Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Some of my doggies--past and present

POSTED BY: Genie Gabriel

As I mentioned in Max’s introduction on September 1, “He taught me the joys of having more than one dog.”

Two dogs keep each other company, give twice as many cuddles, and don’t eat that much more than one. 

The danger is becoming addicted to rescuing dogs!

When I went to work at the local animal shelter, I couldn’t resist the lure of helping dogs by becoming a foster parent. The problem came when it was time to take my foster furbabies back to the shelter to be adopted. I loved them! Why wasn’t their new furever family waiting when this doggie walked in the door? I missed them so much!

Yep, my career as a doggie foster parent crumbled fast. I adopted my second foster dog. 

With my doggie count at three, I figured my fostering days were over. Then an outbreak of kennel cough swept through the shelter. Doggies were finishing up their medications and showing no signs of illness, but going crazy in the kennels until their time in isolation was up. To give them a sanity break, three foster doggies came home with me, bringing my doggie population to six. Not as overwhelming as I had once thought. 

This opened the door to adopting more doggies in addition to fostering. At one time my doggie count reached nine, and I decided it didn’t make sense to work at the shelter when I had a mini-shelter at home. 

Some challenges were obvious from the start, such as the cost of food and vet bills. Each dog also needed individual attention and grooming every day. Sometimes squabbles erupted into fights. 

Being an animal communicator, Reiki master, and life-long dog lover gave me several advantages in living with multiple dogs. However, I wasn’t prepared for the emotional challenge of multiple dogs growing older at the same time. Sometimes the day-to-day toll of caring for an aging doggie who might be incontinent or suffer seizures or have a tumor that wouldn’t heal seemed overwhelming. 

Yes, I know our canine companions live forever in our hearts, are always with us in spirit, and may even come back in a different furry body. However, I still deeply grieve the loss of their physical presence. Every. Single. One.

We lost one of our pack at the end of August, and an unusual quiet settled over our household—at least some of the time. The herd still grumbles about how slow I am fixing breakfast. They still chase the squirrels that taunt them by racing along the top of the fence. They still follow me outside when I work in the back yard or settle in my office when I’m at the computer. 

Yet late at night when I’m wrapping up “one more thing” before going to bed, that quiet settles over the house again and I wonder if the other dogs, like me, are offering up prayers and love for our Ebony Rose. 

If you’re going to have multiple dogs, you will have multiple losses. However, you will also discover multiple joys, blessings, and lessons. If you’re willing to take the multiple dog challenge, this will be an unforgettable experience!


  1. Hugs on the losses. Pippa's heading in that direction, but as long as she is happy, we will keep trying.

  2. Thanks, Barb. No matter how much I "know" that our furbabies are always with us, the physical losses still knock the stuffing out of me for awhile. But the joy of having them in our lives and seeing them happy, as your Pippa is, outweighs the heart-shredding for me. So glad you and Pippa have each other!