It's a dog's life

Growing up in a large family, it was out of the question to hope having a dog or other pet would happen.
Oh, we asked, but there were seven kids in our household. A pet would have translated into our parents having yet another mouth to feed. Besides, Dad believed dogs belonged in the country, and we were city dwellers.
In sharp contrast, The Outdoors Guy was an only child. For most of his life, his family had black labs for hunting. I’ll never forget the first time I met his last lab, Bing. Bob lived at home and we had stopped at his parents’ place. In a flash, Bing stood on his hind legs and plopped his monster-sized front paws onto my shoulders. We stood nose to nose, eye to eye. Since I wasn’t used to dogs, plus this too-close-for-comfort contact, I nearly passed out! Meanwhile, Bob was having a good laugh knowing Bing simply wanted to make a new friend.
After we were married, we tried adopting dogs a couple of times. But, it never was the right fit.
Both of our boys own dogs. Jon, daughter-in-law, Sara, and grandsons, 11-year-old Jackson and 8-year-old Bryson, have Guinness, (pictured) an adorable Yorkie who is 3+ years old.
Because Jackson has allergies to most dogs, a Yorkie, which is hypo-allergenic, was one of the breeds that was safe for him. Jon would have liked a larger dog, but was happy to bring a “foo foo” dog into their family for Jackson’s sake. The funny part of this is, Jon is Guinness’ favorite… and Jon kinda likes him, too… lol!!
Before Guinness, Neely, their elderly rescue beagle, was a treasured family member until sadly she disappeared into the woods behind their home in August 2011. They spent days searching for her. Then, reflecting on Neely’s age and condition, they eventually accepted it was her time for rest.
Evan’s adopted dog is Bibi (pictured on cover). She is also an older beagle. Bibi is lovable and gentle until she’s out for a walk. Then, true to her beagle lineage, her nose takes over and her good behavior goes AWOL!  
Like our family, my sister, Brenda, and brother-in-law, Stu, didn’t have pets when their girls were growing up, either. Now, their daughter and son-in-law, Kristin and Matt, who have 14-year-old twin sons, Tanner and Blake, and an 8-year-old daughter, Madison, have a yellow lab. Madison named her Mea Mae (pictured in photo gallery). She blended into their family from day one.
Since Brenda and I came from a no-pet family, and because our two families didn’t have dogs when our kids were growing up, we weren’t into them all that much. To that end, it seemed bizarre that on one of Brenda’s and my recent weekly marathon phone visits, we went on and on about the granddogs and how much we enjoy them… almost as much as the grandkids... LOL!!!
When we finally took a breath, I asked Brenda, “Do you realize we just spent 20 minutes talking about the granddogs?!!!!” We both burst out laughing!!!
After all these years, we remember how much we wanted a dog as kids. Now we have a front-row seat, not only observing, but being involved in the delightful way they add to our families’ well-being.
Brenda, however, still hasn’t taken one major leap… she can’t bring herself to smooch Mea Mae. Whereas for me, I’m like the lyrics in The Pointer Sisters’ hit song “Automatic:” “No way to control it, it’s totally automatic.”
The old saying, “It’s a dog’s life” means life is difficult and unpleasant. Yet, from first-hand experience, I can attest that both the lives of dogs and the families who dearly love them are not only the opposite, they are truly infinitely better!!!