Ever since I can remember, the dog has been a big part of our family. Supposedly I learned to walk by holding onto the lab we had at the time, Shibby, though he died before I was old enough to remember him.
When we moved to Indiana, we got a coon hound mix named Oliver North from the ASPCA. It was the late 80s and Oliver North was in the news at the time. We called him Ollie for short, and I'm pretty sure I learned to spell his name as soon as I could write my own.
In some ways, Ollie was my brother's dog, but he depended more on me for entertainment after my brother left for college.
For the first few years he liked to sleep under my bed, but I would also force him into bed with me by putting him on his leash.
Ollie passed away from old age the summer before I started high school. That Christmas, we got Luke, another lab.
I won't go into detail, but we had to put Luke down while he was still in his prime. His situation was so difficult for us that I sort of thought my parents might never get another dog.
But then my voice teacher, Joe, found Molly in his rough neighborhood one night while I was a senior in high school, and gave her to my parents. She's pretty much the easiest dog in the world to care for, but she could still use some company during the day. They adopted Toby from the shelter the following spring so that he and Molly could be companions. Unfortunately their honeymoon period is long passed, but they get along well enough.
John and I have wanted to get a dog for years, but the timing never seemed right. We knew we wanted a rescue of some kind, but we also wanted a breed that would complement our lifestyle: we exercise, eat, and then write for several hours a day, plus we live in an apartment; we're home a lot, but not all the time; we take long car trips.
And then we looked into retired greyhounds: large but lazy dogs bred to run very fast for short intervals and then rest quietly in their crates for hours at a time. After we got back from the wedding, we went out to the GRA to pick our dog, as I've said before. And last week, we got to pick her up.
Meet Boudica ("CTW Royal Gait"), aka, The Royal Bo.
She's here. It's been challenging so far because she's clearly never lived in a house before, never walked up or down stairs before, never heard or seen a car or a bus before (except for the truck that drove her and 20 other dogs to Canada). For the first day or two she almost never looked us right in the eyes. She's still very much in a period of adapting to our life and our home. But she's a sweetheart. And she's our dog.