Every morning we wake up with our seven-year old Shepherd/Beagle mix curled up at the foot of the bed, keeping our feet warm. We adopted her when she was about six months old from a local humane society. Her name is Hollie and she's a small to mid-sized dog, weighing a little under 25 pounds.
Hollie has lots of friends. She wants to be everyone's friend. She is particularly devoted to little people. She loves children and other dogs. She does not love rabbits or squirrels.
She likes to go out in the middle of the night to flush the yard clear of wildlife. That is her job. It's one of the things she does to protect her people. With her Beagle nose, she finds every hiding rabbit or running squirrel and chases them out of the yard.
She barks to let her people know if there are any intruders. If I go outside with her, then she won't bark. So sometimes, in the middle of the night, I'll wrap myself in a blanket and lay back on one of our patio chairs while she makes her midnight rounds. When I'm outside with her, she doesn't bark.
When one of us leaves the house, she takes her place on the top of the sofa, looking out the front window. She stays there until we return. This is one of her people, and she loves them. When we come home, we see her little face and perked up ears looking out the window at us. Then she jumps down and greets us at the front door with her tail wagging happily. She does a little dance, jumping up and down in little jumps. She wants to be with her people.
And if her people bring new people in the house, then she wants to make them her people too, and she will love them even more, especially if they are little people - the tinier the better. She loves little babies. It is her goal in this world to serve and please her people. She lives to love and serve her people and to have companionship with other dogs.
If there is a dog barking somewhere in the distance, her ears perk up, and she trains on the sound. Then she barks in reply, in support of another dog serving its people.
Hollie has many voices. She sings and moans and makes pleasing clicking sounds from deep in her throat. Her name could be "Mona" for all the different sounds she makes. She makes her clicking sounds when she is the most content with her people. The clicking sounds like the kind of sound some higher intelligence, alien life form might make. Or like dolphins talking. She also makes a funny sound when she yawns.
When she's sleepy, she yawns and when she yawns, her Shepherd jaws spread open wide, revealing rows of big, sharp, white teeth, and you can see the pink and brown speckled roof of her mouth. Then, if she yawns a big yawn, sometimes she shakes her head a little and lets out a super high-pitched, 2 or 3 second long squeak.
When she yawns and lets out the little squeaks, it always makes her people laugh, even though they've seen it hundreds of times before. When she's done, her eyes sparkle and her head stops shaking. Then she looks at her people with her big brown Beagle eyes and they pet her or pat her on the head and give her big hugs. Sometimes then she will start making the clicking sounds, or moan if her people stop petting her.
But she doesn't like it when they touch her feet. And she cries when they clip her nails, but she always forgives them when it's done. And she doesn't like it when she sees a lone man walking down the sidewalk. Unless the man is a friend of her people, then she will wag her tail and love the man too much.
She's been in our home for almost seven years now, and she keeps loving her people more each day, and she keeps getting more people. There is no limit to the number of people she can love and the amount of service she can give from her big heart.
There are lots of dogs with no homes or people of their own to love and serve. If you have a place in your home for one of them, and the time to share your life with it, please consider adopting a dog to let it love and serve you and your people for the rest of its life.