Joining the ranks of dog owners…

Marian Parsonsa slice of life228 Comments

Sometimes timing, place and circumstances all align and something happens that you don’t expect.

So, last week, I shared that I did a photo shoot of a porch and Kriste and I had a couple of dogs for company.  As I worked on the shoot, I thought the time is coming soon when our family will get a dog.  We’ve been thinking about it for over a year, but never pulled the trigger on actually getting one.

One reason was that it felt like Jeff and I wanted different things.  He wanted a specific breed, an Australian Shepherd, so he was looking at puppies on breeder websites.  I wanted to adopt a rescue dog, one that was a little older, maybe around two, who was already past the puppy stage, was house-trained, and well-behaved.

So, we both looked now and then, but never spotted one we were both excited about.

This weekend, Jeff went on a retreat to New Hampshire, so it was just me and the boys.  On Saturday morning we tagged along to a local “cat farm” my parents were visiting.

It’s not really a cat farm, but that’s what we call it.  It’s actually a couple who has a love for animals and they take in strays, rescue animals, and cats who aren’t good candidates for adoption.  They have over 70 cats and that may sound like mayhem, but they take amazing care of the animals on their 30+ acre farm.  They also have horses, a couple of dogs, chickens, etc.  It’s a little animal haven.

My parents were visiting, because she took in their cat that they weren’t able to keep.  He was wetting in the house frequently and then didn’t fair well as an outdoor cat roaming a suburban neighborhood.  He’s now at the farm and doing really well there.  So, my parents visit him every few months and also bring out cat food and litter to support the owners.

My boys like going to the farm to play with the cats and dogs.  This was my first time going, but they had been before.  When we arrived, a sweet dog was bounding around as I pulled the car into the driveway.  He didn’t jump up on us or bark, but wagged his tail, licked our fingers and sat still when we pet his head.

I gave the cats some attention and played more with the dog, Sebastian.  The boys were loving on him, too, throwing his squeaky bone and scratching his ears.  It’s a big thing for Calvin, who has always been pretty fearful of dogs.

I had the thought again that we should get a dog soon and, when we do, I hoped he would be just like this one.  Sebastian seemed perfect.  I mentioned that to my dad and he said he bet we could have Sebastian.  Oh, I wouldn’t want to take their dog!  I wouldn’t even ask that.  

After the visit, we got in the car and I mentioned to the owner that we have been considering getting a dog for a long time and if she came across a rescue dog that would be great for a family to let us know.

“Well, we have a black one right here who would love a family like yours!”

“Seriously?  You would part with him?”

She confirmed that they would and shared that she and her husband were just talking about how they love having him, but he really needed to be with a family with some kids, so he had more action and attention.  Even though they weren’t actively trying to re-home him, they were hoping one day the right family would come along for him.

And we seemed to be it.

I snapped a picture of him and said I would talk to my husband about it, we’d think about it and let her know.

We went out to lunch and I texted Jeff as soon as we sat down.  I started off the text with, “I’m serious about this…” and proceeded to tell him about Sebastian and how I think he is “our dog”.  I didn’t really know what to expect from Jeff, because, while we had talked about getting a dog, actually getting one didn’t seem like something that would happen any time soon.  And I’ve never sent him a “honey, can we bring an animal into our house” kind of text before.  Usually it’s an antique hutch, settee, or buffet.

His response was, “Get him.”

So, we did.


Meet Sebastian.

A few things about him…  He’s a 1 1/2 year old who was adopted as a stray from Arkansas by the couple we got him from.  As best as anyone can tell, he’s a border collie with possibly some shepherd and spaniel mixed in.  He is already house-trained, crate-trained, and very obedient.  So, the breed makes Jeff happy and the fact that he’s past the puppy stage makes me happy.

And the fact that he is a dog makes the boys happy!  Calvin, our youngest, has especially taken to him.  They had a snuggle-fest all over the floor the first day he was in our house and he’s been saying things like, “Our house is so much more fun now.”


Marshall is ready to teach him to do every trick in the book.

And I’m enjoying having a no-excuses reason to walk a lot and bringing a “studio dog” with me to work…


I will be getting him a proper dog bed, but I put together a makeshift one out of a remnant of upholstery foam and an old blanket.

Sebastian approved.

I always loved the idea of bringing our future dog to the studio with me, so he/she wouldn’t be lonely during the day, but I figured that wouldn’t be very realistic.  He’s such a good dog, though, that it’s working really well.  He doesn’t get into anything and just hangs out.  Of course, that might change once he gets more “comfortable”, but things are going well so far.

And I set up a little treat jar for him, and other dogs who might visit, in a jar one of my sweet readers, Barbara, gave me as a gift.


There’s a lot to get used to, like dog park etiquette, dirty floors, grooming, riding in cars, and walks in our jammies…


And I’m brand new to the world of poop baggies, dog beds, leashes, and other gear, so I’d love if you’d share your tips, suggestions, and favorite things with me.

Another chapter of life begins…

Joining the ranks of dog owners…

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228 Comments on “Joining the ranks of dog owners…”

  1. Yeah!!!! I am a dog crazy person!!!
    My motto: Life isn’t worth living without a dog!!!
    I LOVE them!!!!

  2. Marian, CONGRATULATIONS! Having a dog is like having another kid, without diapers! My kids grew up with our golden, Maggie, for 17 years. Now my daughter has her own best friend, Wendy and she adds so much love to life. The best toys always seem to be tennis balls.
    I love your blog, your ideas, and I love Decor Steals. Keep writing and sharing stories. I look forward to more dog and boys stories and photos.

  3. I have the same jar -it was my mother’s. We are on our 3rd Boykin spaniel as of 2 years ago. We have a rescue kitty and my pet children fill the empty nest after the youngest left home. Sebastian is a good looking dog and he will enrich your family life daily.

  4. “Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.”
    ― Dean Koontz, A Big Little Life: A Memoir of a Joyful Dog

    Congrats with the new family member!

  5. He’s beautiful. I believe animals know when they have been rescued and are so appreciative. Looks like your boys are already in love!

  6. Dogs change your life!

    For the Better!!!

    Congratulations, Sebastian is one lucky pup and this looks like this was meant to be.

    My advice, as the owner of a beautiful Australian Shepard and a Wheaton/Brussles Griffon Mix, is one thing………BONES! Real, raw ones. They are grody for sure but so good for the dogs, it keeps them happy, calm and healthy too.

    Oh yea, it’ll keep him from chewing on all that pretty furniture of yours.

    Have fun!

  7. Well done!
    My girls would love a dog,but we don’t have the room?
    Just have to be content with 2 kitties and 3 bunnies
    However I have bought things for friends and seriously anything from Harry Barker is gorgeous
    And fun!

  8. In our home, we feel that our house isn’t home without a little dog hair. Yes, they do bring more dirt into the house and thereby increase the number of times you have to vacuum and clean your floors, but the fun and love pets, but especially dogs, add to your family life is beyond measure. Plus, having pets is a great way to teach kids responsibility, empathy, compassion, etc. We have two dogs and two year old twins, and while things can get quite hectic, we love our dogs (as do our girls) and can’t imagine life without them. Congratulations to you and your family for this wonderful furry addition! I hope Sebastian brings your family just as much joy and love as our dogs do to our family.

  9. All children should grow up with a dog. They love you unconditionally and are always there to make a bad day better. I am 53 years old and have always had one or two dogs throughout my life. Just give him a few bones to chew on and definitely some real tennis balls. Congratulations to Sebastian for rescuing you when you did not know you were in need of rescuing.

  10. I have had many pets throughout my life. Our family had so many pets when I was a kid and hilarious and even sad stories about them that we still tell. But our main pet was our dog, Todo. She outlasted the hamsters, gerbils, guppies, chickens, guinea pigs, rabbits, mice, cats and litters and our little beagle Snoopy and a basset hound who were both hit by cars sadly. She gave us a litter of puppies that we shared with friends and neighbors. She lived a good, long life. As an adult when I married, my husband already had a beautiful blue-eyed Siberian Husky. When our son was two, I got what I had always wanted, a Miniature Schnauzer and my son named him Jock (at that time, Disney’s Lady and the Tramp was popular and he loved the Scotty in that movie). Later, after my daughter had arrived, and the kids were in elementary school, I surprised them with a Christmas kitten and they named her Holly. Then, oops, Holly had a litter before I took care of matters, but we ended up keeping three of her babies, and gave the other two to friends. These pets of ours were beloved. It taught both of them to love animals and my daughter has art drawings of our living room with lots of kitties in beds all over the place (more than we really had) that I still have to this day. She would also write stories about them. We laugh when I take those sweet crayon and colored pencil and magic marker pictures out. I need to make an album. Then several years later, one stormy night, my daughter heard a kitty crying and to our shock a kitten no bigger than a Beanie Baby was lost and abandoned. She couldn’t have been but a few weeks old. We nursed her and just couldn’t take her to a shelter so we added to our family. Her name is Kiwi and to this day, now that she is 14 years old, when my now grown kids come to visit me (31 and 27 years old) the first thing they do is hunt down Kiwi wherever she is napping to pet and love on her. That…is the love children have for their pets. Everlasting…Congratulations on your new family member.

  11. Congrats on your rescue dog. He is beautiful! We have always had rescues and they seem to know they are so lucky to have humans who love them. 2 pieces of advice–try to provide as much routine as possible–routine helps dogs feel calm and secure. Secondly, dogs love training. Use plenty of treats to reward their progress. Your boys will love working on his training!

  12. My husband and I have been married for 53 years and have had a dog for 49 of them. They each enriched our lives and those of our children and grandchildren. I believe that dogs are God’s earthly evidence of unconditional love.

  13. Soooooo happy to hear about your new addition! He looks absolutely adorable and will bring you so much joy! There is nothing like the love of a dog! This post literally made me cry! Your boys look absolutely smitten!

  14. I just rescued a kitten that I saw someone throw out a window of a car – yes you read that correctly – another man and I tried to catch him in the middle of a busy road with no luck – to make a long story short he had crawled in my car and was behind the engine block for two days – we heard him meowing and got him out – we named him Scamp 🙂 three weeks old, we feed him with an eye dropper —it is amazing the joy he has brought to our lives; I seriously think he has lowered my blood pressure! I hope Sebastian brings you the same, I know he will – they say our pets pick us – Sebastian won the lottery 🙂

  15. Sebastian sure is a handsome breed! I’m a great fan of rescue dogs, having 3 of my own. He seems perfect and it will be wonderful for yoyr boys to grow up with him. I can see some beautiful photo shoots in yoyr future with Sebastian stealing the show!

  16. I see that you got so many responses to this post……no wonder, from all of us animal lovers
    I have always had a dog in my home growing up and now I have 3. All of mine are rescues.
    I am so happy you decided to rescue. And Sebastian is beautiful.
    My advise, be patient, kind, never hit him, he will be learning to get use to your family and much as you will be getting us to him entering into your family. He is now a part of your family, he will love you unconditionally. Don’t tie him outside, never abandon him. He doesn’t know he sheds, but will happily give you kisses, and be your best companion. He may not be able to speak, but he knows when you speak and will love your voice
    You now have a new family member, who will love you unconditionally and be your best friend forever
    Children should grow up with pets, its teaches them so much…..good luck with your new family member

  17. Don’t spend tons on dog toys- just tie the holey socks into knots. They make great tug/ toss toys.

  18. I think you’ve got yourself a Border Collie (mix) there!!! It’s the first thing I thought when I saw the pic!! I may be biased because I have one (she’s a love), but you’ll never find a better dog!!! What a sweet boy, enjoy!!!❤️❤️❤️

  19. What a pearl! He is beautiful – resembles the stray (Luka) that adopted us – both in demeanor and appearance. Be consistent and kind. Dogs, especially with shepherd or (border) collie in them, love a job, are all trainable, and love to please you. Also, a tired dog is a good dog. Walks and runs and ball time make bigger dogs happy to just hang out with you all day. 🙂 He will be a blessing!

  20. Congratulations Dog Mommie!!! Your new four-legged baby is beautiful! I kept seeing Sebastian in pics and knew I had missed something. So happy for all of you.

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