One thing we get asked often is 'what is life like with so many dogs?'. Well the truth is, like everything in life there are good days and bad, sometimes it's a blast and I wouldn't have it any other way and some days it's chaotic and stressful and I need a bit of a break with it all. Having a big group (I say lightly as I know people with many more than us!) is not always a walk in the park but it's also so much fun and is so rewarding too!
Here's a snippet into life with us and our crazy pack!
Nathan and I never actually planned on having a lot of dogs personally. When we first got together, between us we had two dog's of our own and regularly also had my families dog with us as a minimum. Nathan was also doing at home training and so he regularly had one or two dogs in for training who became part of our family for however long they were here for. Both of us became pretty comfortable with a group of dogs in the house and out on walks but neither of us planned to have a whole bunch of dogs fulltime.
All of our dogs (apart from Odin!) have come to us because their owners, clients of ours, sadly couldn't keep them anymore for whatever reason. We had only actually planned to keep three originally: India, Lottie and one other (we had planned an older boy Staffie!). The other's came to us for rehabilitation and we had planned to rehome them to the right homes when they became available as they all had a history of behavioural problems that we didn't want to get worse if they were placed with the wrong home.
First we had Kalle who we found out had cancer and at the time were told he likely only had 6 months to live and so we decided he would stay with us and be spoilt rotten for as long as we had him (that was nearly 3 years ago now!).
Then Kira, another one who had had a hard life as a street dog and behavioural problems that needed more time and structure to overcome. She will actually be being adopted by two of our closest friends soon as she needs a quieter life than ours can give
Then Peanut who we had always joked about keeping to her owners so when they sadly had to give her when their baby became allergic, it didn't take much convincing for us to have her join us permanently.
Then Nova who we swore we wouldn't take on, until her owners were talking about euthanising and we swore we wouldn't keep because we didn't think she was the right dog for us, until she decided immediately that we were her favourite family. Nathan always wanted a shepherd (and I secretly did too!) and she pulled our heart strings easily until we admitted we weren't letting her go!
Then finally, Odin, who we actually applied to adopt from a rescue centre after deciding we'd really like a little Dachshund to join our family of bigger pooches! He actually came to us for fostering and training with a whole bunch or behavioural problems and we totally fell in love with him just as much as he totally fell in love with us and our group of girls!
Life with this many dogs has it's challenges. Finding placed to go on holiday with this many dogs is few and far between and finding care for those you don't take or all of them if we want to go abroad is difficult and can be expensive too. However, there really is something special about having a group of dogs, all complete misfits with crazy back stories and awful pasts, as a loving, happy and fulfilling family that I just can't compare to anything else!
Don't get me wrong, this many dogs is not for everyone and every day isn't perfect - at the end of the day they are still dogs! To us though, there really isn't anything better than going on adventures with our pack, all climbing onto a sofa or the bed for cuddles or seeing them all running around a field playing together as if they have been together for their whole life. Even though some days we know it would be easier to have less, we wouldn't change any of them for the world and we love the fact that we were able to rescue each and everyone of them and give them a home where they are loved, cared for and cherished each and every day.