If you are a dog lover, you know the truth, having a dog is like having a dirty secret. On the outside, things look completely normal, but as dog owners we know that life with a dog can be pretty unusual. However, we also know that life would be extremely dull without our beloved pets. They bring love, companionship, humor and teach us lots of lessons on how to live in the moment and enjoy life.  Here is a tour of the dogs that have blessed my life.

This is G.I. Joesph, named by my brother, and my first dog.  He was the sweetest thing you ever met. His tongue was too long for his mouth, and when he slept, he would stick it out which as a kid never got old. He also had the most toxic gas of all time, and my brother and I used to joke that we'd send him over to Russia to use as warfare in the 80's.

Joey also would let you do whatever you wanted like dressing him up. Joey literally knew when my bus would arrive when I was in elementary school and would be there waiting when I got off the bus at my bus stop.

Now this guy, he was a different story. This was MY first dog, Trucker (Joey was technically my brother's), and he was a bandit. Hilarious, wild, but not a snuggler by any means. These two pictures are probably the only ones of him really sitting still, notice he is being held in both shots.

He was the epitome of naughty, and I loved every bit of him. When he was happy, he smiled with teeth, and he ate everything including the Christmas ham, a car cleaning shammy, and Filet Mignon. None of these things were given to him, he got on the counter to retrieve them himself. He had a bowling ball that he'd roll himself around the driveway, and lovingly rammed it into a good friends Porsche. He wasn't afraid of much, well, except for balloons. Did I mention he loved to chase cars? Maniac!

Next on the list, was Wilbur. Now this dog had nothing but love in him. It wouldn't be the the same for us to just have a normal pet, and Willie was no exception.  Wilbur got a sickness when he was a puppy, and no joke the medication curled his tail. His tail was like a frying pan waving around, knocking things off the tables. Wilbur loved you so much, he'd even lick your pants. Here is his tail looking "relaxed" 


 

This is a painting I did of Wilbur and my Step Dad, Smitty. 

Next on the scene, Bettie Jo and Clara Mae. Named after Smitty's mother and sister, these two sisters were sugar sweet and attached at the hip from day one. Betty Jo being the beautiful ditzy blonde, and Clara being the curious loyal scrappy gal.

They loved to swim so much that of course they got hots spots and had to be in the "cones of shame" together. As you can see, it didn't impact their fun. 

Here's Bettie Jo dressed up for my wedding day with my niece, Evie.

Xoe was my husbands dog when we met, and boy was she unsure of me when I started coming around. Named after Zoysia grass, by my hubby with his background in Landscape Architecture. She was the smartest dog I'd ever met, and was a total ham. Here she is on our teeny coach house deck in Chicago. 

A Valentine we made together for Greg. 

Tolerant of her cousin who would visit and steel her bed, Xoe did her best to wedge into the tiny dog bed to get her back, which made us laugh for hours. 

Because having two dogs wasn't enough for my parents, they decided to add two more to the family.  Adding to the girlish names, here's Rosa Louise, and Peggy Sue. Similar to their older sisters, Rose is a beauty queen, and Peggy is little, but loyalty knows no bounds with Peg. 

A typical night at my parents home. 

Sadie Mae Wigglebottoms. My husband and I put our name on the waiting list for a "career changed" dog from Leader dog for the blind. We got the call that we were allowed to come and meet her, and that night got Chinese take out with this fortune:  "A new friend helps you break out of an old routine".  We knew then that our visit to see her would only be to bring her home. Sadie worked for 4 years as a leader dog, and frankly we're not sure how she lasted that long. Wonderful, loyal and sweet, but terrible on the leash. She was retired early because of her love for squirrels, and we were so lucky. It wasn't long before she became a member of the family.

At first we were strict about not being on the furniture, and then we had a baby.

Sadie Mae Tootsie Roll for Halloween. 

Patient Sadie lets Tommy use her as a bucking bronco through one of my silly photo shoots. 

"They motivate us to play, be affectionate, seek adventure, and be loyal." You can bet you might see some Leland gal fabric with some of these wonderful characters someday. 

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