All the Dogs I’ve Loved Before

In light of our new puppy, who I will introduce at the end, I wanted to show the dogs I’ve loved in my life. They all come into my mind often and deserve a mention of some kind. They’re all the reason I love dogs so deeply and couldn’t wait to be able to get my son one.

Reno and Tahoe

Golden retrievers, sisters, babysitters, guards.

These were the first dogs I ever had in my life. My parents got them before me and my brother were even born. They even had a litter of puppies with Reno before I was alive.

My memories of them are some of the first I ever had. Sadly enough, they were both pretty old so my memories of them were mostly just laying with them while they put up with my childish antics. They were the most patient dogs ever, but, with dogs, patience like that definitely came with age. When I call them “babysitters” it’s because when I was a baby, my mom could leave me between the two of them and they wouldn’t move. She could come back a couple minutes later to them laying guard — or so she tells me. I remember also thinking it was pretty cool that they would bark when a stranger would approach our fence, but I honestly can’t remember if that was my own memory or something my parents described to me.

Reno had to be put down first and it’s a fuzzy memory for me. We had Tahoe a little while longer. Her last little while with us was a decline in her health which I didn’t realize at that point in my life. I thought it was cute she would only eat if I put her food on the plates in my tea set and hand fed them to her. I remember her trying to follow me down the sloped driveway we had in the house I grew up in, but she couldn’t. At that point her shoulder was so swollen because of a tumor that she could only drag her front paw while she walked. It wasn’t long after that that we lost her. I was so small I didn’t really understand.


Tiny, golden retriever, basically a seal, one of the best trained dogs I’ve ever had… well, sometimes.

Cody was the runt of her litter. I can’t remember where my parents got her, but we got her as a family at first. When my mom and dad split, she went with my mom. That’s only relevant because Cody was very undecided about where she wanted to be. My moms apartment wasn’t too far from where we lived with my dad. Sometimes we would get home after school to her sitting on my dads front porch because she ran away from my mom and came to the house she knew first. It was so cute because when we would find her she would get this guilty, devious smile on her face because she knew she did something she wasn’t supposed to and knew she would have to go back.

She was a working dog. My mom worked at an assisted living place in Idaho Falls and she would sleep under the front desk while my mom did her work. All the residents loved her and there were stories of her pulling people in their wheelchairs.

My fondest memories of her were going to Gem Lake. She was an avid swimmer and could fetch sticks like no one else. You couldn’t even say the word “lake” in front of her without her freaking out. If we said “lake” while we were in the car with her she would scratch up whatever area she was in because she would have a full blown excitement attack.

Cody knew how to sit, roll over, shake, and how to hold a treat on her nose and catch it. Towards the end of her life, her bark was really strange and we would poke fun at her a little bit. Unfortunately she had to be put down around this time because she had stomach cancer that got into her throat. It makes me feel bad for making fun of her. I was in 7th grade.


Mellow, country dog, water lover (thanks to Cody), my moms best friend.

We got Raven when I was in 6th grade making her almost 13 today. One day, my mom and I were at the pound “only looking”, as it happens. We weren’t expecting to come across a kennel full of border collie mixed puppies that would steal our hearts. I always give my mom a hard time because I saw her first and called my mom over. It became a must to get one of the puppies because, when Raven was small, she looked almost identical to a dog my mom had when she was a kid.

Raven was my moms companion. It was while my mom was getting her degree that she came upon Raven, but she made it work. My mom would bring Cody and Raven to her classes. If it was cold outside she would put the dogs in her car for an hour or so and walk them between classes.

We were lucky to have Cody when we adopted Raven because she helped shape Raven into a really mellow dog. She also taught her that going swimming in lakes and rivers was the best thing ever. Where my mom ended up in Wyoming with the dogs, they were spoiled with a lot of land and Raven ended up preferring the country over the apartment that she started in – no surprise there.

When my mom could no longer travel with Raven, which didn’t work because it was her job, she gave her to me. Raven loved us for a short time before I had to find her another family because apartment life in Seattle just didn’t work for her. Now she lives in central Washington with a new family and has the wide-open spaces she always wanted.

(If any of my friends live in the Ephrata area, please keep an eye out for Raven because she has been missing for the last week. This is the latest picture of her)


Flat coat retriever, scared of her own shadow, sweetest, crazy.

It was winter when I was 8 years old. My dad told Joey and I that he had a surprise for us when he picked us up from school. Cassidy was the surprise. She was a big puppy and not much to look at. She smelled like dog poop because she pooped on the way home from the pound she came from in Montpelier, Idaho. When we got her a little cleaned up and less stinky she was the most beautiful thing ever that just needed a little help with her fur.

She was our best friend and growing up with her was endless entertainment. When Joey and I would play on the trampoline outside, she would run around the backyard in a giant figure 8. She ran that path so often that it eventually became a bare trail of dirt and a pain to mow around according to my dad and Joey.

Overall, bringing her home was so easy. The worst thing she did was chew up my dads wallet and he had to explain to every cashier why the corner of all his cards were cut off.

Her first weeks home, we knew something bad must have happened to her in her life. She was scared of belts, brooms, recliners, high noises and so many other things I can’t even remember all of them. We got phones when we were older and she was even afraid of them vibrating on a hard surface. Don’t even get me started on her reaction during the 4th of July or if one of the fire alarms was running out of batteries and would chirp to remind us.

She was so afraid of things that when we were at Sea World in San Diego, she got “hit” by a car and ran away thinking she was in trouble. I say “hit” because the car bumped into her, but she was actually fine considering how far she ran away. We lost her for a whole night after that. Our dog that had barely swam a day in her life, jumped into the water behind Sea World and swam all the way across to an island called Fiesta Island which is a dog park. We found her walking with a family that had a Saint Bernard the next morning. They said they found her stuck on the other side of the fence in the water and decided to stay at the park in case anyone would come for her. Sure enough we did. I wrote this whole account into a journal in 6th grade and I got in trouble because it was supposed to be a factual story. It was!

As a family, we took her everywhere. She was my dad’s baby and you could sometimes catch him picking her up and holding her. There was also evidence of their morning cuddles because Joey and I would wake up after my dad was already at work and Cassidy would smell like him where he hugged her.

She was a dog that almost never smelled bad and you could bury your face in her fur at any moment if you wanted comfort. She would stay only as long as something didn’t scare her.

Seeing her get old was one of the hardest things my family went through together. She had liver failure and one day she just couldn’t stand up. At least she waited until I was on break from college and at home. It was 13 wonderful years with her.


Unknown mutt of some kind, overall weirdo, but a very good girl.

Rachel was a rescue above all. We got her when I was in 6th grade. She had been in many people’s homes but none seemed to ever work for her. Someone at the pound also said something like her being found under trash and because of that she spent most of her time hiding behind or under something. After a while we just started putting our couches at an angle in a corner with a dog bed behind them because she was bound to end up there anyway.

There were countless things she did that were so strange. We moved to a house that had a garden full of rocks and she took up pooping there and nowhere else.

She also had an obsession of small metal or rock objects and if you told her to drop something it was usually a bobby pin. The obsession with rocks eventually got to her because she would try and scrape rocks from the pavement and by the time she was old, all her bottom teeth were worn away.

Whenever we would go on vacation with all of us and the dogs, oftentimes, you’d wake up in the middle of the night because of her obsessive licking and itching of herself. I don’t think a noise has ever irritated me so much but we loved her all the same.

To us, she was more of a cat with the way she would rather be left alone and would lay in patches of sun on the carpet or spend time only outside to sit in the sun.

Unfortunately, at the end of her life, she was having seizures and the only solution was putting her down. I was away at school when that happened.

Introducing… Bulma

Golden retriever, tiny puppy, soon to be Pax’s best friend.

She’s the runt of the litter and already stealing the hearts of everyone around her. It’s been my dream to have a golden retriever of my own and I finally get to do it thanks to Micah. Around the time we got engaged, he also pulled a fast one and got a puppy to surprise me as well.

So far all we know is she loves to cuddle, doesn’t mind Pax’s curiosity and is confused about car rides. She got sick on the car ride home and, when she finally settled, this is how she rode home.

We love you, Bulma. We can’t wait to make a lifetime of memories with you ❤️

2 responses to “All the Dogs I’ve Loved Before”

  1. I’ve just lost my 14-year old border collie and love of my life. Reading your post emphasizes the joy these creatures bring into our lives. Have you heard the song that dog is God spelled backwards? If not, search it out. It’s beautiful. And may make you cry…


    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. It’s such a hard thing to go through. If it’s any consolation, I’m sure the girls that I’ve had are in dog heaven playing with your dog! I have heard that song. Definitely made my heart full ❤️ thank you for reading


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