Where Kell Got Her Kindness?

Okay, so this isn’t a post about gardening…or self-sufficiency…or crafts. But I’ll still claim its relevancy, because I cannot imagine my life being complete without my furry friends.

This morning as I was reading a news article from a while back about a Great Dane who helped save his mistress from being beaten by her abusive boyfriend, I realized just where my big girl Kellogg got her kindness.

Dixie Cup Dispenser…

Kellogg’s Corn Flakes…

Danielle’s cat, now in California – Maxwell House Coffee…

Tinkerbella Mason Jar…

Nearly all of our pets, at least the dogs and one cat, all have household food/object names. Don’t ask me why. It started with Dixie, who was actually named after Trixie, a dog I had as a teenager. Somewhere along the line Cup Dispenser was added to the poor pup’s name and a tradition was started. Eight years ago, a little eight-pound black mixed pup joined us and we named her Kellogg. I remember how my eldest spotted her at the garage sale, the day after my husband (then boyfriend) had flown off to California to pick up the last of his belongings…right after he had issued the “it’s a second dog or me” ultimatum.

I don’t know if it was my stubborn nature or an innate certainty that he didn’t really mean it, but Danielle called out, “Mom look, they have puppies at the garage sale!” and it was a done deal. It took me a week to get up the courage to tell him, over the phone, that we had a new addition. He just sighed and asked, “What’s her name?”

Kellogg didn’t stay small for long. Her feet were enormous, and Dave kept looking at them, commenting on their size, and wondering aloud how long dogs grow for and when this one would stop.

“Anytime now,” I lied, “I’m not really sure of her parentage.” Danielle was my co-conspirator and kept silent. It was months before I finally confessed, “Well, she’s going to be big. Her mama was a chocolate lab and pit bull mix…and her daddy was a Great Dane.”

“Great Dane!” Dave cried, outraged I hadn’t told him sooner. “Good lord, woman. Do you know how BIG Great Dane’s grow to be?”

And while Kellogg is smaller than a Great Dane, she isn’t that much smaller. She’s kind of fat, too. A big lumbering, bad hips, easy-going, plump eight-year-old now. And the kindest dog I could ever hope to know.

She has fostered a kitten and a pup, and dearly loves both of them. Her ‘son’, Einstein, our white kitty, was adopted by her after he returned from the emergency vet on death’s bed, having ingested an Aleve at the age of four months. It was days before he felt well enough to do more than lie there, nestled against her, and the deepest friendship between a dog and cat that I have personally ever seen was born.

Kellogg always seemed confused by Einstein’s inability to grow larger. I think that for a time she was convinced that our kitty was just an undernourished pup in need of toughening up. She would hold the cat down with one paw while gently gnawing on his skull with the other (yeah, that sounds like it must have been fun for the cat, don’t you think?). But Einstein never grew bigger, and eventually Kellogg stopped doing that, and accepted that her ‘son’ was a massively undersized runt.

They still sleep together. Or did until…

2012…January 11th…a litter of puppies were born on Dave’s birthday. I was convinced, it was meant to be!

A friend of mine had taken in a stray. Her kindness was rewarded by one very pregnant Chloe, who gave birth to TEN pups on January 11th. One died shortly after, but that still left nine squirming pups, seven girls and two boys. I was determined to have one.

I begged.

I argued.

I pleaded.

And then I ‘gave up’ – which is womanspeak for diversion. “I want meat rabbits,” I said. “I want to raise and kill my own rabbits for meat. Build me a rabbit hutch please.”

I didn’t know what to think when I got an okay on the rabbit hutch. When the pups were six weeks, and about to be shipped off to a rescue group, I asked one last time. “Can we please have a third dog?”

I don’t know who was more surprised when Dave said yes, me or him.

Down to my friend’s place we went, and I picked out one of the two light blonde ones. I had really wanted a brown one, but I guess I felt I owed Dave for being so accommodating – after all, I was getting a dog AND a rabbit hutch! So we brought home the blonde with a circle around her eye. And the three of us (Dave, me, and Kellogg) fell deeply in love with this bundle of wiggles. Emily took a while to warm up to the ‘baby’ and had some serious jealousy issues. She got over it though, as you can see here…

Don’t let this picture fool you…

This pup has plenty of energy. And I’ve seen Kellogg brighten up and look happy. She has a pup to play with again, for the first time in nearly seven years. She is loving it!

And as for Einstein? Well, he’s not too cool with the new addition, but we managed to capture this rare and unique moment the other day…

I love the innate kindness in this big, gentle dog. In our small house, she’s often spread out, right in the middle of things, and I must tell her at least once a day to move, to get out of the way, and Kellogg quietly obeys.

I can’t imagine our home without her…and Dixie…and now Bella. It’s perfectly overcrowded and smells of wet dog on rainy days, their muddy footprints constantly tracking over our floors.

But together they keep us company, keep us safe, and defend the property against ‘possum, raccoon, squirrel, and the occasional ravenous wild rabbit.

I love ‘em…every one of them!