Welcome to Big Old Goofy World . . . a place where I can share my thoughts, hopes, and dreams about this rock that we live on and call home.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Furry Family

"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive."
 (Gilda Radner)

Maddie and Dora

In the Keener household there are two exceptional privileged critters--our dogs, Maddie and Dora.  Maddie (full name Maddie Rose) is our nine year old Boxer; Dora (full name Dora Bell) is our six year old Dachshund.  Maddie was born in Grant, Nebraska, while Dora--well, I am not quite sure where she was born--but it was somewhere in Nebraska.  We adopted Dora when a friend's niece was given an ultimatum between keeping Dora or the boyfriend--she chose the boyfriend and lost out on both ends.  She should have kept Dora as the relationship would have lasted a lot longer.  It did not take Dora long to fit into the family--I mean, own the family.

Maddie is a pretty happy dog.  They say that often owners and their dogs begin to look and act a lot like one another--this is me after a couple of beers!  No, just kidding, but Maddie is definitely an introvert like me.  She does not like crowds or strangers and will bashfully hide whenever around either until she warms up to these invaders of her space.  For the most part though, she is a pretty contented dog who loves to play Frisbee, eat shrimp, and keep a pretty low profile.  She is quiet and rarely barks unless provoked--she goes days without even letting out a bark.  She has been my constant companion since she was a puppy and I got her to ride back and forth with me between our home and the community where my church was.  She is an excellent hiking partner who never complains unlike some of my human hiking partners.  And, the best thing about Maddie is when she greets you when you get home.  Boxers have this wonderful little "butt dance" that shows how much they missed you--nothing beats a "welcome" from a Boxer!

Dora, on the other hand, is actually the wife's dog.  Since Maddie was always going with me, the wife wanted her own dog.  Dora was that dog.  And like the wife, Dora is an extrovert.  Dora has never met a person she did not like or see as an opportunity for a handout.  Dora is a lover much like her owner and enjoys meeting new people and critters--even skunks.  In the first six months we lived in Montana Dora had a thing for the neighborhood skunk--she had two smelly, face-to-face encounters that resulted in her not being allowed in the bed for about a week.  It was sort of a Pepe Le Pew sort of affair with Dora being Pepe.  Where Maddie is always wanting to run and play, Dora is into the more leisurely life style.  At the same time, Dora suffers from small dog syndrome--she barks all of the time.  Because of this we have nicknamed her "Door Bell"--in fact, she is better than any doorbell we've ever had.  She also has developed into a fairly good alarm system for our number two son who has Epilepsy--she always starts barking whenever number two son has a seizure and that has been quite helpful for us.  She also views herself as the "alpha" dog--always putting Maddie into her place (even though Maddie knows she could whip Dora's butt at any time)--and loves to beg.  For a long time we viewed Dora as the "evil" dog and Maddie as the "good" dog.  Dora gets jealousy--especially around food.  She loves food and is the only dog who has ever had a place at our table.

Dora--the green-eyed monster!

As I wrote earlier, both are fairly privileged members of the family.  They are the only ones allowed to have their feet on the couch.  They get to eat before everyone else and are allowed to whine about the meal.  They get the choice spots in the bed and don't mind claiming it as theirs.  Nothing is worse than getting stared down by two dogs when you are sleeping in their space.  They get to beg, roll their eyes, and make a nuisance of themselves at the dinner table.  They get to stick their heads out the truck windows while on a ride--the wife always gives me the evil eye when I try sticking my head out the window on rides.  They can go to the bathroom outside, while the wife frowns on that from me.  They live a pretty darn good life--a dog's life!  But we love them as much as we love our children--at times, maybe more.

A new dog has moved into the neighborhood.  Our next door neighbors bought a Great Dane puppy a couple of months ago and he is about five months old now.  His name is Moose and he is a sweetheart.  Maddie is smitten--she has herself a boyfriend.  Every day she and Moose run up and down the fence--moaning, groaning,and barking in that doggie language only they can understand--swapping spit--and having a grand old time.  It is true love!  They have a blast together which, of course, drives Dora crazy.  She attacks Maddie so we have to distract her so that Maddie and Moose get their time together.  

Moose, the Great Dane

Puppy Love--Moose and Maddie frolicking

Swapping spit--true love

Still to come down the road--the rest of the furry family.  Eventually I will get around to introducing the grand-puppies (Blitz the German Shepherd and Lucy the mini-Dachshund) which belong to the daughter and her husband.  Plus there are all the cousins on Maddie's side of the family in Nebraska and Kansas.  We love our furry family!

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