My Furry Valentine

I love dogs, I love cats, don’t get me started, I love all animals.  No joke, I turn into a blubbering fool every time I see a furry angel no matter where I am. Add on my baby voice and disregard how silly I sound, I simply can’t help myself.  It’s a problem, I admit, but I don’t give a hoot! 

A couple of years back we had to say goodbye to our most noble and faithful companion of 14 years, Buck.  He was a gorgeous Golden Retriever that was so very kind and probably the smartest dog I have ever known.  Buck began every day going to the top of the driveway to retrieve our morning paper.  He was sweet when we adopted three little kittens that were left on the side of the road with a cat food feeder.  They would lay together in the sunshine, play and he taught them all the greater attributes of being a dog.  Therefore, we affectionately call our sweet kitties “cat-dogs” because they adopted more of Buck’s good traits and are pretty cool cats that come when you call them. They lack certain snobberies of the any average feline.

It took some time and a lot of healing in our hearts before we could ever think of bringing another dog into our lives.  That was until my husband Brad started stewing on it. Before long he began perusing our local Humane Society’s webpage unbeknownst to me.  My belief is it may have been a sort of therapy for him to just look at other dogs.  The game changer was the day he saw a picture of our Murphy. The Humane Society described him as “a chocolate lab with white spots.”  Our Murphy is a lot of things, a chocolate lab would not be one of them.  He was a long, lanky 10-month-old beautiful boy with piercing golden eyes who resembled more of a pit bull than a Labrador.   The story goes, he had been cared for by the Humane Society for the 7 months with no luck of finding him a family.  Murphy was an energy filled, large puppy just yearning for beach runs, snuggles, and the love of a good family.  He showed so much excitement every time someone visited him that he may have been dubbed “rambunctious.”  My husband went to see him and immediately fell in love.  The connection between the two was an immediate “bro-mance”.  Brad came home to tell me all about Mr. Murph and how great he would be for our family.  I asked to see a photo and, I have to say, my first impression was that of some apprehension. Like I said before, there is not a furry angel out there I cannot love.

However, my mother has a home on our property. She has her own little Pom-Poo (Pomeranian Poodle) mix named Biscuit.  We were instructed by the shelter to bring Biscuit in to meet Murphy to make sure they would be a good match.  We did so and it turned out to be an epic fail.  Biscuit had no interest in meeting a new friend and was a little defensive, likely intimated by poor Murphy’s size.  The shelter told us it would not be fair to Biscuit to bring home a dog he didn’t like.  I could see the disappointment in Brad’s face and I knew I had to fix this situation.  The shelter told me I could come back again with Biscuit to give it another try.  The following day I took a half day off work, picked up Biscuit, and brought him to meet Murphy again.  Once back in the environment again, it appeared Biscuit was more comfortable the second time of the new smells of the shelter. Although the day before Murphy felt jilted, Biscuit obviously appreciated not being eaten and was a little more at ease. Not much, but it was better.  The trainer at the shelter was on the fence on whether to allow our adoption.  That was until she asked me, “Where will Murphy sleep?”, without hesitation I said, “in bed with us”.  That is was sealed our deal.  I happily called Brad and said you can come pick up your boy.  He was over the moon and the pair have been inseparable since.

Welcoming Murphy into our home was such a euphoric experience I wanted to repeat it again and again.  I took on the shelter website addiction and was on a burning quest to save all the little puppies.  I was constantly checking the website looking and dreaming. I could have taken in every one of them.

Then, one day, my bonus-daughter Becca was listening to a radio show with our local shelter as a special guest.  They featured their “pet of the week”, a white lab named….wait for it….Kocoum.  Becca went to the website to see what this fabulous dog named Kocoum looked like.  Having another family member suggest a dog was a sign, the time had come for us to bring home a brother for Murphy.  Brad and I went to the shelter to visit this new pup.  Brad suggested I go back to take a look at all the dogs. I couldn’t do it.  I knew if I went to the general dog population we would have to get a bigger car! I wouldn’t be able to leave the shelter without all of them. Instead a volunteer went to the back to get Kocoum. Once he walked through the door, it was love at first sight.  He couldn’t stop kissing my face and loved all the hugs I showered him with.  He passed the Murphy test as they were best buds right off the bat.  We got to take him home that day.

First-things-first, when we got home, that name needed to go.  It was certainly a strong name, but it didn’t fit this lovely pup.  Being a white lab mix, he has the most beautiful creamy white coat.  We tried numerous names and finally agreed on Bailey.  We already had Murphy and thought another good Irish name would go well, especially since he has that Bailey Irish Cream-colored coat.

Bailey had been a stray on the streets of Corcoran for four years.  He had his issues (and still does) but I was not going to quit on him.  I can imagine the other families throughout his life that did, leaving him to roam the streets all those years.  Bailey loves carbohydrates.  It probably comes from the many years of foraging through dumpsters behind restaurants.  We have to hide or store up high all bread, tortillas, muffins, rolls, etc., otherwise Bailey will have them gone in seconds.  He also has Houdini like skills on escaping his 2 ½ acre yard.  He’s a work-in-progress, but we just celebrated our one-year adoption anniversary this past December.

Tomorrow’s Valentine’s Day.  If you’re looking for the perfect Valentine all year, we have amazing local shelters that are brimming with wet noses and warm hearts waiting for your loving home. If you cannot adopt at this time, these shelters still need your help.  They have great events throughout the year that help support these beautiful animals.  They need volunteers to help as well.  All donations are tax deductible  which is a win-win for you and the sweet pets.  Adopting our two furry Valentine’s has been so very rewarding.  Adopt don’t shop.  Here are some of our local shelters with furry loves waiting for you.


San Luis Obispo Animal Services
885 Oklahoma Ave.
San Luis Obispo, Ca. 93401
(805) 781-4400


Wood’s Humane Society
875 Oklahoma Ave.
San Luis Obispo, Ca. 93405
(805) 543-9316

Woods Humane Society-North County
2300 Ramona Road
Atascadero, Ca. 93422
(805) 466-5403


Santa Maria Valley Humane Society
1687 West Stowell Road
Santa Maria, Ca. 93458
(805) 349-3435

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