If you have known me for at least a minute, you know that I am obsessed with my dog. She is the first German Shepherd Dog that I have ever had and she has me tied around her dewclaw. If you ask me about my plans for kids, I point to my dog. She is my “kid” and I am completely and wholeheartedly satisfied with my fur babies (I have a cat, too!). I can’t boast about her enough. I think the highest compliment that I can give her is that she is my Bob Dog & want to spend a little time on National Dog Day talking about her.
First, what’s a Bob Dog? A Bob Dog is the dog that changes your life. They forge a bond with you that is infinitely loving and loyal. They are a once in a lifetime companion.
This definition started for me when I fell in love with a golden retriever named Bob the Dog (Bud for Short). He was a golden retriever with beautiful, dark golden locks that belonged to my aunt Sue & uncle Chris. Chris had a gift for training dogs and it radiated through Bob. Everyone that met Bob loved him. His goofy grin and playfulness were impossible to ignore. I vividly remember leaving my aunt & uncle’s house crying because I already missed Bob. When our family lost Chris to a plane crash, we were devastated. While no person or animal can replace a loved one, Bob gave us all a little piece of Chris on earth.
Bob saw us through some difficult times. After my father passed away, my mom and I moved to Alaska to be closer to family. This also meant that I got to visit Bob more and play frisbee to our heart’s content. That dog was there for my aunt (and for my mom and I) through some tough stuff. His velvet soft ears were always available for petting and listening as you told him about your day or even as you sat in silence. He had to have been an angel in dog form. Like all dogs do, Bob aged faster than his humans. The zest for life faded out of his eyes and we all knew it was time. The three of us were there thanking him and telling him what a good boy he was as he passed away.
….OK, WHO IS CUTTING ONIONS!?!?!?! I am running out of sleeve to wipe my nose on and I don’t appreciate it.
Saying goodbye to Bob, I decided that I wanted my own loyal companion. I wanted a Bob Dog.
Nothing made me want a dog more than being at college. For the first time, I was living without an animal and it made me feel a little lost. At home, I fell asleep each night with a cat curled up next to me and a dog by the door. Now I was sleeping in a strange state, in a strange building with a new roomie. All I have to say is GOD BLESS the people who brought therapy dogs to our college campus. I ATE THAT UP. You could have put the meanest, ugliest, dog in front of me and I still would have been dying to pet them. Unfortunately, dogs cost money and take time and I had ZERO of either in college.
A few short days after my husband and I graduated college, we wound up at the animal shelter. I don’t know how or why we came to the decision that we should go to the animal shelter as two new graduates with irregular income but we were like…YOLO! (the phrase YOLO didn’t even exist then FYI).
Needless to say, we came home with a dog named Mike. He was an obese, eight(ish) year old golden retriever. No joke, I had to sign a waiver to adopt him stating that he was obese and that he needed to lose weight ASAP. That same day, we put a deposit down on a pet friendly apartment with the last bit of our spare cash. Again, I have no idea what we were thinking but it made sense at the time. My husband was getting ready to leave for basic training and I wanted a dog to keep me company. Once my husband left for basic, I walked Mike religiously and he quickly got into shape. He looked forward to his morning walk and regained energy and playfulness. He kept me busy, motivated, and was a welcoming presence. He wasn’t with us long due to his age, but I treasured the time I had with him. Mike was the perfect dog for that stage of my life, but he wasn’t a Bob Dog.
We didn’t get another dog after Mike because (I think) we grew up a little and realized the commitment that a dog took. We relocated to my husband’s first duty station and I was starting my first big girl job after graduate school. The rates for dog deposits were high and so was the rent.
After a year living in what I will call “The House from Hell,” we moved out in favor of renting a small duplex that would allow one cat for an extra $10 a month and a $300 deposit. My husband didn’t want a cat, but we compromised and got a cat. Surprise! I named her Cat and she is a spunky little house panther, with whom I am also obsessed. Still, I never stopped thinking about getting my own Bob Dog.
As we were approaching the end of our time at the first duty station, we started to talk about a dog again. My husband grew up with German Shepherd Dogs and it was all he had been wanting. The only problem was that this conflicted with my vision of owning a golden retriever.
Thankfully, the love I have for my husband is stronger than my selfish desire of only owning a golden retriever. On black Friday, I scheduled us to meet with a local GSD breeder to make sure that a GSD was what my husband wanted. The entire time I was skeptical and had no idea what I was supposed to doing, looking for, or asking. To be honest, I had never really liked GSDs because I thought they were mean and scary. On the other hand, Josh look one look at the dogs and he was sure. My only caveat was that I wanted a female dog. He agreed to my terms and we put down the deposit for a puppy.
As soon as I saw the pictures of the puppies that were born, I knew which one was going to be ours. The sassy, confident, spitfire, pink collar female. And when I say spitfire, I mean SPITFIRE. Not to mention that she was a spitfire with razor-sharp teeth.
I thought that I made the biggest mistake of my life bringing home a puppy. There was one day when Josh came home after PT and I was standing in the living room crying because the dog bit for the millionth time that morning, and this time she made my nose bleed. It was so bad that Josh told me that it would be okay if we needed to re home her. I called my mom in a fury telling her I was going to send this dog away to a board and train program because this dog was IMPOSSIBLE. She told me that I might regret it because I would miss out on bonding with my puppy. She told me to give it a little more time. Even though I was rolling my eyes as she said that, I am very glad that I listened to her.
Through the help of friends, the breeder, and LOTS of online training videos, we made it through the worst of the puppy stage. Slowly but surely, Ruger was turning into a dog that was bearable (and enjoyable) to live with. Crate training was seriously a game changer. I was able to sleep more and I didn’t have to clean up potty messes. Well-rested Melissa = happy Melissa!
Now, Ruger is my sidekick. She is fiercely loyal and protective. I haven’t spent a second training her to guard or protect me. She gets between myself and the threat at any time, ready to defend me. She listens to my tone of voice and knows how to respond. She is one of the smartest yet goofiest dogs I’ve ever met. She can cruise through a food puzzle in a split second but still finds time to chase her tail. She listens to commands but also talks back if she’s not feeling it. She wakes me up in the morning by plopping down next to me and cuddling before I have to get out of bed. She is everything that I never knew I needed in a dog.
The whole time, I was picturing a golden retriever and naming him Bob. I thought that what I needed was a duplicate of my aunt’s dog for my own canine companion. Then, when I was least expecting it, a dog that I was hesitant to bring home became my Bob Dog.
Melissa Sue (and Ruger Roo who is much bigger now)