We own four dogs, so this question can best be answered as a collective because they all enrich our family so much. Each dog came into our lives from different circumstances, sadly some from more dire situations than others. They are all different in breed, size, shape, color, sex, and temperament. But each dog possesses their own unique set of qualities that truly make our lives better.

As someone who works from home, I mostly enjoy their constant company. The comforting clicking of nails on the floor, the lapping from the water dish, the quiet snores of sleeping dogs huddled together under the desk around my feet. Sure, they take up space on the couch. A lot of space! There is hair on everything, including our food. Some are young and rambunctious while others now have to be carried up and down the stairs. They eat a lot. They poop a lot. They sleep a lot. But when you aren’t feeling your best or just need a quick pick me up, a head in the lap or a lick on the face is just the right remedy.

~ Tracy

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Heidi is a 15 -year old miniature short-haired dachshund that I purchased from a drag queen in the parking lot of a Publix. While we weren’t necessarily in the market for another dog, it was hard to resist her. He/She had two puppies, one tucked under each arm and the moment that I leaned in to look at them; Heidi licked my face. And that was that. We left with the groceries and a new pup. She is now the grand dame of the bunch, who exercises her authority over the younger (and much larger dogs). She can still strip the fuzz off of a tennis ball in less than 10 minutes. She burrows under every sheet and blanket in the house but prefers them clean and warm from the dryer. She has slowed down in the past few years but still manages to surprise us with her energy.


Olive is a ten year- old miniature long-haired dachshund that we adopted as a companion for Heidi. She is very quiet and shy (until the doorbell rings) and prefers a lap over a game of catch any day.


Jet is a year-old Lab/Pitbull mix that came to us as a foster. Pulled from a high kill shelter at eight weeks old, he was sick, malnourished, and had mange. With round-the-clock TLC, he began to fill out and get healthy. With the help of his surrogate mother dog, Heidi, he quickly found his place within the hierarchy of the pack and we simply had to keep him as part of the family. Much to my husband’s consternation, the “Guy Dog” that he so longingly hoped for turned out to be defective in the Labrador genes. He hates water of any kind. He dislikes getting his shiny, black coat dirty. He has also picked up naughty dachshund behaviors, such as burrowing and loud barking at the mail carrier.

Harper Lee

Harper Lee is our nine-month-old Pitbull and the most tragic case of the bunch. Tied to a fire hydrant and left to die in the sun without food or water, she was rescued by a good Samaritan and taken to the vet for emergency care. After four days of treatment, her rescuers posted her sweet face on Facebook, and the story made the rounds, ultimately winding up in my feed. She looked so much like Jet and seemed so impossibly sad, so we drove to Athens and brought her home. At six months old, she only weighed 12 lbs, so I made it my mission to get her on the road to health. To date, she is now 35 pounds and enjoying the life of a happy, healthy, carefree (and much loved) puppy, who enjoys chasing balls and eating pinecones.

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