our pack…8 years later

The following post was published on my blog 8 years ago…when Reece was almost 2 and I was about 5 months pregnant with Lorelai.  Much has changed…Murphy, Oak, Ben and Hobbes are no longer with us; Lorelai and Rainbow have joined our pack. However, the kids love for their dogs has stayed the same. 

When I wrote the original post, Odyssey was 5 years old and the puppy of the family. The words I wrote about Oak, “Oak is pretty much blind, deaf, and very needy so I try to give her extra attention whenever possible. I am not sure how much longer we will have her around..” now ring true for our sweet 13 year old Odyssey.


Our first “children” were animals.  In December 1999, a diluted calico cat named Murphy was adopted from the Dumb Friends League in Denver.  In March 2000, a black lab puppy named Ben came from our good friend and Grand River trainer/breeder Mike Gould.  In September 2000, an orange and white tabby named Hobbes was adopted from the Dumb Friends League.  In November 2003, an 8 year old black lab named Oak was adopted from Mike Gould.  In April 2004, a black lab puppy named Odyssey, again came from Mike Gould.

For almost 8 years we were the proud parents of our five-fuzzy-faces.  The dogs would go everywhere with us.  We drove across the country to Upstate New York with a stop in Chicago for a family wedding…all with Ben in tow! We went on many roadtrips through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho with all 3 of them…learning what hotels were pet friendly along the way.  My husband would take the boy dogs hunting anywhere from 40-60 days each fall.  They would all go camping and hiking with us during the summer.  They drove with us from Colorado to Oregon when we moved.  Oak used to go to work with me almost everyday here in Oregon.  They lived the high life!

Then July 5, 2007 came.  The world as they knew it stopped.  Our baby boy arrived and they were relegated to the dog runs and scolded for getting too close to the baby.  Oh, I was afraid that we wouldn’t be able to give them the attention they were used to…and we weren’t…but our little guy is!

The little guy LOVES his doggies!  The first word-like sound he made was “woof”; his first word was “doggie”; his first 2-word phrase was “good girl”;  the second 2-word phrase was “bad dog”; and his first 3-word phrase was “no bark dog”.  When he wakes up in the morning he asks where Oak is.  He loves to share his toys and food with the dogs.  He crawls all over them, snuggles on their dog beds, and loves to play chase with them in the house.  He is part of their pack.

When we are outside in the back yard he loves to play in their dogs runs.  He opens and closes the door, pretends to fill up their water buckets, and likes it even better if they will play along with him…Odyssey usually obliges.  Oftentimes, I will find him hiding in the dog crate we keep in the house for “doggie timeouts”…sometimes he will be in there with one of the dogs.  I am sure that he thinks every kid has a house full of black labs  just like he does.

The dogs (and cats) may not get the attention they used to from us, but our little guy sure thinks the world of them.  Their days are lazy, and they get to stay in the house most of the time, now.  My husband runs the boys down at the river once or twice a week…when he can. Oak is pretty much blind, deaf, and very needy so I try to give her extra attention whenever possible.  I am not sure how much longer we will have her around…she has been a mom to around 30 puppies…and acts as a “doggie nanny” to our little guy.  They are all wonderful pets and “children”…including the boy who was raised by Black Labs.

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grumpy old men

Our house has three of them.

Well, technically, they aren’t men.

They are two dogs and a cat.

Ben, our oldest lab, turns 14 this week.

Odyssey will be 10 on the same day.

Hobbes, our cat, will be 14 in March.

They are a lot of work right now.

Ben doesn’t know if he is coming or going…the poor guy. He wanders aimlessly through the house. Click. Click. Click. The sound of his overgrown nails on the floor is enough to drive you insane. He soils his bed routinely, hasn’t gone up to the second floor in almost two years, and barks outside because it is hard for him to get back up on the deck once he goes down onto the grass. His whole body is stiff. He can’t see well at all. And, I am pretty sure he can’t hear much of anything either. I wonder about his quality of life.

Odyssey has been having some major incontinence issues since late November. We treated him for a UTI. It got better, but then came back. We put him on a second round of antibiotics and had a more sensitive urinalysis done. They found no bacteria. No infection. So, we recently started him on an incontinence drug. A 10-14 day trial. We are 5 days in. It’s not working yet. We are washing his bedding daily as it is soaked every morning. And, he sneaks up onto the kids beds if their doors aren’t closed, so their bedding gets soaked, too. To make matters worse, the washer won’t finish a cycle and it takes forever to get through laundry (the good news is that we have a part on order to hopefully fix that). I am hoping and praying that suddenly this medicine starts to work in the next five days. If not, we are in for seeing a specialist for more imaging to find out what is going on with him. I don’t even want to think of the possibilities.

Hobbes. Our little patient, diabetic kitty. Right now he is just on a prescription diet and we don’t give him injections. It seems to be ok. The good news is that he is no longer peeing all over the house since we got our new floors in. He misses his litter box occasionally, but I now use “wee-wee pads” around his litter box and that soaks up the mess. Hobbes is always the last to get fed and I find him sleeping in my bathroom sink because he falls asleep waiting for somebody to turn on the water for him to drink. He gets grumpy with the dogs. In fact, as I was typing this he was guarding the stairs and would’t let Odyssey past. Just like a grumpy old man.

Lately, I have been impatient with all of them. It feels like every ounce of energy is spent cleaning up messes (theirs and the kids).

I don’t want to let Ben out…AGAIN…so he will, moments later, want to come right back in.

I don’t want to hear Hobbes meow for me to turn on the bathroom sink so he can drink from the faucet.

I don’t want to walk into my bedroom and smell urine on Odyssey’s soaked bed…and have to do another load of laundry.

What I NEED to do is…

take Odyssey for a run to clear my head, get some fresh air, and the exercise I so badly need so I can be patient.

snuggle Hobbes and just turn on the faucet so he is happy.

give Ben a “mommy massage” like I used to do when he would come back from a big hunting weekend with Ryan.

The time will come when there is not a dog to run with, a cat meowing for food or water, and a dog that is barking at the door to be let out or in.

There won’t be soiled beds to wash or a litter box to scoop.

When we moved to Oregon eight years ago we came out here with all of of belongings…including three dogs and two cats. We said goodbye to Murphy in 2009 and Oak in 2010.

Sadly, I see more goodbyes in our near future.

Right now, I’m going for that run with Odyssey.

home is…taking care of our four legged fuzzy faced friends.

the boy who was raised by black labs

Our first “children” were animals.  In December 1999, a diluted calico cat named Murphy was adopted from the Dumb Friends League in Denver.  In March 2000, a black lab puppy named Ben came from our good friend and Grand River trainer/breeder Mike Gould.  In September 2000, an orange and white tabby named Hobbes was adopted from the Dumb Friends League.  In November 2003, an 8 year old black lab named Oak was adopted from Mike Gould.  In April 2004, a black lab puppy named Odyssey, again came from Mike Gould.

For almost 8 years we were the proud parents of our five-fuzzy-faces.  The dogs would go everywhere with us.  We drove across the country to Upstate New York with a stop in Chicago for a family wedding…all with Ben in tow!We went on many roadtrips through Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho with all 3 of them…learning what hotels were pet friendly along the way.  My husband would take the boy dogs hunting anywhere from 40-60 days each fall.  They would all go camping and hiking with us during the summer.   They drove with us from Colorado to Oregon when we moved.  Oak used to go to work with me almost everyday here in Oregon.  They lived the high life!

Then July 5, 2007 came.  The world as they knew it stopped.  Our baby boy arrived and they were relegated to the dog runs and scolded for getting too close to the baby.  Oh, I was afraid that we wouldn’t be able to give them the attention they were used to…and we weren’t…but our little guy is!

The little guy LOVES his doggies!  The first word-like sound he made was “woof”; his first word was “doggie”; his first 2-word phrase was “good girl”;  the second 2-word phrase was “bad dog”; and his first 3-word phrase was “no bark dog”.  When he wakes up in the morning he asks where Oak is.  He loves to share his toys and food with the dogs.  He crawls all over them, snuggles on their dog beds, and loves to play chase with them in the house.  He is part of their pack.

When we are outside in the back yard he loves to play in their dogs runs.  He opens and closes the door, pretends to fill up their water buckets, and likes it even better if they will play along with him…Odyssey usually obliges.  Oftentimes, I will find him hiding in the dog crate we keep in the house for “doggie timeouts”…sometimes he will be in there with one of the dogs.  I am sure that he thinks every kid has a house full of black labs  just like he does.

The dogs (and cats) may not get the attention they used to from us, but our little guy sure thinks the world of them.  Their days are lazy, and they get to stay in the house most of the time, now.  My husband runs the boys down at the river once or twice a week…when he can. Oak is pretty much blind, deaf, and very needy so I try to give her extra attention whenever possible.  I am not sure how much longer we will have her around…she has been a mom to around 30 puppies…and acts as a “doggie nanny” to our little guy.  They are all wonderful pets and “children”…including the boy who was raised by Black Labs.