Well, It's hard to believe it's been so long. In the end, Lady and Grumble ended up having four puppies at some point. Wasn't my idea, but my room mates at the time chose not to keep them separated when I went to work one day.. and .. well.. we ended up with four puppies. I brought them all to the Magazine Street vet I used to go to, placed three of the four and kept one, Ocha.
Jack, Ocha's brother ended up going to my mom. Lady also ended up getting placed... something I regretted, actually. At the time the puppies were born, I myself was expecting and I was becoming overwhelmed. Lady was a tough dog to manage due to her abuse. We also had the little German Shepard at the time. We called her Salina - but the new owner changed her name. She was just such an amazing dog. Eventually we moved to Illinois permanently after all the dogs except Grumble and Ocha were placed and my daughter was about 18 months old. It was the second time my mother had a bout with cancer - a lengthy treatment process - so we decided to stay.
Grumble lived to be about 15 years old and Ocha lived to be about 17. They were just about the best dogs anyone could ever have. I still miss them.
It wasn't until 2015 when I adopted Sammy from ADOPT (Animals Deserving of Proper Treatment) in Naperville, Illinois. They said he is a pit bull mix and I think he is mixed with some kind of Mastiff judging by the color and his bulkiness. He's about 80 pounds which would have outweighed my other dogs by about 30 pounds. He was brought there when he was a puppy at 9 weeks or so, had been adopted out once for about a year and they brought him back when they decided to have a child. He's like a bull dozer in strength, but he is just the most lovable guy and a huge cuddle monster.
The thing that makes this so much more difficult is because I live in the suburbs of Chicago, sometimes there is a huge lack of understanding about these dogs. So rather than he do his natural job of protecting me, I have to protect him. He's slightly intimidating having a bark and guttural sound that resembles some old muscle car from the 70's. He is loved, however. I was walking him up the Riverwalk one day and an ADOPT volunteer was walking toward us who I didn't recognize. I brought him close to me and tried to have him sit quietly. I said, "He's friendly, really!" over all his noise.
She said, "Is that Sammy?!" and put her hand to her mouth and began to cry. "Oh my, I am so glad he is doing well. You know they had to put down his brother. Oh, he is such a sweet dog!"
The woman was walking a small white dog and with all the noise Sammy was making, you would think he was angry, but he got close and gave a few smells and smiled and that was enough. On to the next smells. He really could care less. Having grown up in the large wonderful pens at ADOPT, he was very well socialized with all kinds of dogs and people. He never quite got the hang of walking nicely on a leash, however. Last year when I was marathon training I found it took about three miles before he would begin to run along side me. He often went on three, five, ten mile runs with me topping out at 17 miles. I feel bad for him I am not training this year - I think he misses it.
A few months later, a friend of mine was having some logistical troubles after moving here from California. After a while I noticed he was really struggling with what to do with the dog. Finally, I realized if I didn't speak up it would be a shelter so I told him to bring him over. Remy is a little less trusting than Sammy, but now that he is part of the family I cannot imagine life without him. Although he isn't a runner, he's quite a character and likes to .... sing.
I am not going to say it is easy by any stretch of the imagination. It is not. They're strong, they aren't fluffy little lap dogs (don't tell them that) and they ... believe it or not... scare people. I try so very hard to walk them in a calm environment and work with them on manners and I take them to the dog park when I can. I'm lucky because I have a son that helps me with them quite often so it doesn't all just fall on me all the time. Adopting a dog isn't always easy and they are not some commodity or trinket for display. They are family member. Part of the pack. And they require a lot of care and attention. So - If anyone out there is thinking about shopping for a pet, consider adopting and, first and foremost, consider the long term of bringing this life - this sentient being - into your home.
And, as you can see, I can't seem to take enough photos of either of them. They are rather spoiled, but hey. You only live once.