Brandy is my dog’s name. The Humane Society had named her “Aurora” but I think that’s an awful name for a dog… too many vowels. It’ll sound like you’re howling if you try and call a dog Aurora. They respond much better to names with sharp consonants in them. So, Brandy. Besides, she looked more like a Brandy to me than an Aurora. Anyway, we adopted her about a month after we moved in together, maybe two months… So it’s been about five and a half years since we adopted her. Brandy is the first furbaby Doug and I adopted together. We have a total of four now. Three dogs and one cat. The cat came with me. I’ve had him longer than I’ve had the husband. But I suppose you can call Brandy our “oldest” dog, even though they are all about the same age — eight.
When we first saw Brandy, she was cowering in a cage in the back of the portable Humane Society adoption center. She tore my heart out. Seriously. I could tell that she didn’t want to be there at all. I totally could not leave her sitting in that cage one more minute and even though I’d just moved with my then boyfriend (now husband), I knew that we could together make a good home for this dog. And she’s come a long way from the dog we adopted. When we first got her, she would crawl on her belly to us whenever we called her. Now she bounces around, playing with the other two dogs. She hardly cowers at all anymore. It took her three years to stop flinching whenever someone raised their voice, but she did. It took her another year to come up onto the couch without prompting (our furniture is not forbidden to the dogs). She’s like a completely different dog than the one we adopted, but I’m glad of it.
From what we could puzzle out from her adoption papers, we are her third owners. From her behavior when we adopted her, we figure she was a “back yard” dog – a dog that someone bought and left in the back yard with little to no contact and probably some kind of abuse — which was probably why she was so skittish when we bought her. She’s also afraid of small children, which leads me to believe that children teased her and/or were allowed to abuse her in her previous homes. She won’t bite them, but she’ll cower and try to avoid them or run away from them. When we lived in New Mexico, they had awesome dog parks and we were working on helping her with that fear, but here there aren’t very great dog parks to take her to, so she might have regressed in that area. She’s also very camera shy. It’s really difficult to get a good picture of her because she’ll turn away from the camera and/or phone whenever she sees me point one at her. The picture here is an exception. I think that she’s slowly getting over this fear.
Initially, we bought Brandy with the idea that I’d take her on walks and I did for the first four or so years we had her. It’s only been in the past two years or so that I’ve been unable to walk her, and she needs to be walked because she’s a cattle dog mix. This breed does much better when they’ve been exercised. Right now, I have a nice lady come once a week to take her for a walk, and we have a big yard for her to run around in and chase birds. It’s not enough, but it’s better than nothing. If my health wasn’t so crap, I’d totally walk her more. I used to love walking the pooches when we lived in Albuquerque, and I bet they loved being walked. Since my stupid body decided to rebel on me, I haven’t been able to do that. Ah well, at least she has the yard to run around in. If only fencing wasn’t so expensive, I’d totally fence our whole property in so the dogs could run around the entire place, but for now they have a good quarter acre. I guess that’s enough. ^_^
So anyway, as I mentioned before, we’ve had Brandy for a little over five and a half years. It took her nearly all of those five years to overcome the bullshit the first two owners did to her, but I’m glad she’s grown into the playful pup we have now. She really is a great dog, and I’m glad we took a chance on her all those years ago. The vets guess that she’s about eight years old. She’s pretty sprightly for someone reaching middle age. I wish I had her energy. Ha! The average life span for cattle dogs (they also call this breed “heelers”) is, I think, 12 years? She’s a mix so… I dunno it’ll probably be the same. We hopefully have at the very least, four more good years with Brandy. And I’m gonna relish each and every one of them.