Whole Dog Journal's Blog November 25, 2013

Giving thanks for my steadfast friends

Posted at 12:08PM - Comments: (11)

I’m grateful, beyond what words can express, for the companionship and health of my near-perfect “heart dog” Otto, a six-year-old scruffy mixed breed. Our early years together were a challenge but worth the effort, and I count on him to behave well in all sorts of circumstances and he *almost* never lets me down. He always seems to know when I need to take a break from the computer for dog hugs and petting, and when I need to take a break from the office for a mind-clearing, heart-opening walk in the woods – and he knows exactly how get me to comply with either recommendation. He helps me train the various foster dogs and dogs who belong to friends who are having trouble with said dogs, and guides all of them forward on the trail, and unfailingly, back to me when I call.

I’m also grateful for little Tito, the Chihuahua my husband and I agreed to care for, “for just a little while,” a couple of years ago. He came to us too-skinny and hand-shy, quick to growl menacingly if he perceived a threat. At 10 pounds, he couldn’t possibly defend himself in any meaningful way against humans who meant him harm, but he wasn’t going to go down without a fight. Today, most of that behavior is gone, replaced by a quirky, funny, happy little dude who greets everyone he meets like people he knows. . . and if he HAS met you before, you get the “OH MY GOD I AM SO HAPPY TO SEE YOU AGAIN!” treatment. He loves tennis balls and swimming more than your average Labrador, and can hold his own on any cross-country hike that can deflate much bigger and more athletic dogs. Despite the fact that he knows only one behavior reliably (“Sit”), he blends in and behaves so well that we tend to think of him as well-trained.

Tell us about the dogs you are grateful for this Thanksgiving week!

Comments (11)

I lost my oldest dog, Cole unexpectedly, on Aug.15 of this year. I miss him everyday but I am grateful for the nine years that he lived with us and that he knew he was loved every minute of every day. I am grateful that I still have Maddie and Wishbone to keep me company and to snuggle with on these cold nights. They seem to 'listen' when I talk about Cole, and I know that they miss him, too. I am very grateful for my previous four Dobes who showed me what unconditional love one species can have for another. I came to be a 'Dog-Mom' late in life and my one regret is that I wasted so many years when I was young being dog-less. Had I known then what I have come to realize now, I would have been a much happier person and been much enriched spiritually as well.


My dogs are the most precious gift I have ever been given. Their soft breathing in the night reminds me that I am never alone; the warmth of their fur under the covers promises that I will never be cold; a quick "kiss" lets me know that I am loved, no matter how old & wrinkly I become. The ability of my dogs to live in the 'now' allows me to look forward to each day and night, every walk and dinner as if it were our first and to appreciate it with them in case it is my last. I am grateful that my dogs continue to love me despite my flaws. Anyone who has loved and been loved by a dog is blessed every day:Happy Thanksgiving to us all.

Posted by: rsqdogsmom | November 27, 2013 1:18 PM    Report this comment

I just wanted to comment on Otto. Every time I see him I want to say how fuzzaly (yes, not a word!) beautiful he is! As well as so sweet looking. I know that you lost your other dog and Otto stole your heart and I am hoping that IF my Beanie passes, I will find another "heart" dog like you did.

I can't imagine not having Beanie in my life, just the way she smells and how another dog would ever replace her, but reading the comments her shows me that there is actually room in one's heart for another "forever/heart" dog.

Posted by: Sportschick | November 26, 2013 9:35 PM    Report this comment

Since 1978 I have been owned by Chow Chows. One at a time and each a delight and each with non-aggressive charming
, bright personalities. 3 have been rescues including my current heart friend, Radar. Thankful everdayfor over 30 years of companionship and love.

Posted by: ann hough | November 26, 2013 7:44 PM    Report this comment

We lost our two brown standard poodles this year. Ally died very unexpectedly in June at eight years old. She had immune mediated hemolytic response, we think from over vaccinating. Gabby was sixteen when she died at the end of October. Though she was getting frail it, too, was unexpected. Thankfully, after Ally died we were lead to a one year old black standard poodle, Audrey, who became a steadfast companion for Gabby up to the end, staying by her side when she died at home and when we took her body to the crematorium. When we retrieved Gabby's ashes, Audrey lay in the backseat with her muzzle against the box all the way home. We are so thankful that Audrey came into our lives when she did. We cannot imagine a home without a beloved dog and Audrey has quickly become that. She seems to "get" what happened and has brought happiness back into our lives with her joy, gentleness and boundless energy.

Posted by: Prentiss W | November 26, 2013 12:09 PM    Report this comment

I am very, very grateful for my little Spanish companion Dalton. he is a mix pincher/chi and although he has his challenges (the Mutts comics 'barkbarkbarkbark' always ring a bell with us :)) he makes me laugh every day! he is in my lap as I type this and I'm grateful for every day we are together

Posted by: Jessica J. | November 26, 2013 11:51 AM    Report this comment

We are so thankful for Golden "Gabby" who has been with us for 9.5 years. I am 77, so it's anyone's guess as to who will go first. But one of the many things I will miss is her morning ritual of going to the clothes hamper, pulling out one of my socks, and making me chase her to our bedroom. She then jumps on the bed, gives me the sock (never chewed), and rolls on her side to get her morning tummy/back-rub as the reward.

As the old saying goes, and it is surely true to all of us who have experienced the company of these wonderful friends--"A house is not a home without a dog".

Herb Kaufman

Posted by: HERBERT K | November 26, 2013 10:08 AM    Report this comment

I am very thankful for our large happy pack of 9 dogs (8 residential 1 foster currently). They range in age from 13 years to 5 months and the weights range from 93 pounds to 15 pounds and they are a variety of pure bred and mixed breeds and all are rescues. My husband and I are seniors and retired and know that we won't always have such a large pack. We enjoy cooking for them and healing them and loving them and the love we receive in return is amazing.

Posted by: Olivia | November 26, 2013 10:05 AM    Report this comment

My two pups make me thankful to be alive every day. When my sweet companion of 13 years died last year he took a big part of my heart with him and then in came my healing pup who reminded me of my oldsters silly puppy years and long happy life. He is my joy. And just when I thought everything was settled and moving along in came my surprise pup. She needed a home and we needed her even though we didn't know it. My two dogs make me laugh and work and walk and enjoy life fully. I'm deeply grateful to all my dogs for the joy they bring into my world.

Posted by: Chaosbean | November 26, 2013 9:57 AM    Report this comment

I am thankful for my little Yorkie Beanie. She is the love of my life and she makes me laugh out loud every day. She has taught me what it means to truly put another being's needs before my own (I have no kids and am divorced twice), and she has taught me what unconditional love really is.

Beanie being in my life makes me feel as though I can get through anything that is thrown my way as long as I have her little face staring down at me in the morning. She has transformed my life from sitting in my apartment with my thoughts to becoming the "mayor" of where I live because everyone knows her and I from all the walking that we do. I swear I have to stop at least 5 times during our walks just so people can say hello to her and chat with me about anything and everything.

I am so thankful that I stuck out the first, really awful (if anyone has a Yorkie, you know what I mean) couple of months when I got her as a puppy. It took a long time and a lot of patience, but she has turned into the most well behaved and sweetest dog that I can't imagine my life without her!!!

Posted by: Sportschick | November 26, 2013 9:47 AM    Report this comment

My rescue, who's been my faithful companion for 12 years, Rachael Rose, was badly abused for the first 6 months of her life and I made a vow that her life would be the best it could from that time on. I live alone and she has been my family since my girls live thousands of miles away. Rachael is my guard dog, protector, companion, entertainer and so much more. She is terminally ill now and on comfort care , which is not much different than the previous 12 years. I have always had dogs and other pets but she is very special, top dog for sure. I thank God daily that she's been my loving companion and I don't know how I'll go on without her.

Posted by: bobbi J | November 26, 2013 9:42 AM    Report this comment

I'm so very thankful for our 10.5 year old Golden who has been my Pet Partner for more than 8 years, spreading the joy of reading and just being with a dog. He's made 10 moves, 6 of them over oceans, during our Navy career. Also thankful for our mixed-terrier, Maisieres, a stray that wandered up to our home in Belgium on Thanksgiving Day. He's taught me what being a terrier is all about and brings a smile to my face every day with his antics. He's not made quite as many moves as Duke but has crossed the ocean 4 times with us. They've blessed us in too many ways to count.

Posted by: Dona B | November 26, 2013 9:38 AM    Report this comment

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