Labradoodle Rescue & Goldendoodle Rescue
I originally posted this blog on DoodleKisses and a couple of people asked me to cross post the blog here!
When we got Fudge, I don’t remember what research I did on the computer regarding Doodles, but I remember the no shedding was the icing on the cake. I had spent years vacuuming up after two Labs and for a short haired dog, those dogs shed like nobody’s business. A Labradoodle seemed like the best of both worlds for our family. The wonderful personality of a Lab combined with no shedding just seemed perfect to me. Luckily for us, without knowing what we were doing, we decided on Fudge, a F1B Labradoodle and she absolutely does not shed a hair. What she does do is mat and mat and mat. Imagine my surprise when I got on DoodleKisses AFTER we got Fudge and found out that many Doodles do indeed shed, and many shed buckets of hair, and others need lots and lots of grooming. Next, we got our Vern, a F3 Labradoodle and while he sheds just a little, he does not mat like Fudge, although he should have come in a different color because he does like to roll in everything. Sometimes, it is true that God looks out for fools, because we sure got lucky with our Doodles and the no shedding.
I also kept hearing that Doodles have the absolute best personality of any dog. They love all other dogs, people, children, infants, and small creatures. Well, guess what? I socialized Fudge with other dogs at a very early age. She has been to Puppy classes, doggie daycare, the pet sitter, and on play dates, but there are lots of dogs she does not like. We no longer go to the dog park for this reason, yet I feel I did everything right, so why doesn’t Fudge love all other dogs? Why isn’t she perfect? Everyone said Doodles get along with all dogs. What I have come to terms with regarding Fudge is that she gets along with the dogs I care about, Vern, my daughter’s dogs, and my pet sitter’s dogs, and while we will probably never go to a Doodle Romp or back to the Dog Park, it does not diminish the love I feel for her. She is also the most wonderful dog around the elderly, family and friends, nieces and nephews, and I am her favorite person in the whole wide world and she lets me know that every single day.
Next, we have our Vern, the sweetest dog on the planet, but not the bravest. He spends half his life looking over his shoulder for the bogeyman and is much more cautious than Fudge is with people. Once he loves you, he does not forget, but he wants to be sure you are worthy first. Maybe I didn’t take him as many places as we did Fudge, because taking two dogs is a lot harder than taking one dog, but still we got out every single day and he has been to all the same places as Fudge, doggie daycare, dog sitter, puppy classes, and obedience classes. When we brought him home and he met Fudge for the first time, he peed all over himself and made fearful sounds like you cannot believe. It didn’t take long for him to fall in love with Fudge, but Vern is never going to be as brave as Fudge or let a stranger into our house without a word of warning first. Why isn’t Vern perfect? Everyone told me Doodles love everyone. What I have come to terms with regarding Vern is that what he lacks in the bravery department, he makes up for in his ability to make me smile every day with his goofy ways and his infectious spirit. Even when he peed in the Vet’s office after seeing himself in the mirror, I still was proud he was my dog and it did not diminish the love I feel for him. I also feel safe when Vern is around because for a big old Chicken Doodle he has the absolute fiercest bark around and I really believe he would find a way to be brave if anyone threatened his much loved humans or Fudge.
I am a firm believer in that dogs and kids come with their own personality. You can teach children right from wrong, but there is always going to be some kid that tests his parents daily and some kid that doesn’t. My mom always talks about how much energy I had as a kid and how hard I was for her at times. She claims my middle sister was far easier and the oldest preferred to stay in her room and read. She also likes to tell everyone that her aunt made some sort of a lid for the top of my crib and a harness for me that kept me from climbing out of the crib. The funny thing is she thinks crating a dog is mean, but apparently crating her own young child did not seem to bother her in the least. The point I am trying to make is not that my mother should probably never speak of her parenting methods in public, but rather that every kid is different and you get what you get, in my opinion. I feel the same way about dogs. There is no breed of dog that arrives perfect or is perfect. There is no human being on the planet that does not have quirks, flaws, and qualities that makes that person unique. Aren’t we told as parents not to compare our children, yet we do it all the time with our dogs?
What does all this mean? It means that one of the big problems with all the hype about Doodles is it is not fair to Doodles. People see an ad with a cute Doodle or hear a heartwarming story about a Doodle and right away think a Doodle is the dog for them. After all, they must all be exactly like the dog in the story, right? What they don’t take into consideration is the owner probably spent hours and hours training that dog and another few grooming the dog, because they sure don’t come that way. I am not saying we don’t have some great dogs, because we definitely do, but when we use words like perfect, never, and always, we are making broad assumptions and setting expectations at an unattainable level even for our much loved Doodles. Doodles have medical problems, some can shed, none are immune to illness, they all go through the puppy biting stage, some are easily trained, some not so much, some have separation anxiety, others do not, some are fearful, some are not, some have food issues, and I think you get the picture.
All I know is I am tired of seeing those Doodles scroll down the front page; many of them purchased by people who wanted a perfect dog and when reality sets in, out goes the dog. A dog is a huge commitment and lots of research, questions, and soul searching should be done before bringing one home to be a member of the family. Every dog, Doodle or not, deserves a commitment by the person taking that dog into their home. If you are a parent and your child wants a dog, make sure you know you will be the primary caretaker, no matter what they say. I was dumb and fell for that line and while my daughter was talking on the phone and out with friends, I was running home at lunch letting out the dog, cleaning up throw up, walking the dog, going to the vet, and filling food and water dishes. My daughter says all the time, “mom, I was ten, let it go,” but I guess I can’t just yet. I think a dog is one of the best things you can do for your children and I think it teaches them love, selflessness, and kindness, BUT, and it is a big but, kids and dogs equal more work for the adult, and it is not fair to get rid of the dog because you didn’t think about that beforehand. I don’t know what to do to get people to stop buying dogs impulsively and to realize that a dog is a living creature with feelings and shouldn’t be tossed out like trash when the going gets tough. All I know is that it starts maybe with all of us and when someone asks us about our Doodles, we should make sure we say and I am going to misquote Forrest Gump, “Doodles are like a box of chocolate. You never know what you are gonna get.”