All My (Dog) Children

Life without dogs would be so empty and sad, I think.  They fill essential needs:  comic relief, cheering me up at the end of a crummy day, on-demand snuggles and of course, unconditional love.

I believe that teenage boys derive a great benefit from having pets in the house, as they may become uncomfortable receiving hugs from Mom, but still need some tactile form of affection. Sometimes, in the adolescent years and beyond, when no one in the world understands you, your dog will hear you out and agree wholeheartedly with your position, demonstrating this consensus by licking your face. We all need that from time to time.



 My first dog was Nathaniel, whom I adopted in my second year of law school. He had a million nicknames, among them Nunny, Mr. Puppy and Beeb. I have no idea why. He lived with me in NYC in my apartment across from law school, and probably saved my life many times over. I hated law school and could have easily curled up in a ball in my apartment, never to be seen again, but for the fact that I had to walk Mr. Puppy several times a day. That momentum kept me rolling along, into my classes and doing my work. He was really my first baby.

Roscoe and George

 Roscoe had strong political beliefs (his favorite toy was a likeness of a politician who shall remain nameless).

When MYS-27 was getting ready for his Bar Mitzvah, he had to do a project that demonstrated being a good citizen. He chose to adopt a homeless dog, and that was Roscoe, a Lhasa apso mix from the mean streets of Bridgeport. We really loved Roscoe, who was also called Mr. Puppy. He was very cute but sadly had been abused in his previous life and had a tendency to viciously bite. I have many scars to prove it. He then developed diabetes insipidus which resulted in his peeing copious quantities all over the place. I had to give him shots of insulin – this ferocious beast! Good luck with that! Peanut butter on a plate distracted him sufficiently. However, he just got worse and worse healthwise, and he crossed the rainbow bridge in 2006.

Lizzie Smiling 4


By that time we had adopted Lizzie, a cute little Maltese mix who was just a joy in every way. She let me dress her up for Halloween and was a very snuggly girl. When MOS-32 was having problems with depression, and I had to go to work, Lizzie was in charge of watching over him while I was gone, and she did an amazing job. She would do funny Lizzie things to cheer him up and never left his side.

Lizzie and Dave

Nurse Lizzie on the job


 Who ate the pretzels?  Not me, says Lizzie!

Lizzie was very food-oriented and seemingly could fly through the air. Once I came home to discover that an entire 5 pound box of matzoh, sitting on the counter, had had its top layer sheared off by SOMEONE. Process of elimination pointed to Liz as the guilty party. She also jumped up on the island and got into the Halloween candy one year, eating the ones she liked and throwing only the York Peppermint Patties on the floor for Roscoe. Liz was about 7 when we adopted her, and she was with us for 10 years until she had to be put to sleep in 2011.


P1010292                                          PICT3372

How is this not a cat?                                                                               Who could resist this little guy?“Arr!  Arr!  Arr!”

In 2003, we adopted Simon, a shih tzu mix (mixed with cat, I think). Simon was a beautiful white/beige fuzzball and had a lot of cute tricks such as sitting up and waving his paws in the air when he wanted something. He had skin problems and had to be bathed often. After bathing, he would become Wild Dog, with his eyes bulging out, barking “Arr, arr, arr,” like a pirate, and jumping in every direction at some perceived enemy. That was so funny to watch. Towards the end, he had to wear little doggie diapers (the best invention ever), but looked very dashing in the many patterns I bought for him. He died in July 2012, in my arms as I was driving him to the vet.


In 2010, we adopted Billy, a Facebook dog. My high school friend’s dog had puppies. She posted the pictures on FB. MOS-32 and his then fiancée decided to adopt one of them. All the other littermates were adopted, except for poor Billy, so at the last minute, I decided to take him. He was supposed to remain small, but he grew to be 22 lbs. He gets to visit with Gemma, his sister, almost every day, because she comes to our house for doggie daycare.

Baby Billy & Gemma.1                                                         P1030021

Billy and his sister Gemma, plus sibs                                                   Yeah, he’s going to be a tiny dog…NOT!



 The distinguished gentleman, William Jefferson Levy

Right before Simon died, we adopted Rosie, who is a Yorkie/Shih Tzu mix. I didn’t think I could deal with another dog-ter after Lizzie died, but Rosie really channels Liz. It’s eerie. She has a great love of chewing on soft plastic, and managed to almost electrocute herself by chewing through an electrical wire right after we adopted her (before I had time to enroll her in pet insurance, of course). I yanked her off the wire, not knowing that could have been a fatal error for ME, and shook her back to life. She spent some time in the ICU but since then has been fine. She still likes to steal soft plastic at any opportunity, including all of the rings on my grandson’s ring-stacking toy, a pair of my glasses, pens, lipstick tubes – you get the idea.  She also does a great imitation of a meerkat.

Rosie on her 1st birthday.5.6.12 (368x368)

 My dog-ter Rosie, with her electric personality

Now we have just Rosie and Billy, plus Gemma for doggie daycare, 3 young, very energetic dogs, after years of sedentary older dogs. They are a little more unruly and a little less housebroken than I would prefer, even though they have been through obedience training, but I love them so much.




Can YOUR dogs poop in Hebrew? 

Anyone else want to share their tales of furry children?

2 thoughts on “All My (Dog) Children

  1. Thanks, Vivian. I got all misty going down memory lane with those cuties. All the furry dogs were all non-shedders until we adopted Billy, who is now shaved down by the groomer so the tumbleweeds of dog hair do not take over the house. He looks very cute that way, too. Also amazing is the many different textures of doggie hair/fur they have presented. Simon was frizzy, not soft like most Shih tzus. Rosie is like a plush stuffed animal — softest fur ever.

    I was sad to read about your Plumber Spaniel (get it? There’s a breed called Clumber Spaniel). That is the one bad thing about being a dog lover — their short little lives.

    All are shelter dogs except Billy, the Facebook dog. Only Roscoe has been a problem, and also Mollie, who did not make it into the story as she was here only briefly and managed to rack up huge medical bills because the shelter told me she was 2 when she was actually more like 12. She wasn’t vicious, but she had many bad habits such as coprophagia and damaging her bulgy eyes, which cost many thousands just to REMOVE. And she smelled bad no matter what I did. Yuccch.

    But please don’t stop adopting shelter dogs, because it’s always going to be a crap shoot, even with our human kids! You should not feel guilty about taking your current dog back to a shelter, especially if he poses a risk to the kids. I waited too long with Roscoe, until he made the decision for me by getting sick, but even the vet said, “I wouldn’t put up with that!” between the biting and the diabetic peeing. Also, I found out later that Lhasa apsos, as a breed, are often biters. Shih tzus are, to me, the perfect dog: cute, calm, non-destructive.


  2. LOL, I love the pics of your dogs!!! I also love that they’re all furry dogs (as opposed to short hair) – I think furry dogs are ADORABLE.

    We are dog people, too. My husband bought me a puppy dog for a wedding present and he was simply the BEST dog I have ever had. So kind, easy going, and a bit dopey. We used to say that if he was a human, he would be the plumber with the buttcrack showing. We had to put him down because he got very sick.

    We’ve had numerous other dogs (had dogs as a kid, had them when I got older) – unfortunately, right now we own a problem dog (was surrendered to the shelter numerous times and is SUPER aggressive). It has, sadly, made me think twice about ever adopting a shelter dog again. But once he leaves our family, we are definitely going to get another dog.


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