8 Dogs and Counting

We never planned on having 8 dogs. Wait, I never planned on having 8 dogs. Actually, I doubt that John ever had that as a lifelong goal either since deciding in the morning what he wants for supper constitutes long range planning in his world. I can’t even pinpoint when the dog population started spinning out of control. All I know for sure is that we have 8 dogs, and we will never have 9. I’m putting my foot down!

I had a poodle when we got married, so we’ve always had dogs, but we usually had 1 or 2, never more than 3 at any one time. The oldest dog in the pack we have now is Champ, our 13 year old Yorkshire terrier. He’s also the one that John will not accept responsibility for acquiring, even though he bought him as my Christmas present in 1996. Champ must have been a cat in a previous life because he has cheated death on several occasions including a serious attack by a dog that outweighed him by 50 pounds, 2 hospitalizations with pancreatitis, and back surgery to remove a ruptured disk. If he were a car, I probably could have had him replaced under our state “Lemon Law,” but he is my baby now that all the kids are grown.

Sis, the 12 year old German wire-haired pointer, is one of 2 puppies we kept from a litter we raised. Keeping the 2 puppies pushed us over the previously mentioned 3 dog limit, but John rationalized having 4 dogs by convincing me the older hunting dog he had was 8 years old and probably wouldn’t be around much longer. That sounded somewhat logical, and since we were planning to move to a place in the country, it didn’t seem like an unreasonable request. I was on a slippery slope and didn’t realize it.

After a couple of years with the 4 dogs, Seth (the only one of the 3 kids still at home) and John were visiting some friends who had a litter of rat terrier puppies. The owner of the puppies decided that Seth needed a dog of his own, or more accurately he saw an opportunity to find a home for one of the puppies. That’s how Susie became dog #5.

Nature eventually took its course and John’s beloved hunting dog, Garth, died from an abdominal aneurysm, but our numbers didn’t stay down for long. In a moment of weakness, I agreed that raising a litter of puppies out of Susie seemed like the thing to do. After an emergency C-section by our awesome team of veterinarians, Scott and Debra Randolph, they were able to save Susie and 3 of the 6 puppies. After finding homes for 2 of the puppies, we added Tuffy to the group as the new dog #5.

When Sis’ littermate, Spot, died, John was convinced that her demise was also imminent, so he started looking for a replacement as he couldn’t endure a single hunting season without a bird dog. After quite a bit of web searching, he chose one of Jill Manring’s Deutsch Drahthaars as the breed of choice, and Jack became the new dog #5.

Many people might think that 5 dogs would be too many, but that number seemed to work as we had 2 large hunting dogs (Sis and Jack), 2 small outside dogs for varmint control (Susie and Tuffy), and Champ whose sole purpose in life had become keeping our savings account from growing above the limit insured by the FDIC. I look back fondly on these BCH years (Before Coon Hunting).

I don’t know how John developed an interest in hunting raccoons. He had gone a few times with a neighbor many years ago, but it didn’t seem to pique his interest. He was a hard core upland bird hunter for many years who developed an interest in waterfowl hunting or an obsession with decoys or both, but coon hunting never seemed to be his thing. At any rate, he started talking about getting a coon dog, and he is nothing if not persistent. However, I am just as determined and kept telling him that we absolutely could not get another dog. I was putting my foot down. That’s how Penny became dog #6, and our first pet with a disability. It didn’t take long to discover she was deaf. Unfortunately, a deaf dog is at a distinct disadvantage when navigating traffic, so we lost her after only 18 months.

I tried to convince John this was a sign, but he immediately started negotiating with Penny’s former owner to acquire Penny’s brother, Razor. I kept insisting, “No more dogs” right up until he left to go pick him up. I have to admit that the difference between 5 and 6 dogs really wasn’t all that discernible since he wasn’t loose in the yard. Razor’s penchant for disappearing for long periods of time necessitated his incarceration in a pen, so he was never underfoot. However, he also wasn’t much of a coon hound. He would do some of the right things, but he just couldn’t seem to put a coon up in a tree, and John became convinced that the only remedy was to find some older, more experienced dogs to take along to teach him. He called a hunting buddy in Wisconsin who has even more dogs (and less sense) than John to see if he could bring some of his dogs down here. That’s when I learned there are people who, for a fee, will transport dogs anywhere you need them to go. I put my foot down and said absolutely no way was he getting two more dogs delivered from Wisconsin! That’s how Nicki and Barney became dogs #7 and #8. They are also penned up with Razor, and most of the time I try to pretend they aren’t out there, so in my mind we only have 5 dogs, and that’s all we’ll ever have. I’m putting my foot down!

One Response to “8 Dogs and Counting”

  1. Renees says:

    This cracks me up! The trouble is, your foot keeps getting lighter as you lose weight!

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