scrubbing her paw with soap and a bucket in the backyard. #blessed
Dogs make messes and get dirty.
Similar to my second point, dogs are living, breathing things that tend to lose hair and collect dirt. Depending on the dog, it might drip slobber or bring home burs. And even if you’ve shelled out the big bucks for flea and tick meds (…which you should), you might find a little nit on your precious bundle of fur. Even with medication, it’s important to check them after walks & outside play.
Bath time is fun in our house. It happens less often than it should and it includes two dogs glaring at me and shivering while I man-handle them into the tub, then drench my own leg while scrubbing their bellies and telling them how good they’re being. Top that off with an unaccounted for full-body shake that leaves our bathroom smelling of wet swap poodle. Good times.
Dogs are time consuming and costly.
We are super lucky because right now our dogsitter lives across the street from us. When we’re gone for a weekend she pops over multiple times per day and when we leave for a week or more she stays with Ly & Enzo. (She’s getting married & moving out soon, though, so we’re going to lose her… *sigh*)
Anyway, what I’m getting at is dogs can’t be left alone for more than a few hours. Also, they tend to enjoy/need walks to stay sane and healthy. Also, they’re one of those rare creatures that actually like to have humans around, so it’s important to devote time to just being with your pup. It’s actually easier said than done- life is busy.
Dogs aren’t invincible.
The absolute worst part of having a dog is that they sometimes get sick. I mean that in a heartbreaking way, not in an inconvenient way. They will never reach an age where they can tell you what’s wrong. Blood tests and x-rays and surgeries are all costly but sometimes that’s the only way to figure out what’s wrong. K and I have already agreed that we would spend anything to keep our two healthy and safe. I know that’s different for everyone, but it’s an important thing to establish before you commit to a dog.
We’re not going to talk about it, but dogs tend to have shorter lifespans than their humans. I’ve said goodbye to so many dogs and it never gets easier, but you’ve got to commit to your dog- from beginning to end.
Ok… moving on…. my dogs are going to live forever. (That’s my mantra.)
All of that to say dogs are a huge commitment and very challenging. And if you’ve never been responsible for a dog, I just want you to know the nitty gritty of it all. But also, owning dogs is wonderful and amazing and rewarding and fun.
And they’re so freaking cute and smushy and perfect and fluffy and delicious ❤︎
Keep in mind I’m not an expert; I just want to inform people on dog ownership. If you have a question I would be happy to answer it- and if I can’t, I’ll find you the answer! And in regards to Christmas- dogs make wonderful, amazing companions, but they’re not a good gift. The dog parents need to be a part of the planning/adoption process 🙂