I grew up surrounded by animals.  There was always a dog or two in our family, and often a cat.   I always had a furry companion to cuddle, pull into my games, to confide in and to cry on.  My friends might be fickle, but my animal friends were always reliable and steady.

During the early years of our marriage, my husband and I were building our careers and our family.  We both wanted our kids to grow up with animals around them, but we had neither the time nor the space to care well for a pet.  We promised our children we’d get a dog when we had a bigger house and a yard for a dog to play in.  When we moved to another province and found ourselves with a house and yard, the kids reminded us of our promise.  We talked about what size of dog we should get, where we should get one from and whether it should be a boy or a girl.  We were a busy family and the kids were still little, so we decided a small boy dog might be the best bet.  The kids were elated.

A short while later while visiting a friend, I mentioned we were thinking of getting a dog and my friend told me that the people they’d bought their sweet little dog from had another litter now and there were two puppies left.   When I called, the owner said that she was coming into town and asked if I’d like her to bring the male puppy, “Just to meet him.  If he’s not what you’re looking for, no obligation.”  We agreed to meet at our house the following day.  She arrived just after our kids got off the bus from school (planned or coincidental?)  She placed a tiny bundle of cream and apricot-colored fur on the floor in our entryway, while the kids squealed with delight.  The puppy immediately toddled over to the mirrored doors on the entry closet, tail wagging furiously and began licking his reflection in the mirror.  We were smitten.  We named him Joey, and there was no question that he was with us to stay.

IMG_3826Joey has been a beloved family member since that happy day over 15 years ago.  He has calmed temper tantrums and tears.  He’s flown in airplanes with us, slept in tents and traveled in kayaks and cars.  He’s the best-ever remedy for anyone sick with the flu or colds.  He’s gone wading in spring mud-puddles with the kids and tobogganing in the winter. He’s had sleepovers with a dozen giggling little girls, watched marathon sessions of Monopoly and beer pong, and slept in every bed in the house.  He is probably the most kissed and photographed dog that ever walked this earth.  Without fail, when we come home we see his little face pressed to the window at the front door, waiting for his people.  He greets us the same way every time, whether we’ve been away 5 minutes or 5 hours.  He skids his ears on the floor, back and forth, snorting gleefully and sneezing.  He periodically interrupts his “lawn-mowing” to jump up and lick our hands (or bare feet, if available).  For him, there is nothing more important, or exciting, than his family.  He’s certainly had his share of struggles.  He has had epilepsy since age 3 and has had to take medication twice daily, every day. He’s been sick with pancreatitis and liver disease.  He’s lost most of his hearing, has cataracts and arthritis.  But he meets every challenge patiently and without complaint.  He has opened the eyes of countless friends and family to what a dog can be in your life.

This April he stopped eating and became very ill.  Tests showed that he probably had an intestinal blockage and wouldn’t likely survive without surgical intervention. We met as a family and had a long and emotional discussion about our options and what was best for Joey.  We were faced with the difficult decision to either do an exploratory surgery to diagnose and possibly correct the blockage, or to say goodbye to him without doing surgery.  To put an elderly dog through a major surgery is not a decision we took lightly, but none of us could bear the thought of not trying.  We chose surgery.  When we brought him to the hospital that day we knew it might be the last time we saw him alive.  We hugged and kissed him, said our goodbyes, then sent him into the O.R.  And what a little trooper he proved to be!  He came through the surgery far better than expected, but the diagnosis was not good.  He had intestinal cancer, and without chemotherapy he probably wouldn’t live more than a few weeks.  After much discussion we decided that we would opt for a milder form of medical treatment.  We felt he’d been through enough already and if chemotherapy was going to make him miserable and not buy him significantly more time then it wasn’t a good option.  The recovery from surgery was hard on him but he gradually healed and began to eat again.  One day when our son’s girlfriend came for a visit, he launched into his lawn-mowing routine for her, licked her bare feet and we knew our Joey was back.

We’re three months out from surgery now and Joey is eating well, enjoying his walks and happily greeting everyone at the door again.  He needs help on the stairs sometimes and occasionally has accidents in the house.  But he’s back in his rightful place at the front door, nose pressed to the glass to wait for us and to make sure all is well in the neighborhood.  We know that every day with him is a gift, that each day could be his last, but we are more than grateful.  Faithful friends are hard to find, and he’s been the best of them.  He’s shown us for over 15 years what unconditional love looks like.  For our family, love is indeed a four-legged word:  Joey.

Submitted by Lynette S.


A short little video so worth watching…


Tara has been our baby for twelve years next month.  She was born into a sad situation.


The owner/trainer of a German Shepherd kennel got gravely sick. Her husband hired someone to feed the puppies but when we bought Tara she had no human contact or training in her life. She was 4 1/2 months old.

The first few days in her new home she hid and ran from us. In time we became a family.

Perhaps she is a little spoiled. In stormy weather she choices to sleep on the floor beside Fred or I. Tara has a dog bed or a couch to sleep in. She also has some stuffed animal friends and enjoys tearing apart a rope. She doesn’t enjoy company. She hides all her toys and guards her food and her couch. She is a great watchdog and slow to trust people.

Tara is now wheat free but can still enjoy her Sunday treat of a fried egg.

Dogs are not pets they are family to Fred and I.

Submitted by Alida & Fred M.

It has been a long time since I last wrote here, since we had to put our beloved Tobi down.  I still think of him daily.  I still miss him.  I miss his purring and his playfulness.  It could be time for me to adopt again, and yet something in me is holding back.  It is not because I’m afraid, but more because since we’ve lost Tobi our lives did change.  We’ve traveled more, and not having a pet makes a big difference.  Let’s be honest, pets do represent work.  I know they bring lots of joy and are worth the time and efforts, but at the same time it is nice not having to change any litter box, or having to vacuum because of the hair (we still have to vacuum but not as much, let’s say).  Having a pet at this time would be for my own personal satisfaction only.  It would be all for me, since my husband doesn’t really want another pet.

I do understand his reasoning, and I agree; life is simpler without a pet to care for.  Maybe it is the mother in me who needs to take care of something?  I don’t know.  Maybe it is because I need to be loved unconditionally, no question asked?  Maybe it is simply because I want the companionship a pet offers?  No matter the reason why, for as long as I have doubts, or until I fall in love one day, I will continue to get my animal-fix at friends who do have a fur baby…

Until then, don’t be shy to share your love story.  Tell us why love IS a four-legged word for you, we want to know.


I’ve created this blog after I had to put down our little Cathy, my father’s chihuahua.  I wanted a place where I could express my love for her (read about it here).  

From my need to write about it all, I’ve encouraged others over the years to share with me their love for their furry friends.  Some did answer my call, some did it after the beloved pet passed away and some simply wanted to share why love was a four-legged thing for them.

As far back as I can remember we’ve always had a pet at home, mostly dogs.  My father didn’t trust cats. I even had a pet skunk at some point.  Having a pet or two always felt like home to me.  It completed the picture if you’d like.

Today, I kind of destroyed that picture of home… I had to make the decision it was time for our beau Tobi to go, after eighteen years of unconditional love. Over five years ago I did a post about him (read it here) sharing that love.



Sept 16, 1995 – June 21, 2013


It wasn’t an easy decision to make.  He had reached a point where he didn’t look like he was having fun anymore.  I knew his time was coming.  He had been sick and very close to dying two years ago, but with meds and a caring vet we managed to get an extra two years out of him.  Looking at him this morning, how after a few steps he would lay down, was a clear sign that he was tired and needed to go.  His eyes were telling me he had given up, even if at times he looked like he still had some life left in him.  To see him so frail and tired broke my heart.  I didn’t get him to let him suffer.  I wanted him to a healthy and happy life.  He didn’t look happy, he hadn’t purr in over a week.  He hadn’t groom in over a week either.  He didn’t do much, only drank cold water and take a few licks at his food, and sleep.  The last two days he made his round around the house and lay down in places we’ve never saw him in before; the front door carpet, by the big chair in the living room, by his water bowl.  He didn’t meow; he just plopped down on his side and slept.

We brought him to his vet for 10:30am and by 10:45 it was all done.  The vet gave him the lethal injection straight in the heart and within seconds he has gone.  I held him in my arms and didn’t even feel him go limp it was so quick.  As we lay him on the table, looking at him with his big beautiful yellow eyes opened, he looked peaceful.  It was done, by faithful companion of the last eighteen years was gone.

 I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around that idea, that from this moment on I will be alone at home, while I work. No more chit chat with my kitty as I went to the kitchen and he’d follow me, no more playing while I brushed my teeth and he hid around the corner awaiting for my finger to whack on the door frame, no more welcoming cries when I’d come home from a client or errands, no more thump sound as he jumped off a piece of furniture he wasn’t supposed to be on, no more walking all over me in bed before plopping down in between my legs, no more cracking sounds from his bad hips as he walked around the house, no more howling for no reason, no more saying “get out of there”, so more bag shaking of treats to get his attention, no more being uncomfortable because I didn’t want to move not to disturb him, no more cheating and giving some table food, no more sharing of my Cheetos, no more having to change glass because he drank from it, no more silent meow when told to be quiet, no more licking sounds and drool, no more laughter because he crossed the living room doing the crab or because he was chasing a ghost, no more bed mouse chasing,  no more napping companion, no more purr factory, no more cat…  My cat is gone, and it hurts.

This is not my story, I didn’t write this, but I truly enjoyed it, so here goes:

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.  Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said, ”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued,

”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
  • Take naps.
  • Stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp, and play daily.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
  • When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you’re not.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

Author : Unknown

Please share

Submitted by Cinner


Too cute & so very true!

Here Bill’s joy Trekie.

“You’ll learn something about men and women — the way they’re supposed to be.Caring for each other, being happy with each other, being good to each other. That’s what we call love. You’ll like that a lot.” — Kirk, “The Apple”, Stardate 3715.6


Submitted by William Marshall

I fell in love with her from the very moment I held her in my arms.

As I listened to her snore while she was sleeping on my shoulder, I knew she was mine.

Mine forever.

See, when I got her, she was a homeless puppy.

Skinny, scared, and nowhere to go, so I took her home to live with us.

She must have known she was home by the way she acted and that she belonged with us.

She was our doggy and we were her people.

I must say, she and I were the ones that bonded the most.

Maybe it was because I took her home?

Maybe it was because she knew she had my heart?

Either way, I just love everything about her.


I love her little prance as she walks beside me.

I love her fur next to my face.

I love her snuggling next to me.

I love her ‘happy run’.

I love her to pieces.

When I got her, I thought I rescued my beloved dog, but in fact, she was the one who rescued me.

She has been my companion, confidant, and best friend for more than 13 years.

She has been there for me through times when I had no one and I’d be lost without her.

She is pure love and I am so very thankful to have her in my life.

She is my Misty girl and my forever friend. [♥]

Submitted by Suzanne

You want to pay tribute to your pet friend?

Email me a picture (jpg or gif) and a small caption explaining why love is a four-legged word for you to: stinkypaw@gmail.com

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