I struggled with writing this. You see, my dog is my first born child. No really, he is. I refer to him as my son. Seriously. This often confuses my actual human born babies when I tell them to let their brother outside for a pee. My brother they ask? Yes, Wylie. Chop chop! They usually laugh it off, and think I am weird, but he is my son. I see him that way. Now, if you are not a ‘dog lover’, you will probably roll your eyes at the notion of this. But for those of you weirdos out there that feel the same way, it is completely acceptable and normal to feel this way.
You see, I got Wylie during a bad time in my life, and he rescued me. He never left my side. He has been one of my steadfast constants in my life since he came into my life 11 years ago. He was my first BIG dog that I had ever had, and as I soon discovered, I was in way of my head. I was dating someone at the time that had suggested the breed Weimeraners to me. I went ‘a Weim a what now’? I went online and started to see what the heck this was even about. I fell in love. The grey ghosts as they are called. Blue eyed, bullet grey puppies, I was smitten. With this in mind, I had been raised with dogs and I knew enough to make sure you research the dog breed and make sure it is compatible with your lifestyle, and that you know what you are getting into. I read all the Pro’s and Con’s. I was intrigued. I saw more pro’s than con’s. So I dove in. I didn’t have a lot of money at the time so I went online and found an ad for Weimeraner Pups. I got the last one of the litter. He was the runt, with a huge belly and he came home with me right then and there.
Believe it or not, the girl that sold him too me, said he had eaten a huge bowl of spaghetti the night before. I remember looking at her going, what?????? Spaghetti? I shrugged it off, until I saw his first (warning graphic) poop, full of worms. I just about had a fit. Yup, that makes sense. She knew he had worms, and wanted me to think he was pooping out spaghetti. Like honestly. I called her right back, no answer. Yup, that sounds about right too. That’s what you get for getting a dog from a random ad online. I think I started to panic a bit right then. What did I do. I have a dog with worms. A dog that will get big. I don’t know what I am doing, I have only had little tiny dogs up until now. I remember he was sitting the car seat next to me, and he just looked up at me with his big blue eyes, and I remember at that moment I said “Welp, it is you and me against the world boy. You and me against the world. We will do it together.” I made a choice then to put my big girl pants on and become his mom.
Wylie Coyote became my big 100lb plus boy, with a big sucky heart. I learned really quick that with Weimeraners, you have to work with their personality. They can be very destructive, they have high energy, and come with a lot of separation anxiety. I found out that he wasn’t a dog you could put in a cage. Regular leashes, nope don’t work. They are way too strong. I took him to some high caliber dog trainers and we went through a lot of trial and error to find a a leash that would allow me to take this strong boy for a proper walk, safely , without having him in control of me. I found out fast that when you are pregnant, they become even more protective. Another round of training took place to make sure we could reign in this behaviour before the kids came. He is smart as a whip, well trained, and the best damn dog ever. But I had to stay in control, and adopt to his personality over the years. They are sensitive to change, and definitely a breed you have to be in tune with if you want to survive and keep them and yourself safe. I heard a lot of horror stories over the year with the breed, but I never experienced many of those. He was not a destructive dog, was not super high energy, and as long as he wasn’t locked up in cage, he didn’t have a lot of anxiety. He has always been relaxed, funny as hell, and the biggest cuddle bug in the entire world.
Over the years, he became my son. When I had my human babies I was determined not to let him fall off his little pedestal that he had grown up on. Of course, its impossible for him not to get a little less time when you have 2 little ones also running around, but we made it our priority to always make sure he got out for his walks, and had lots of dog cuddle time when the kids were napping or in bed. I don’t believe in dogs becoming pushed to the side just because you have kids.
The bottom line is, when you make the choice to adopt a dog, you and only you are responsible for giving that dog their whole life. You are responsible for the life they lead, the food they eat, the places they see, their socialization. Owners shape the dog. Owners give dogs their entire world. You have the choice to let your dog only ever see the back fo a cage, or you have the choice to let the dog explore beaches, and wind in their fur with car rids, forests, you name it. I chose the latter. His life began with walks in the woods, running in the fields, and swimming in the lake at the cottage. Boat rides, car rides and doggy play dates. He is a saint with my little kids, patient and kind. I also made sure to teach my kids to be the same with him.
We hire dog walkers on days we have to work late, we hire our family on trips we take without him, to provide and care for him as we would, and always always we make sure that he has a blanket around him when he’s sleeping in bed. You see, he’s my son. I treat him how I would my kids. I wish everyone would do this. However, there is a downside. I find myself getting sad, and scared. I see him aging. His blue eyes are now brown, and his grey face littered with white whiskers. He has age spots, and bumps and lumps and he has started to lose weight. He sometimes falls when his legs give out beneath him randomly, and he cries at the top and the bottom of the stairs when he’s scared to attempt the climb. I see the signs that he is getting old. His back legs are weaker. I hate it. I see the signs that I don’t have as much time with him as I once did. I hate that. For an 11 year old Weimeraner, he is still pretty spunky and loves going for walks, and can jump up and down on the bed and likes to play still. But, there are a lot of signs of old age creeping in. I hate that. I can’t stop it and I hate it. I hate that they have such a short lifespan. It’s not fair.
One thing that is fair is that I am privileged to have been able to watch him grow up. I am privileged to see him get old. I am priveleged to be there for him now, when he needs me most. I owe him for all the times he was there for me. For all the days I cried into his fur, for all the times he greeted me at the door when no one else did. For all the times he slept next to me when I was dealing with PTSD, or POTS, or the loss of loves and loved ones. For all the times he protected me, made me laugh, and made me proud. I know he has had a good life, but I hope beyond hopes that I still have a lot of years left with him. I hope that I can keep him as long as I can, without pain and sadness. I dread that day, but I have been the lucky one. I believe that we were meant for each other. From runt to a huge boy with a huge heart, he wormed his way into my life. We are both the lucky ones. We took a path through life together that can never be altered or taken away. Growing old should never be a negative thing. Only a privilege. I have seen this time and time again as a paramedic. Never regret getting old. You are the lucky one that got to be old. Wylie is the lucky one that got to be old. I will be there no matter what for him. He is and always will be my first born son.
Please don’t ever abandon your dog as he gets old. Yes he may have more issues, or change, but it is when they need you the most. They have no one else but you. Don’t yell at them. Understand them. Don’t give up on them. Help them. If your life gets harder, remember how much harder their life is. Do what they did for you when they were young. They were there for you. Give them the same love and respect back. The love of a dog is one of the greatest loves that you could ever and receive in your life. Cherish it, and cherish them. Forever.
I love you Wylie, I hope to keep you for a lot longer my boy,