Posted by: bree1972 | December 12, 2010

An Indescribable Measure of Love 12/13/2010

Roger Caras, president emeritus, ASPCA:  For me a house or an apartment becomes a home when you add one set of four legs, a happy tail, and that indescribable measure of love that we call a dog.”                                                                                                                                        

I know I’ve written a lot in the past week or two about our two precious pooches, but I’ve got to tell you just one more story before I “lay off” them for a few days. 

You know how I’ve always said that Maddie is Ted’s dog, and Bear is mine.  Nothing proves that theory more than what happens anytime Ted goes kayaking, which he did on Saturday (it was 51 degrees, and I personally thought he was a little nuts for venturing out on the water, but  far be it from me to mention that if he tipped over he might get a little chilly swimming to shore . . . far be it from me to mention that).

I think Ted’s big motivation to kayak that day was he would be easily able to get into the boat from the shore of the lowered lake, rather than having to do the balancing act he normally does entering it from the seawall.  The dogs were both outside, and they always go nuts when we go outside the fence and leave them shut up behind it.  By the time Ted lugged the kayak out of the boathouse, then came back into the yard to put on his gloves and lifejacket, Maddie was about to have a coronary right there on the lawn.  She knew he was going out on the water, and unlike when we take out the pontoon boat, she knew she wasn’t going to go for a ride.

Ted easily made the transition from land to water, and paddled off, telling me he'd be back in 30 minutes to grill some burgers for lunch . . .



Maddie moved into the center of the backyard so she could get a good perspective from every direction and plopped down to wait. Bear was a lot more interested in the birds at the birdfeeder. After all, HIS mom was right there.


When I walked out onto the deck 15 minutes later, Bear had long since curled up in the sun to take a nap, but Maddie was sitting - ever vigil - waiting for Ted.


Twenty minutes later, when I went back out to see if I saw Ted coming, Maddie hadn't moved. There she sat, spine ram-rod straight. Then, just as I was going to walk back inside, her head snapped to the left . . .


. . . and she ran to the fence - to watch Ted as he rounded the bend, coming home.


No mishaps getting out of the kayak either - except for some wet feet - and Maddie got half a grilled burger for being such a "good Daddy's girl".

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I cannot imagine what our lives would be like without our pets.   As a girl growing up, I only had one dog – his name was Lucky.  My parents didn’t believe in having dogs in the house, so Lucky lived outside, and as outside dogs tend to do if they aren’t fenced in and “fixed”, Lucky roamed the little town of Sylvester freely.  My dad would get a phone call at least once a week from someone on one side of town or another, asking him to “come get Lucky – he’s visiting his girlfriend over here”.  Lucky left one day for one of those visits, and he didn’t return.  After a few days with no phone call, my parents began to call around themselves, but no one had seen him.  I was heartbroken, but eventually convinced myself that Lucky had found a home where he could spend the rest of his life sleeping in front of a roaring fire when night winds blew cold.  It was then I swore to never own a dog again that couldn’t live inside and be part of the family. 

As I get older, I’ve come to realize that there is no one who can appreciate what a pet has to offer better than us empty nesters.   The happiness we are experiencing during our “senior years” is only enhanced by our little weiner-dog and the big FurFace.  Ted and I can go outside for five minutes, and they welcome us back with the same enthusiasm they use after we’ve been gone an entire day.  They know exactly – to the minute – when it is supper time and will drive us crazy until we get up to fill their bowls.  We throw balls for them in the house every night for 15 minutes (something we never would have allowed our kids to do), and welcome them into bed with us every night.  I find it annoyingly funny that the only time Maddie loves me more than Ted is at night.  I sleep on my side with my legs pulled up, and Maddie sleeps right in the bend of my knees.  It is her “spot”.  Bear, who we never had any intentions of allowing on the bed, began – about two months ago – to sneak onto the end of the bed after we were asleep.  It’s a king-size bed, so that is possible.  At first we were adament about making him get off, but now we actually call him into the bed with us.  He still sleeps at the end, and he’s learned the precise spot where he has to lay so he won’t interfere with Ted or I stretching out to our full length.  

In exchange for food to eat, a bed (our bed) to sleep in, and a roof over their heads, they put their heads in our laps when we’re sad and laugh and dance with us when we’re happy.  They never judge, they don’t hold grudges, and they act as go-betweens during little spats – as in, “Bear, ask your daddy to turn off the football game,” and “Maddie, ask your mom to get real.” 

Collectively, they are 96 lbs. of unconditional love.  And that’s the best bargain I know of anywhere on this planet.

Come on up north to see what’s happening on Mackinac Island in the Off-Season at



  1. That little brown body sitting forlornly on that great expanse of green just tugged at my heart. I, too, am owned by a ‘fur face’, a female golden named “Sweet Annie”. I have no grandchildren yet, so she fills many roles in my life. My all-time favorite though has got to be walking in the surf on the beach. Finally, I’ve found someone who loves the ocean as much as I! My husband often says she is the perfect dog for me and he is right. Here is to long life for our fur babies!

  2. Well said. Life without my dogs life would be empty. They are the children I was never blessed with, my best friends, confidants, comfort when sad, calming influence when I am angry, dinner partners, bed warmer, and my greatest joy. Love does not begin to describe what I feel for my two 20 pounds of fluffy fur.

  3. You’ve described the joys of having dogs perfectly!! I’ve told my husband time and again that I can’t ever imagine life without at least one dog. We all deserve to come home to that unconditional love and total devotion that dogs specialize in. Our Pixel understands our moods perfectly and is able to suit his energy level to ours at any given moment. He’s happy to do his chores (picking up various items in the yard or house) while I’m doing mine and just as glad to simply hang out on my lap. Can’t ask for anything more.

  4. What a sweet story! Like Bonnie, I thought Maddie just sitting there was such a heart tugger. I’m glad Ted wasn’t gone too long. These kind of stories always make me miss my Rocky. 😦 He was one of those “special” dogs.

  5. My family is a cat family (although we love ALL 4-legged creatures). I don’t know what I would do without my sweet little Sophie. She greets me at the door everyday when I get home from work and sleeps with me every night as well. I have to vacuum at least 3 times a week (she is a long-haired feline), but home wouldn’t be home without her!

    • Three times a week sounds like Heaven to me, Mary. Daily vacuuming here just does manage to keep ahead of the world’s greatest shedder – Mr. Bear. Sometimes it TWICE a day – like when company is coming!

  6. Poor sweet Maddie. Maybe someday they’ll invent a sidecar for kayaks. 🙂

  7. I enjoy your blog whatever the topic is. But especially when it is about the dogs. I love my dogs and enjoy reading all about the adventures of Bear and Maddie. I never had kids and consider my dogs my children. They are the best thing that has ever happened to me. They greet me with a wagging tail and are always up for a cuddle when I am feeling blue. You put it perfectly what dogs mean in peoples lives. Thank you again for your fantastic blog.

  8. I have been reading your blogs now for awhile but rarely comment. Tonight I just had to post! I thoroughly enjoyed this one! And I agree with everyone else…the pictures of Maddie waiting are priceless. 🙂 This blog entry could make the biggest dog hater want to go out and get a furry little pooch! 😉
    I so look forward to seeing your name in my e-mail list every few days!!
    Take care,

    • So glad you wrote, Nicole. Sure would like to know one of my blogs caused someone to go out one day and adopt a furry little pooch or fuzzy little kitty from their local Humane Society. There are way too many “throw-away” pets in the animal shelters across this country.

  9. You hit the nail on the head in regards to our animals. I lost my Mia 6 years ago and living with my parents they wouldn’t allow me to have another cat. I miss her each day, she was my baby. My brother is bringing over their cat for us to watch as they moving to Florida. I’m so looking forward to having another pet around the house.

  10. No truer words were ever written.

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