Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cause He's The Taxman

*Fair Warning*  This is a long post, but hey, every dog deserves his day...right?!

Today is Mr. Quinn's birthday!  He is a big boy of 2 today and well, my baby isn't a baby anymore...*sniff*  I know that he's a puppy dog, and no I don't treat him like he's my baby, my  17 year old son "Bugs" fills that roll nicely, but Mr. Quinn will always be a very special furry friend in my life.  And maybe I do baby him a kids say he's a Momma's Boy!

You see I married a man who had never had pets growing up.  Mr. Tide's family has lots of allergies and so after years of allergy shots and avoiding things that made him wheeze, sneeze, and the like, he lived life growing up devoid of furry creatures, but had lots of love none the less.  

I, on the other hand, grew up with gerbils, dogs, cats, horses, cows, chickens, turtles, birds, fish, and even a raccoon!  The cows and chickens were mostly gone by the time I was old enough to remember, but the rest of that menagerie filled our home and the farm my grandparents owned just down the street.  I can still remember sneaking sugar cubes at church on Sunday and taking them to the horses along with apples from the apple orchard.  And there was never a time in my life when we didn't have at least one, and often times, two dogs in the house!  Us kids were known for bringing home stray animals.

When Mr. Tide first moved to Maryland to work he was lonely and didn't know a soul, so when one of his co-worker's cats had kittens and offered him one, he jumped at the chance.  Allergies be damned, he brought the furry fluff ball home and amazingly enough he did fine with her in the house!  So when we met just a year later he was already primed for the fact that I was (and still am) an animal lover!

I think you can tell a lot about a person by how they treat their animals and Mr. Tide was loving, attentive, and very kind to his cat Hunter, so I knew he was a keeper!  As a wedding gift I gave Mr. Tide a German Shepherd puppy and we even named her Indiana, the place where my husband had spent much of his life.

We have had several dogs over the last 24 years and all of them have been wonderful in their own special way, providing laughter and joy like only pets can.  When both of my parents passed away a few years ago I was emotionally and physically devastated and did what I've always done when things get rough in my life, I turned to the water and my loved ones, both human and furry for comfort.

We purchased a home on the water, and there is nothing quite as therapeutic in my opinion as having the sights, sounds, and smells of salt water to help ease your troubles.  And I begged Mr. Tide to help me complete my perfect fantasy life, and start the healing process of losing my parents by letting me get a second dog.

You see we already owned a beautiful tri colored Border Collie named Kylee who is...well let's just say that she's a bit crazy.  Cute, but crazy!  So when I would even hint at getting another dog, Mr. Tide would look at me and say "We already have a dog with 22 different personalities, why on earth would we get another dog?!"

So I politely listened to his very logical reasoning and secretly began searching for another dog on the internet.  I knew it had to be another herding breed, we just love their smarts and temperament and with our move to the water we had the perfect place for burning off lots of excess energy.  Herding dogs are not great apartment or even suburban dogs.  They need room to run and lots of mental stimulation to boot.  These dogs were bred to be up at sunrise with their masters and to go all day until the supper bell rings when they collapse at the feet of their owners and are ready to start the process all over again the following day.

I knew that another Border Collie was out of the question, I had done all the research in the world and our Kylee still ended up being on the high end of what is considered normal for a BC.  So if my plan to convince Mr. Tide to let me get a second dog was to work, then I would have to find a breed that wasn't going to push him over the edge!

I grew up with German Shepherds and they still remain one of my all time favorite breeds, but unfortunately they have been bred for a "look" for so long that health issues have nearly ruined the breed.  And we had an Australian Shepherd who if I could have cloned her I surely would have, but I couldn't find a breeder close enough to me and one of my main criteria is always to see at least one of the parents.  And in case you think I didn't go the rescue route, I did but because of our Kylee's wacky personality it was very difficult finding a good match for her and that was equally as important.  I would have loved to have brought a rescue dog into our lives but it just didn't work out this time.

After months of covert searching I finally came upon a breed that I had never heard of, the English Shepherd.  Everything I read about them sounded like the German Shepherds and Aussies I had know throughout my life, and I had to find out more.  They are a very high energy breed, smart, stubborn, bossy, and loyal...everything I've always admired in a good dog.

I contacted several breeders only to find that they fiercely protect these dogs and really wanted me to have stock to work in order to get one of their puppies.  You would think this would make me defensive and turn tail and run, but I loved that these breeders wanted to keep the breed doing what they were meant to do, and it made me want an ES puppy all the more!  Although I don't have stock to work, I do know how to keep a dog which requires loads of mental and physical stimulation going, and I was up for the challenge!

I also noticed that every breeder I considered buying an ES from would not allow you to pick which puppy you got.  They asked lots of questions, and then based on their evaluation of each pup over the 8 to 10 weeks they raised them, they would select the puppy which best suited you.  Again, I loved this!

I finally found a wonderful breeder in northern Virginia by the name of Ann Stewart.  Ann is an author, and she and I hit it off immediately.  This was her first litter of pups, and she was doing everything right in my opinion!  She runs a sheep farm and lives a bucolic life with her husband and two beautiful daughters.

I had told Ann about Kylee and how we needed a very calm and "floppy" puppy from the litter, one who would just go with the flow.  I told her I didn't care if it was male or female, though I'd only ever had female dogs, but that the most important part was finding the right pup for us.

Ann paid close attention to everything I said and as the days and weeks wore on I was getting more and more excited about the prospect of having a sweet little fur ball in the house again after so many years.  Mr. Tide had warmed up to the idea too and even he was getting excited.  Just a few days before it was time to pick up our mystery puppy, since we didn't have a clue which one we were getting, Ann phoned me and we talked once again.

She kept talking about one pup in particular, a male by the name of Quinn who was feisty, headstrong, and a real other words, the opposite of the "floppy" puppy in the group!  I hung up the phone and looked at our son Bugs and told him everything Ann had said about each of the pups.  He looked at me and said "you know mom, Quinn sounds like the right dog for us."  I really had to agree, he was everything I imagined and longed for in a second dog.  So I quickly phoned Ann back and we chatted some more, mostly about how Quinn was nothing like what I had previously told her that I wanted, but that he really did seem to be the best fit for us.  She agreed!

Just a few days later we were on our way, new leash, collar, and water bowl in hand to pick up our little bundle of joy.  Our excitement was tempered by the fact that Quinn was a favorite of both Ann and one of her daughters and so as we drove away with our new charge, we were all crying and we promised them that we would take very good care of their sweet boy!  We even decided to keep the name they had chosen for him, Quinn just seemed to suit him!

Today, on Mr. Quinn's 2nd birthday and tax day,  I want to thank Ann and her family (and of course Miss Bonnie and Finn McCool, Quinn's parents), for the wonderful gift they bestowed upon us!  Quinn is everything we hoped for and more!!  He is a loving companion, bossy enforcer of the rules, genuine charmer, and all around pampered pooch!

Kylee loves him to pieces, even if he does lick her ears off and generally aggravate her, and she wouldn't have it any other way.  Quinn has been my constant companion, dried my tears, and joined in my joy over the last 2 years and for that I am truly grateful!  And for those of you who say "well he's just a dog!"  I double dog dare you to look in those big chocolate brown eyes and not be smitten!

Happy Birthday Mr. Quinn!! xoxoxo


  1. Mr. Quinn is quite a handsome boy! I just hate it when anyone says "just a dog" and I know I won't especially like the person who said it. That Just a Dog is my best friend who is always there for me, and never judges, even if I'm a little late with dinner:)

  2. What a beauty that Mr. Quinn is! I loved hearing the story of how you got him. It is an amazing relationship that we have with our dogs. Happy birthday Mr. Quinn!

  3. What a great story and tell Mr. Quinn Happy Birthday. I never thought I would have a dog inside the house and now I can not imagine not having one inside. Bailey was two in October. Now go spoil that birthday boy!

  4. Oh- he is adorable. Happy Birthday, handsome fella! And what a wonderful story to share. I LOVE animails. I don't know what I would do without them.

    Hope you are having a great afternoon!

  5. Happy Birthday to You
    Happy Birthday to You
    Happy Birthday, dear Quinn,

    What a sweet boy.

  6. What a wonderful story! When people say "well he's just a dog!" or "well he's just a cat!" to me, that indicates someone who does not have and has never had a real relationship with an animal and that strikes me as extremely sad. Animals are an integral part of my life and I just cannot imagine my life without them.

    Happy Birthday Handsome Quinn!

    ~ Tracy

  7. What a doll! Happy birthday, Mr. Quinn!

  8. You sound like a girl after my own heart. I think Mr. Quinn is beautiful and a perfect fit. Happy Birthday Mr. Quinn!!! I also have a border collie and he is so sweet and so bad and so active and well you know, around and around and around we go. I love him to pieces, we rescued him when he was a puppy and he is now 12. We have had so many experiences with him but he is very loyal and really my best friend. He grew up with a golden and he loves her to pieces, she is lazy so not a good companion for Colby but he still thinks she is just the best. We recently rescued a maltese, male and he is so saucy and such a bad boy, he hates Colby and I swear he thinks Zoie is his Mother. But when they get outside to play it is roundup fun for Colby..LOL...

  9. I loved it! What an absolutely precious dog - my husband and I are big fans of herding breeds. I have a red heeler and he is by far the best dog I know. Smart and loyal - very very loyal, and easy to train! And, how refreshing to see someone responsibly adopt a dog by researching the breed and making sure they were a match for you and your family. Bravo to you!

  10. He is just beautiful. I would have fallen in love with him too! I liked reading the back story about how you got him. Makes an even better Happy Birthday post!

  11. Never heard of this breed either, and what a beautiful boy!

  12. Oh Quinn is gorgeous - such a handsome boy. I agree - looking into his eyes makes me want to take him home with me. We used to have a highly intelligent border collie and when he died age 14 and a half we waited four more years to get another dog. We then got Woody who is the most handsome and most incredibly stupid dog ever to walk this earth but what a personality. I have kids knock on my door to play in the garden with Woody even when my kids aren't home (I had three just tonight!).
    And by the way Kylee is a beautiful girl too!
    I agree with you - dogs are part of your family.
    Happy Birthday Quinn,
    love Woody in Wales x

  13. Mr. Quinn is handsome boy. I'm sure he and Zoe would have a great time playing.

  14. What a cutie... I couldn't imagine life without our dogs. They really are part of the family!

  15. What a great story!!
    I love Mr. Quinn...he is beautiful!
    I too am a German Shepard lover and have one right now.....but she is a rescue from the local humane society and really is probably mixed with something else! She has been completely wonderful and free of any healthy issues!!!

  16. Give Mr. Quinn a big birthday hug from some dog lovers in NC. By the way, the co-editor did have a crush on Doogan of Blooming on Bainbridge, but now she just might have eyes for Mr. Quinn too.

  17. A big birthday woof from George and a kiss from me to Mr. Quinn.

    Love your Kylee, too.

  18. Kat, I just love this post! Mr Quinn is adorable~ I am SUCH a dog girl...thanks so much for sharing him with us on his birthday!!

  19. Quinn's Daddy, Finn, sends his Birthday wishes!! What a beautiful boy he has turned out to be (he really resembles his Dad)! And what a great life he has...


    Judy (Finn's owner)

  20. Pets are the absolute best.... can you imagine life without them. Your pooch is adorable.

  21. Quinn says thank you everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes! And hi Judy, please give Finn a big hug and kiss for us!

    Kat :)

  22. Happy Birthday Mr Quinn!! This is a lovely post Kat! Pets bring such joy and compassion into our lives. I hope that you and your family have a great weekend!!

    Susan and Bentley

  23. Happy Birthday to cutie pie Quinn - so adorable! Happy weekend to you! Trina

  24. How lucky Quinn is to have been given to you!! I love this post and the photos. Both dogs are gorgeous. I have had dogs my entire life and can't imagine life without them. They own a piece our hearts forever. Happy Birthday Quinn!

  25. I've always wanted a German Shepherd, or at least a mix. We've been moving around a lot, and will again, so it's not a good time to have a dog, and I'm fine with that. I still remember as a small kid I would ride on my neighbors German Shepherd's back like he was a pony!

  26. Oh happy belated birthday to Mr. Quinn! What a gorgeous doggy!! ~ Tina xx

  27. Mr. Quinn is every bit the gentleman, and that bird on branches silhoutte photo is stunning.

  28. Oh I can totally see how easily I could be smitten by another doggie. I love how you wrote this post for Mr. Quinn on his birthday. There is just nothing quite like a dog's unconditional love! ~Lili

  29. Oh what a beautiful, beautiful story. I have tears in my eyes. Happy Birthday sweet puppy. A-m xx

  30. Ohhhh Kat


    Looooooovvveeeeeeeee ♥♥♥♥

    with your furkids. be still my heart ;D

    Jane T.

  31. He is a gorgeous boy! I love the story. Thanks so much for sharing.



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