Celebrating doggie birthdays

My first foray into motherhood of sorts came in the fall of 2005.  We had talked about getting a dog since I was out of school and working from home.  We did a bit of research on a smallish dog that would be good with kids since we’d most likely have kids in the dog’s lifetime.  We looked also for dogs that didn’t shed and would be more hypoallergenic since my husband has bad allergies.  We settled on the Lhasa Apso breed.  On a camping trip in the summer of 2005, we saw a tiny Lhasa Apso puppy at the campground.  It was so freaking adorable.  I was to the point that I literally cried over dog food commercials because I wanted a dog so much.

Shadow and Buckles on their second Halloween. Shadow is on the left as Superdog. Buckles is on the right as Batdog. Yeah. It doesn't get much cuter!

Then I saw in the newspaper that a family had Lhasa Apso puppies for sale.  They were about 30 minutes away.  I talked to my husband and asked to go and just look at the puppies.  He agreed.  He told me later he knew we’d never just look at them but that we’d come home with one.  And we did!  There were two boys and one girl.  One of the dogs, who the kids in the family were calling Caramel, went over to my husband’s shoes and started chewing on his shoestrings.  My first family dog, Spunkey, had done the same thing to my brother when we picked him out when I was 5.  My heart melted.  The puppy was ours.

We headed back toward our city with him in my lap.  We stopped by PetSmart for supplies because we didn’t have anything.  We stopped by and showed our parents.  My in-laws fell so in love that they went the very next day and got our dog’s brother.

Our dog was named Buckles.  There’s a street in our city named Buckles.  Every time we drove by it we’d comment on how that’d be a good dog’s name.  And so it was.  My in-laws named their dog Shadow because he chased the shadow a tree was casting in their living room.  It wasn’t long before these little furry bundles were part of our lives.  We went to obedience school with them.  We made sure they got together about once a week to play.  I worried they’d hurt each other as they wrestled, but they never have.

The boys enjoying their doggie birthday cake on their fifth birthday. Buckles is on the left and Shadow on the right.

Today the boys turn 7.  They share their June 25 birthday with my paternal grandma who is now celebrating hers in heaven.  I think that’s special.  My mother-in-law hosts a birthday party for them every year with just us.  She makes them some doggie cake and ice-cream.  They love it.  We love it.  It’s fun.

We enjoy the dogs.  I knew I was a dog person.  My in-laws didn’t really know they were dog people until they fell in love.  I remember the first week they called Shadow an “it.”  But it wasn’t long before he not only became a “he” but became a family member.  My cookbook-writing mother-in-law even put together a doggie cookbook in their honor a few years ago.  You can probably guess who is on the cover and throughout!

Buckles was our first baby in a sense.  He continues to be a big part of our family.  I can’t imagine life without him. He snuggles with us, he plays with us and he’s been great to Lexiana.  He took to her right away.  In fact, he took to her before she was born.  He snuggled with my belly more when I was pregnant than any other time.  There were even times right before she was born when he’d have to move because she kicked him through my belly.  Now that she’s getting older, it’s really fun to see them play together.  She loves to throw his toys and give him treats.  When she’s sick, he snuggles with her.  When he gets sick, she comes and pets and loves on him gently.  When she was a baby, he was her motivation to roll, crawl and walk.  She wanted to get to him.  They’ve become good friends, really.

Double fur trouble at our house a couple of weeks ago. A plastic pretend potato is by Buckles on the left that Lexiana left for him to snack on. He's a good boy and didn't chew on it.

Shadow made his way well into our lives, too.  These days we get to watch him a couple of weekends a month when my in-laws are traveling to sing southern gospel music.  Buckles loves having him over to play.  Lexiana loves having both of the doggies to play with.  He stayed with us when Lexiana was no more than a month old.  I felt sorry for him because he was up every time she was.  He was exhausted by the time he went home.  He’s adjusted to her, too, now.  And they all have fun together.

And so, I must wish them both a very happy 7th birthday!  I’m thankful to have both of them in my life and can’t imagine it any differently.  They’ve been and continue to be patient, faithful, loving, loyal companions.  Happy birthday, boys!

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