Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The dogs of our lives

Happy hump day, peeps! How's the week going for you so far? We've had a couple low-key days thanks to poor Callum cutting his two-year molars. Teething has never seemed to bother him too much in the past, but these guys are coming in with a vengeance! It's been a few days of bad sleep, high fevers, and just an out-of-sorts Callum. Last night, during one of the 100 times he woke up, he was just moaning and holding his cheeks. I feel so bad for the poor guy. I hope those buggers come in quickly and I get my Callum back.

In other news, today is National Dog Day! In celebration, I thought I'd share a few words about our fur babies, Jax and George. After all, we totally consider them a part of our family. I am absolutely crazy about dogs in general, but especially our dogs.

A few fun facts about raising your kids with dogs: Research shows that children who grow up with pets get sick less and have fewer allergies, have higher self-esteem (thanks to the constant love dogs provide), and help to teach patience, kindness, and responsibility. Not, too mention, they are built in best friends.

George and Jax.

Matt and I adopted Jax from the Wisconsin Humane Society in April of 2010. He was just under a year old, and had been surrendered by another family for his high energy level. Let me tell you: high energy level was an understatement. He had actually been at the Humane Society for quite some time. They had been promoting him online and even in local newspapers, and they were offering a steep discount on his adoption fee.

The day Matt and I went to meet him, the adoption counselor escorted us to the very last hall of the kennels, and to the very last room. Our poor Jax (Polo at the time of his adoption), was way in the back. I will never forget walking into the room to meet him and he literally jumped all over us. He was crazy. Absolutely nuts. And, clearly, we were too, because we brought him home. On the way home, crazy Jax chewed right through the leash. We should've taken that as a sign.

When we first adopted Jax, he required so much work. He needed to be run in the mornings and nights,  or else he would just go crazy. I remember taking him the dog park one evening, and someone commented that he must not have been to the park in months. My response, "I was actually here with him this morning." That's how nuts he was.

Jax has always been an anxious dog: very jumpy, he always has to be near you, and wouldn't eat his food if he knew we were leaving for work. When I was pregnant with Callum, his anxiety increased ten fold. It's like he knew something was up, but he couldn't tell what it was. When we would leave him alone at home, he started to become destructive. He chewed and scratched at the wooden doors and windows in our house. He would bark the entire time we were gone. The poor guy was just so anxious.

The first time Jax met Callum.

Then, Callum was born, and that all stopped. Jax has always been amazing with Callum. When Callum was really tiny, Jax would just lay by him, watching over. Now that Callum is in his face almost all the time, Jax simply walks away if he doesn't want to be bothered.

With Callum in the picture, Jax obviously received a less attention in our house. We no longer had the time to take him to the dog park everyday. We had a baby to take care of, and, unfortunately, he just took the back seat. I felt so guilty about this constantly. When Callum was a year old, we decided to start fostering dogs with Tailwaggers 911 in hopes of figuring out whether we wanted to adopt a second dog or not.

I loved fostering dogs! Every single dog that came in to our house was absolutely amazing. That being said, fostering dogs did not come without its challenges. Every time a new dog came to your house, it basically had to be trained from scratch. But, let me tell you, it was always, always worth it. 

Then, in October of last year, George arrived at our house as a foster. Just like Jax, George was a crazy ball of energy and was always going, going, going. When he was at a previous foster home, he actually managed to escape through their bathroom window! He's Houdini.  The first few days we had him at our house, I actually requested that he be transferred to a new home. I was encouraged to wait it out, and I am so, so glad we did.

After a few weeks in our home, we realized that George was the dog for his. Jax and George were instant best friends. In fact, George was almost adopted once while we had him. He was gone for one night, and there was a huge mood change from Jax. When George returned, Jax was the happiest I've ever seen him. Since adding George to our family, you can definitely see a huge mood switch in Jax. He is more at ease, is braver with everything, and always eats his food. He just seems to be a much happier dog.

With the addition of George, we sadly decided to take a step back from fostering. Now, we only foster dogs for a very short period because two dogs and a toddler are enough excitement for me right now. But, if you've ever considered fostering dogs, I can not say enough good things about Tailwaggers. If you have any questions about fostering, shoot me a message and I'd be happy to talk to you about it.

Jax and George couldn't be more different from each other. George loves toys, while Jax could do without them. Jax could run for hours, while George will make it like 10 minutes (unless he's playing tennis ball, then he could go for hours). George loves swimming, while Jax hates it. We sometimes joke that if we took both of their good qualities and put it in to one dog, we'd have the best dog ever.

I have really loved being able to watch Callum grow up with the dogs. "Dog" was actually his first word. They are usually the first thing he asks for when he wakes up in the morning. He always wants to be where they are. In fact, he has even begun to help us feed them each day. They are his brothers.

So, our lives would be not the same without our dogs. They make each and every day brighter and always provide the perfect pick-me-up when we're having a bad day. Plus, they are good for comic relief. Jax and George have had such a positive impact on my life, and I can honestly say I am a kinder, more patient human because of them.

Happy National Dog Day! If you have a fur baby in your house, go give that dog a snuggle for me. 

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