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Monday, October 22, 2012

For the love of dog: It’s the size of the heart that matters

WARNING:  This post may overwhelm you with sappy, sugary, sweetness. I unapologetically state that I will gush and brag and proclaim all kinds of sweet love for my little pooch. If you aren’t a dog lover, this post is NOT for you. Keep moving on and read some of my other posts.

I love my dog!  I mean, I really, really love him. His name is Angus, and he is my little, eight pound bundle of miniature poodle sweetness. He is the smallest dog I’ve ever had, as the other dogs in my life, two German Shepherds and a mixed breed, were giants compared to this little dynamo. 
I used to love the big breeds. They just appealed to me because of their physical presence and noble look. I had a few amazing dogs- smart, sweet, and very protective. But five years after the last one passed away, I decided I needed a change. I decided to go with a small dog, one that was easier, more portable, and required less maintenance.

I certainly wasn’t aware of how much personality, exuberance, and joie de vivre a little dog can bring to a family! Maybe it is because my children are now grown and this little guy is so affectionate and adoring!! Sometimes I feel like he will burst with love for all of us. He has such a great temperament- never fussy, grouchy, or unhappy, and has connected with us in a way I have never experienced. My previous dogs were all very obedient and sweet- but Angus is by far the sweetest little fellow, and we just adore him. Pound for pound, he really gives an incredible amount of love and positive energy!
Often people will make judgments and assumptions about you when they hear what size or breed of dog you own. People, who have small dogs, or purse dogs, must be stuck up or snobby. OR they assume people who own big dogs are trying to prove something or are seeking to intimidate.

While there may be some truth to those stereotypes, and when I was one of those “big dog” people I thought little dogs were rather pointless and prissy, I now know that I was very wrong and I am more than happy to admit it. My dog is not prissy or pointless at all. And he is, by the way, an excellent watch dog.
The fantastic thing about having the great universe of different types of dog is it gives people so many options and choices when making a selection. The decision to bring a dog into a family is a big one. It is important to know how a dog will impact your home life and how it is a commitment that will last many, many, years. Being a responsible and thoughtful owner is an enormous responsibility - emotionally and physically, and is not something to be done without careful consideration and planning.

Many people are afraid of, or intimidated by, large dogs- so small dogs are perfect for them. Others find large dogs to be a better physical and psychological fit for their lifestyle or family situation, and there are plenty of choices for them.
Regardless of their size or breed, dogs can bring indescribable happiness and love to a family. If you’ve never experienced it, you’ve truly missed out on one of the greatest relationships imaginable.

Having owned large dogs for so many years, it was a transition and adjustment to get used to living with a little guy. At first, I was terrified I would step on him! But now that I have had him for almost two years, our anniversary is 31 October; I can say that I am thrilled by the experience.  
Angus is energetic, but not hyper, and while his bark is rather shrill (this is the one and only thing I would have opted out of) it is a small price to pay for all the other great things about him. And remember; don’t judge a dog, or a book, by its size. Don’t assume you know the full story by how big or small it is.

In defense of the smaller breed- first of all, small dogs are so much easier in many important ways. The best part is that they take up far less real estate. I am amazed by how I once managed three kids and TWO big dogs- but in those days, the house was chaotic and rambunctious anyway, so it was “the more the merrier!”  

 Now that I am older, and far less rambunctious, I am enjoying a dog who doesn’t take up as much space in my small house. The second, and possibly greatest, thing about a miniature poodle is that he doesn’t shed. That is a huge bonus for those who find dog hair bothersome.

And finally, for the first time in my life, I now sleep with a dog on the bed. I would not have considered this if he was a breed that shed, and I never had my German Shepherds sleep with me because there would have been no room at all. Luckily, in this case, it is a perfect fit- small dog, no hair! A win- win situation.

At night, Angus is very well-behaved and doesn’t ever disrupt my sleep. If anything, he is cuddly and considerate, and it is actually very enjoyable having him next to me.

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The other day, my four year old granddaughter- who lives with us with my daughter- was holding Angus on her lap. She clutched him tightly and proclaimed, “Angus, I love you. You’re my best friend.”  I dare you not to have a lump in your throat imagining that tender scene.  And Angus just looked back at her adoringly, even though she was holding him very tightly, and licked her little face. I think about the two of them, growing up together, and how in the past two years they have truly become the best of friends.

While he may not have the same presence as my German Shepherds as a watch dog or the ability to command the same kind of respect from people on the street- he is as loyal and loving and sweet as any beloved dog I’ve ever owned.
Angus brings something to our family that is simple and universal. It is pure LOVE, without motives or agendas. He loves us unconditionally and completely and is never ashamed to show it or too tired or grumpy or distracted to make us feel it. He trusts us and looks to us for approval, affection, companionship, and guidance. WE know we are the most important thing in his little world, and that is a truly amazing feeling, and what having a dog is all about.
Did I mention how much I LOVE MY DOG?


  1. My heart: Exploded. And: Going to go hug Fifi now.

    Bravo!! x

  2. Thanks for the sweet remark. Aren't our little furry ones the best?!

    1. Diana; Thank you so much for this story. I adore dogs so much, and will keep on adopting them until I am dead. I only get babies that are from shelters or that people throw away. They deserve to know how important they are, how very much loved they are and that they truly do matter. Thank you for all the sweet pictures of Angus.

  3. Angus is so adorable! You treat him like a real baby, isn’t that sweet?! I hope that you’ll never get tired of loving your dog unconditionally.

  4. It is so nice, to read this story. I understand every word you wrote. Everything is true. I always Love dogs.