In order of appearance in our family:
Sally is the ever present wise and caring mother figure of the family. While she stays on the fringe of activity, she is always watching them and does not miss a step. Sally was my first dog. My life with dogs has progressed so far that it’s hard to believe that 8.5 years ago, I had never lived with one. Now, their care consumes my life in so many wonderful ways and she was the first to open my heart to such love. Sally’s personality is so sweet that she’s never met anyone that didn’t fall head over heels for her. Sally was adopted from our county Humane Society.
Sammy came along at a time in my life when I wasn’t looking for another dog, but he fit so snugly in my lap and my heart that I could not turn him away. Drawn to English setters because of familiarity with the breed through my father-in-law’s dog, I met him at the local Humane Society when I worked there. I took him on a day pass from the shelter and tried to convince my father-in-law to adopt him, but he wasn’t interested. At the end of the day, I just couldn’t take Sammy back to the shelter. We decided to see how the cats reacted to him and they accepted him as though he’d always been a part of their lives, too. With that, it was settled and my little heartdog crept into my life. Sammy’s neurotic although not high strung, and has always been more of a nervous dog but he’s blossomed with us and I can’t imagine life without him now.
George, ever the happy dog, is an English setter that we fostered through Another Chance for English Setters. He is the first and only foster dog that has ever made my husband consider keeping and they have a lovely bond. We officially adopted George as we started a new chapter in our lives and I founded Starfish to the sea Animal Rescue. George is a free spirit with a heart of gold, happiest with the wind in his ears and his feet pounding the ground or glued to your side or better, your lap. He is a friend to all, a cushion for loving cat “siblings” and the cure for your sweet tooth as he was surely made from sugar!
Toby is a superstar. He’s become the lifeblood of this family somehow. Together, he and Sammy share my heart. My best friend sent me a newspaper ad for a free Irish setter, and I intercepted with the goal of getting him to the local Irish setter club’s rescue. By the time I had him in the car, I knew he was mine. He was always mine. He’s got the breed standard’s “rollicking personality” and can’t really take anything seriously. He’s my favorite hiking companion, best friend when I’m feeling sad and he’s the most well trained of all my dogs, having dabbled in agility, Rally, basic obedience and trick training with him. He’s the closest thing to a puppy I’ve had, as we got him at 7 months instead of adult.
Dover is a deaf English setter that we fostered for Above and Beyond English Setter Rescue. He arrived with a serious compulsive disorder that came about from life in a kennel with nothing to do but see the world around him and find unhealthy ways to use up his sporting energy. With time, management and medication he has done very well and is most likely happier than he’s been in his whole life. He’s gone from a dog that was so far gone he barely noticed the people and animals around him and went into a frenzy at the slightest touch… to a playful and affectionate dog that leads a mostly normal life. We kept him to ensure his chances for success, but n the beginning it felt like a dutiful adoption, that we were doing it for him and not because he was truly part of our family. Now we know better- he belongs here with us, on our couch and in our hearts.