I've grown up around large dogs and enjoy their presence in the home. When I decided to get my older dog a companion (before I had kids), I fell in love with Joey's face on our local humane society website. I had to meet her.
It was my birthday when me and my husband went down to the shelter to meet the dog they called "Josie." The shelter was overcrowded with dogs so they were offering half-priced discounts for adopting that day. The building was buzzing with people in search of their next furever friend. The kennels were so full in fact, JoJo (one of her many nicknames) was in a back holding area not on display.
It took over 20 minutes to have a staff member hunt her down. My husband and I were waiting in a meeting room when they brought her in. She was so pretty and oh so happy. She went to my husband right away and hopped onto his lap to slather him in kisses. Her tail was just a nub and was wagging rapidly back and forth, her eyes huge, and practically a smile on her face.
I knew she'd be coming home with us. It took her about a week to get acclimated to her new house and roommate, Toby. They are now companions, Joey being like a pesky little sister who always wants to play.
As our children came along, what surprised me the most was how much she loves them and how gentle and patient she is. She is by far the most tolerant and loving dog I've ever had, especially with children. Always keeping a watchful eye, as our babies grew and began to explore their world, I watched them closely as they crawled and toddled around the dogs.
Joey welcomed playful toddler swats as my boys learned "soft touches." She lets my oldest wrap her in a bear hug, smooshing his face next to hers. While Toby runs when he sees one of the kids making a beeline his way, Joey waits patiently for their loving touches.
She's the protector of our home and loves our children like she is their guardian.
Watching our children love and embrace their dogs and see the unspoken bond between them reminds me of our deeper connection to all living things on this planet.