I think I’m the only person who had horses before dogs.
And it’s not that horses came easily to me:
“Mom, can I have a horse?”
“No. We don’t have the room.” (We lived in a small town with a medium yard, not zoned for horses.)
Flash forward about twenty years and I adopted a beautiful red Doberman. She was a perfect beginner dog. Gentle spirited, low shedder, past the puppy stage. Her only vice was having a delicate constitution with doggies allergies which was obviously something she couldn’t control. The first time I took her on a walk, because I was so used to horses, I actually said, “Whoa!” to get her to slow down.
I might have clucked to make her go faster.
My sweet dobergirl is now in heaven, and so for the last five-ish years my main dog pals have been Tigger our Golden Retriever and Missie our (but really my) Doberman. They are the lights of my life and ensure there is never a dull moment at the Smith house. (Case in point, as I’m typing this, I hear a rustling in the kitchen which means either A) there’s an intruder–not likely since Missie would have sprung into defense mode and barked in such a way if you’re not otherwise afraid of dogs, you might hesistate to make her your new best friend OR B) Tigger is trying to eat paper again.)
If you are wondering about the merits and idiosyncrasies of both breeds, and possibly contemplating what it is like to actually live with such ying and yang beasts, the Doberman versus the Golden Retriever I will share what I have experienced.
Missie the Doberman and Her Superpowers:
the ability to close drawers and cabinets on command with the shove of her prominent snout
can wear her ears up, down, one up and one down, or both out to the side
acute sensing of potential intruders on the property whether
- our neighbor whom she knows, likes, and will not bark at when on a walk
- a squirrel
- our other neighbor’s drone or
- Jehovah’s Witnesses
a sixth sense for when I am using the toilet and the dedication to visit me for a chat despite the awkwardness
you want a dog who will retrieve and then play keep away, teasing you with the object which will never be released until you bring out not just any treat, but a high value treat like a peanut butter, a dog bone, etc.
squeals and shrieks when she sees me after a vacation or an unusually long work day–she could be a dog actor for a scene in which a soldier comes home and the dog goes crazy with joy
galloping and flying over obstacles like a small horse
finding socks, eating them, and pooping them out (you can thank me for showing good judgment and not posting the pictures)
easy to take care of coat
(A word about the Jehovah’s Witnesses–I felt guilty I shooed them away last time they came to the door, but I did tell them that I respected people who shared their faith.)
A Doberman Might Be for You If You. . .
enjoy a challenge (if you own a Thoroughbred, you’re the perfect candidate for a Doberman)
like a highly intelligent, sensitive dog
want to feel protected when you’re at home
are okay with having a codependent relationship with a canine who will track you and seemingly read your mind
What you might find surprising about my Doberman Missie is that she is EXTREMELY cuddly. She loves hugs (which I know you’re not supposed to do to dogs, but she eats it up). She wants to snuggle constantly and she pretty much wants to touch me or vice versa. Dobies are leaners and sometimes referred to as Velcro dogs because they like to stick to you.
If you want to feel fawned on all the time, get a Doberman.
Tigger the Golden Retriever and His Superpowers
jumping into the pool to retrieve tennis balls
placing his whole face almost up to his eyes to grab the tennis ball that my husband is holding under water
strong ocean swimmer
leaving pale blond tumbleweeds in the corners of every room and hallway
flopping on his side and rolling on his back
finding magazines, toilet paper, random paper to shred
counter surfing for plums
liking everyone (including the Jehovah’s Witnesses at the door)
A Golden Retriever Might be For You If You . .
don’t want a dog to bark at stuff
like water sports or have a pool
like grooming animals
don’t mind vacuuming frequently or you own a Roomba which is really a Godsend
want to be smarter than your dog
want a dog with an easygoing personality
I love both of my dogs so much and they love me too. There is just something about the love of a Doberman that expresses itself so much more intensely than a Golden. Missie and I have a closer bond than Tigger and I do. Tigger and my husband Mark are two peas in a pod. There have been days when I’ve come across them swimming in the pool and it really made me think that it was like the two of them were boys playing–like an older and younger brother. It was very sweet.
To Sum It All Up
I’m a fan of dogs in general and believe more people should have them. Like the sixth grade boy, one of my new students, whose mom I emailed this week because he helped clean up the paints and tidy the room. I wanted to let her know I appreciated his gentlemanliness. Apparently when she told him the teacher emailed to say what a good boy he’d been he said, “So now can I get a dog?”
I have a feeling I’ll be sending some more complimentary emails to that mom as the year progresses. I want to do my part to make his dog dream come true.
And in case you were wondering if there was an intruder or Tigger trying to eat paper. . . let’s just say Missie never barked and I found an empty Amazon box on the floor. Hmmm. . .
Your Turn: What are your dog’s superpowers and how did you celebrate National Dog Day?