When we were growing up, we had the best family dog. She was a fun loving, over-sized, Yorkshire Terrier who answered to the name Cookie.
My sister and I brought her home when I was around 11 or 12 years old, much to the surprise of my parents, who were not originally consulted with the dog decision. My sister was older and had access to my parents credit cards, so we were able to go to the local pet shop to bring her home. (I know now that pet shops are not the place for dog purchases, but we were young and didn’t know any better.)
Cookie was a terrified little puppy weighing in at a whopping 3 pounds. She was shy, timid and mostly just scared out of her mind. We tried our best to make her feel welcome by making her a bed, buying her toys, and offering lots of dog treats and food to make her transition smooth. We definitely had no idea what we were doing and did not know how to care for a puppy. The poor girl cried and cried all through the night and we could do nothing to comfort her. That was a rough first few nights with a new puppy.
Slowly, but surely, we started learning more and more about how to care for a dog. We took Cookie to dog training classes, where instead of doing the commands, she ate all the snacks out of the trainers bag when we weren’t looking. Needless to say, she never learned a whole lot from those classes.
Fast forward to a couple years later…
You know how people say that dogs start to resemble their owners? Well, Cookie definitely adopted lots of personality elements from each member of the family. She had her fun loving spirit about her, and then also she would unpredictably become moody and cranky. She was a great dog though and the family loved her unconditionally, and she loved us back the same way.
She loved my dad the most. I think it had to do with the fact that he fed her under the table every night at dinner. She would beg for food from my dad, by scratching the table leg of our kitchen table. That one leg of the table no longer had white paint on it. This would probably also explain how a Yorkshire Terrier can become 17 pounds, when the normal size is about 5-7 pounds.
When I left for college, and then post college I stayed on the west coast for work. I missed Cookie dearly, and I would not have the opportunity to make my frequent trips home with my new job. To fill the void, I decided I wanted a dog of my own. I wanted a Yorkie because of Cookie, and I wanted a slightly smaller one to manage in my tiny studio apartment.
I was slightly more prepared this time around to raise my own puppy. I named her Pepper because of her personality and because of her coloring. I brought her home at 8 weeks old, when she only weighed about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds. I loved taking care of a new puppy, she was great and always kept me company when I was home.
About a year or so later, I decided to bring Pepper home to meet Cookie over the holidays. I knew this would pose a problem. Both dogs were spoiled and neither had ever been around other dogs before. Pepper was more even tempered, but Cookie for sure had the fire in her. Being an older dog, Cookie would be assuredly territorial.
Predictably, Cookie was upset at Pepper being in her house. Cookie would growl and try to snap at her. Meanwhile, Pepper had been around other dogs through classes and dog socializing that she was good with meeting new dogs. Thinking back, I probably could have socialized them a little better outside of the house, but I always knew that Cookie hated other dogs. She was a people dog, not a dog dog.
Overtime, Pepper was able to gain Cookie’s trust. We even caught the two of them enjoying the day’s sunlight together (Cookie’s favorite pasttime).
Those are great memories that I have of the family dogs. I adore dogs because of the love that they give you in return. Its true what people say, your dog will always be happy to see you, and just glad to be around you.
We miss Cookie a lot. She lived to about 12 years, which is not long for a Yorkie; but unfortunately she was hit by a car one winter on her daily walk with my dad. Thankfully, my dad is now recovered, but sadly we lost Cookie. We kind of think that Cookie had protected my dad, and made the ultimate sacrifice.
I had a dream about Cookie not too long ago. In this dream, she was happily running around chasing my brother. That made me really happy, and well, a little sad too. She’s now in doggy heaven chasing the mailman, chewing her favorite toys, and eating her favorite snacks.
I loved growing up with a family pet. I would think that it’d be a valueable life experience for all children and parents. I feel like I learned a lot caring for a dog that has carried through to today.