We have dogs–big dogs. Mika looks like a big yellow German Shepherd if there were such a thing. She came from a shelter on the West Coast and accompanied me on a cross-country trip to the Mid-Atlantic several years ago. She is credited with introducing my partner and I in front of the Capitol Building next to the reflecting pool on September 12, 2001.
A few years later after Darrow and I had bought our first house, we decided that Mika needed a companion and we had the space to rescue another dog. When we decided to visit an over-crowded shelter in rural Maryland in 2003, we thought we were taking a look at a Boxer mix. Instead we discovered Milo. He was in such a sad state and gave us a little growl when we came to the cage. What we didn’t realize is that this wonderfully sensitive, but terribly sick dog had already chosen us.
When we moved to Baltimore a year later, we finally had a yard and a much bigger house, so we figured it was time to get another dog. Rocky stood up on his hind legs and stuck his paw out of his cage begging us to take him home when we were visiting the local SPCA. He has always been a handful and I think both of us….make that all of us have learned a certain level of patience from being around him. He is the most affectionate and attentive dog that I have ever known.
Each one of our dogs has made our house a happier place. We have lavished them with love and care and in return they have given more than either of us could have asked for. When I feel pretty beat up from the day they greet me at the door. They comfort me when they suspect I am sad. They let me know when they need something—water, food or to go outside. They have taught me to respect life; taught me how to be creative in training them and addressing their behavioral issues. I have had to face my failures with them and learn from my errors. We both feel fortunate to have them in our lives. In their own way, each contributes to the joyful environment that we will bring a child into. I know that often when couples decide to have children the family dog gets pushed aside. We have always considered them our charge. We intend to teach our son how to provide the same love, care and respect that we provide to the four-legged members of our household. Our son will learn how to handle the dogs, how to command their respect, how to train them, how to play with them and understand their needs. We hope that he will find the same kind of joy that my partner and I find in them.