I've loved and lost many dogs in my life. Here are their stories - and with them, some of my stories.
Sonny was 6 months old when we got him. He was a handful for 11 year old me. In fact, he completely destroyed our bathroom on the first night as we were out buying him a crate - my mom threatened to take him back, and looking back, I can't blame her. But Sonny grew to be the best dog anyone could ask for - fiercely loyal, amazingly intelligent, and always knew just when to snuggle - or bite your leg. He taught me a lot about how to love and care for dogs.
He died at 9 years old from cancer after a long battle. On his final day, I was in the kitchen baking when he hobbled in and looked up at me. I had come home from college because we knew the end was near. So I got him a spoon, and we sat in the floor eating cookie dough and enjoying the time we had. That was the only thing he had eaten that day, but he gobbled it up. He left us the next morning.
Chip - short for Chip Off the Old Block - was only 6 weeks old when we got him. He was the first time I ever experienced a true puppy. And he was ALL puppy. Unlike his father, Chip was a goofball who never took anything too seriously unless it was a ball. He once peed in someone's shoe, tore up the side of a recliner, and generally wreaked havoc on our lives. As he grew older, he became more focused and driven to learn. He was one of the lovingest dogs I ever had. He could understand you weren't feeling well and he would do everything in his power to cheer you up. I believe he just knew instinctively how and when he was needed. Chip left us just about a year ago. His kidneys and the cancer took him far too young. However, he didn't leave my mom until he knew she would be taken care of by her new dog - Lucy. I think that was his way of making sure she was ok.
Once I graduated college in 2014, I knew I needed a companion. I was 23 years old and alone in my new home. The man I was dating at the time found a craigslist ad for border collie pups. And there was Cooper. This pink-nosed, mouthy little blue merle. I thought I had this figured out - after 2 dogs, I could handle this on my own - right? So I bought him only the "best" food (which I found out later was NOT the best). I bought him tons of toys and taught him to play ball and frisbee. But nothing could compete with the mouth on this dog... I didn't sleep for the first 4-5 months I had him. I'm sure my neighbors didn't either. I threatened - in tears on the phone with my dad - to take him to the pound more than once. But, eventually we found our rhythm and came to terms with each other.
Cooper has taught me more than any human or other dog could. He's taught me how fiercely I can love something - even while frustrated. He taught me patience. He's been there through breakups and adventures. He moved with me to Kansas City. And that's where our adventure really began. We went to dog parks, met new friends, and met my current boyfriend - Eric. Cooper immediately liked Eric - especially since our first date was to a dog park. Three years later, it's great to see their bond.
Now, you are probably thinking - wow, this lady only loves border collies. Well, I do tend to be drawn to them. However, there was one little puppy who changed my whole outlook on dog breeds...
I moved in with Eric in October of 2016. And to my surprise, he also brought home a puppy. Now at the time, I remembered - not so fondly - the days of the puppy, but there was nothing I could do. And only one thing concerned me at the time. Tank was part pitbull. Now, I've never had pitbulls, never experienced pitbulls, and never considered having one. I didn't dislike them - I loved every dog - but I was weary of a label. I set ground rules - Cooper and Tank could NOT be left alone - what if Tank bit Cooper? What if...? My mind was out of control with prejudices that I didn't even know existed within me.
But, let me tell you a little about Tank. He is a total daddy's boy. He follows Eric around like his life depends on it. He goes everywhere Eric goes. He came to us at 7 weeks old - just a tiny little thing that you see up there. From day 1, he was a snuggler. This dog will climb up in your lap, lay on your chest, and rest his head on yours - whether that's what you want or not. Tank has grown to 75 lbs, and he believes his love can cure you from any ailment - much like Chip did.
This boy changed my whole outlook on pitbulls, breed specific laws, and dogs overall. Never again will I judge a dog by its breed. We went on to foster and help out local shelters as much as possible, but we came across a rare opportunity.
Tank has a sister - from the same litter - who unfortunately had to be given up by her former owners. Molly came to us in February 2018. She is a little rough around the edges, and much to our surprise, she was in heat - which led to a litter of puppies that none of us had planned. Molly doesn't take well to people, but she was a great mama dog and she's become a great family member. You'll see her through photos on the website because she is definitely the most patient with my photo-antics!
These 3 crazies have really put things in perspective for me. They challenge me to be a better person and make them better foods. I've researched canine health and dietary science. I've tried to put my best foot forward for them. That's why I do what I do. Without all of the love and experience they've given me, Barkville Bakery wouldn't be here. My passion for dogs comes out in every treat I make, because I feed these to the most important members of my family.