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Loyalty - Don't take it for granted

Look out for people that look out for you. Loyalty is everything.

Over the past 9 months, along with the thousands of other American families, we too recently got a new dog. My wife and I previously had a chihuahua Kiwi - named after the helpless kiwi bird my wife and I discovered after living in New Zealand. We had Kiwi for 14 years and had bought her right after we moved into our first house. My wife had 2 chihuahuas prior to us getting married (one ran away and one passed away) so she had an affinity for them. Kiwi was a great dog before we had kids, but three boys later she wasn't really into the whole toddler phase and kids running around wreaking havoc. She enjoyed walks and being around my wife and I, but she wasn't a 'family dog' that the boys got to play with and really experience what it was like having one. So about a year after Kiwi passed away, my wife was determined to find a breed that was perfect for our family. It took about 14 months to find a breeder (and get high enough on their list) in order to get the one we wanted. We ended up getting a Viszla (pronounced 'Veesh - la'), and after a 3-2 family vote, we named her Daisy.

Daisy is a pointer/retriever dog and her breed is known for being extremely active dogs. They need several hours of activity per day and as they get older will usually require us to run a couple miles a day with her. My wife and I are active runners and my oldest son runs cross country, so we should be good there! Viszlas are also called the 'velcro' dog because they like to be by your side. I mean literally attached to your hip. In the first two weeks, we left Daisy alone for an entire hour and a half while my youngest son tested for his yellow belt. We came home to find that she likely hadn't stopped barking and had pooped (and somehow sprayed it) all over her crate and even onto the wall next to the crate. I mean really? She can't handle an hour?! In the next two weeks, we left her for another hour and a half while we were at basketball games and she peed all over her crate. My wife set up a mattress next to Daisy's crate for nighttime as she will cry and wake up the entire house if she wakes up and someone isn't next to her (we are not opening the door to her sleeping in the bed with us). It really is like having a newborn all over again where we have to have our hand on her back so she knows we are still there so she can peacefully fall asleep.

Having a dog breed that is this high maintenance can be a bit overwhelming at times because my wife and I have already had thoughts of 'what have we gotten ourselves into!' However, what is an inconvenience in the short run, I am reminding myself each time what Daisy represents to this family - loyalty. She will never leave our side, and she will always be there with us to love us and support us. Even though she doesn't speak our language, a dog's intuition reads our emotions, our tone of voice, our physical touch, and most importantly our 'energy' as Cesar Millan would say. She will know what we need sometimes even before we even know ourselves. My wife and I are very grateful that she will be such a comfort to our boys and Daisy will always help them have fond memories of our place we call home. It might take Daisy some time to win over the affection of our calico cat, Kamo, but I'm sure Kamo will eventually tolerate her! And fear not, we have hired a dog trainer (Robin from 'Sit Happens'), and we have had 1 of 5 sessions so far on how to be the pack leader that Daisy needs us to be.

I encourage all of us to think about those one or two people around us that have been incredibly loyal to us over the years. Sometimes their loyalty might 'annoy' us or be inconvenient or maybe we just take them for granted because we know they are always there. Hopefully, you might be around some of them later this week as you celebrate Thanksgiving. I encourage you to re-frame your mindset this week and truly celebrate the positive sides of their continued loyalty, and I hope you can experience true gratitude for having someone that special in your life.

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