02 April 2012

It's April Fools' Day! And Today is My Birthday and Zeke's! { Honest! }

Yes, today is my birthday. 
Yes, it is April Fool's day. 

Growing up with a birthday on April Fool's day was always interesting. Because no one ever believed me! If birthday greetings were thrown my way, 
usually an April Fool's prank was in it somehow. 
As I grew up I didn't always volunteer my special day. 
It was just easier. 

But nine years ago that all changed. 
I now share my birthday with our Mastiff, Zeke! 
Yep, my dog and I were both born on April Fool's Day!

Nine years ago J began subtle hints about becoming a dog-owner. 
I love dogs. 
I love any and all animals. 
But a dog, just like a horse, is a huge responsibility.

 I have had cats my whole life. 
 A cat is self-reliant. They can free feed. 
They don't need to be walked because 
they are so smart they know how to use their own potty! 
A person can actually go away for a weekend, ask a friend to stop by to care of necessities, and cat's really just don't care. 
But a dog needs care 24/7.

J kept telling me all the good things about having a dog in our lives. 
We could take him to the beach! (We lived in Florida at the time)
J had visions of surfing with a pup! 
J could take him fishing in our little boat!
We could swim with him in our pond and teach him
how to float around in one of our huge inner-tubes!
We would have a built-in security system. 

So I relented. 
But, I swore this dog would belong to J. 
He would care for him, 
he would be the one responsible to house-break him. 

And I had 3 rules. 
He wouldn't be allowed on the furniture. 
He would have his own puppy bed-no sleeping in bed with us! 
He would never, ever be fed "people" food!

Nine years ago today, on my birthday, 
J came home to tell me our neighbors dog had her pups early that morning.
 Ha ha, April Fool's! 
Early that morning, the litter of pups J had been waiting on were born. 
A litter of "April Fool's" pups!

Every day after that, when J got home from work he would pop over the neighbors to see the pups. 
To figure out which pup he was bonding with.
He finally picked one out, and named him Zeke. 
And waited. 
Waited for the day Zeke would come home.... 
We bought puppy toys, a puppy bed, food and water dishes. 

And J counted down the days until the pups would be weaned, so Zeke could come home.

On Memorial Day weekend, Zeke came to live with us. 
He looked like a fat, pudgy, Koala Bear! 
He smelled of that wonderful puppy smell. 
He loved to give big, sloppy wet puppy kisses. 
He waddled around our house checking out everything. 
All HUGE feet and pudgy belly!
Our tiled kitchen floor was an ice-skating rink to him. 
Every time he stepped onto it, Zeke would end-up splayed, four legs sprawled out, whimpering to us! 
And he learned that Cat's Rule the World!

That evening, while watching TV, 
Zeke lay at our feet, crying to be picked up. 
Rule number 1, broken! 
We nestled him between us, in his baby blanket, 
and all three of us were happy. 

Bed-time came and J brought Zeke's puppy bed into our room 
and plopped him in it. 
Lights out. 
A crying pup who has just been weaned 
and is missing his mom and siblings will rip your heart out. 
We brought him into bed with us, 
he snuggled in between our bodies and fell asleep! 
Rule number 2, broken!

I was amazed on a daily basis how smart this little guy was. 
He was house-broken in three days.
 He never, ever chewed up anything in our home like pups usually do. 
No ripping apart the couch, chewing the door mouldings, 
or eating a pair of shoes.

 The only tantrum was chewing up a book I had checked out from the library. The book was, "Obedience Training for Puppies!" 
I guess he felt he had proved himself in our home and was insulted we had the nerve to bring this book home!

Zeke was growing fast. 
Very fast. 
J had told me he wouldn't be a huge dog, 
 maybe around 60lbs.
If I think back on that now, I do remember that
J never made eye contact with me when we discussed
the size of our future pupster!

I took Zeke for his wellness check-up and second round of pup shots. 
When the vet weighed him and the scale read 40lbs, I said to the vet, 
"My gosh Zeke is really growing fast. He is almost at his full weight". 
The vet chuckled.
 "His head is going to weigh 40lbs! He is a Mastiff."

 I don't really know dog breeds. I know horses and cats. 
The vet told me his adult weight would be around 150lbs! 

J had kept this little tidbit to himself!
Today, our best buddy weighs in at 148 lbs. 
He is a total Marmaduke! 
He has the most gentle, sweet, and loving disposition. 
He is comical. He is all personality. 
He is so very intelligent, he often blows me away!
He loves kids, the horses, other dogs, and adores his feline house-mates
 and two canine "sisters" Sadie-Louise and Baby Girl. 
We even had three Ferrets at one time, 
and he would let them climb all over him and groom his ears! 

But dreams of swimming, fishing, and going to the beach never happened. Turns out Zeke has an incredible fear of water! 
Turn on the shower and yell "bath-time" in our house and Zeke will stuff himself into our tiny laundry room to hide. 
When we lived Florida, as a pup, 
Zeke would ride in the truck with me everywhere.
Coming down our long driveway, as soon as we got near our pond,
he would crawl onto the floorboard so he couldn't see the water!

He has a silly fear of large, tall, UPS men and pizza boxes.
 But he is awesome security for our home. 
Most people take a step back because 
of his massive size, huge head, and the fact that J
can put both of his fists into Zeke's mouth..
and there is still wiggle room!

We do figure if a 6'5 thief ever poses as a UPS worker 
and is carrying a pizza box, our home has no chance!
 Zeke would most likely stuff himself in the laundry room! 
All kidding aside, from someone who lives in a very remote area,
I have to say that Zeke is an incredible security system.
A barking dog will usually make a thief think twice.
Sadie and Baby Girl are 
wonderful  alarms in the bark department!
Nothing gets by those 4 ears.

But, Zeke?
He is the silent one.
Assessing the situation, taking it all in, and
then letting his "Bad A@#" self be seen and heard!
And each day until J returns home,
Zeke is by my side, my protector.

Nine years old.
I cannot believe how fast the time has went!
I still think of Zeke as a pupster!
He loves to play and wrestle with J.
Chase the soccer ball or catch it in his mouth, 
as he jumps a few feet in the air.
But, these days, with Hip Dysplasia,
J tends to try and keep Zeke a little calmer.
And his sweet soft face is now feathered with mucho gray hair!

 April Fool's is odd day for a birthday. 
But, now that I share my birthday with my best buddy, 
it makes my birthday even more special. 

Happy Birthday to Me!
 Happy Birthday to Zeke! 
The dog who stole my heart. 


Oh, and Rule #3..
Never broke that one!


Donna said...

Happy Birthday to you and Zeke! I loved reading how Zeke came to live with you and J. I love how he loves the kitties and lets them lay with and on him :) I would loved to have seen him as a baby!
Hope you had a great day!

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Misha, What a great post... I can feel your love for Zeke (and all of your babies) all the way up here on the plateau!!!!!

Happy Birthday to you and to Zeke. Hope you are feeling better and can enjoy your birthday...

Glad you didn't break Rule 3.


Denise at Autumn Sky said...

Welcome back! I wish a very Happy Birthday to you and your sweet boy:-)

camp and cottage living said...

Happy Birthday to you both!
I'm sure Zeke is one of the very best presents you've ever gotten!!

TexWisGirl said...

he's adorable! a perfect birthday gift for you, too! :)

Lynne said...

Love the story of how Zeke came into your life to be a Birthday Day Twin.

Happy Day o each of you!

Carol............. said...

Happy birthday!

Your big boy is my dream dog...what a beautiful boy!

Sweet Bee Cottage said...

Happy Birthday to you both! Hope your day was wonderful. Dog treats for Zeke and people treats for you!

Town and Country Gals said...

Happy, Happy Birthday to you and sweet Zeke! How lucky you are that such a sweet boy came into your life! What a lovely story! Hope you enjoyed your birthday time together!

Gaelyn said...

Happy, happy, Birthday, birthday to you and Zeke! You are the first I've met to have birthdays on April Fools Day. Can imagine that being tough.

Are you sure Zeke's not part horse.

pilgrimscottage said...

Happy Birthday to both of you!! Aren't you glad J brought him home?! May you have many more happy birthdays together!! This was an awful cute post. I enjoyed it!

Jeanette said...

Happy birthday to you...and Zeke too! What a sweetie he is! I can see why you love him so! Hope you had a wonderful day!

Anke said...

Happy Birthday to you and Zeke! I hope it was a wonderful day for both of you!

Beth said...

hi there. i've never met any one that has or had a birthday on April Fools day. that is so awesome. so Happy Birthday to YOU & Zeke!!! that is so cool. i hope you had a wonderful day!! big, big, big, hugs!! (:

Diane Cayton-Hakey said...

When it comes to puppies, I throw all the rules out the window and just love them. Oh, and I ADORE that puppy smell... yum...


Laura said...

What a sweet post. I hope that you and Zeke (and the rest of the family!) got to celebrate both your birthdays in the happiest way!

Deb said...

Happy (belated) Birthday to you and to your gentle giant Zeke. Sorry, I didn't see this yesterday. I hope you both had cake and ice cream!

Freda said...

Happy belated Birthday to Zeke and you Mischa. Glad you felt well enough to post. Have a wonderful day.

RoeH said...

Okay. Ahem. Ahem. Ahem.

Throat cleared.

"Happy happy birthday, MishaandZeke dear,

Happy day will come to you all year.

If I had one with then it would b
A happy happy birthday to yous from me"

Now all you have to do is know the tune to that and you'll have my birthday greetings.

Or just make one up.


Thistle Cove Farm said...

Oh Misha, stop with the never, evers...you know you're just sitting yourself up to be w.r.o.n.g.
Happy Birthday, hope it's a good one and you're feeling much better! Happy Birthday to Zeke as well; he's a fine looker.

Kayla @ TheEclecticElement said...

What a sweet, sweet birthday story! Happy birthday to both you beautiful people {one human and one canine} :)

And that's no April Foolin'! Hehe ^.^

Julie Harward said...

Sending hugs and birthday songs for you and Zeke! What a sweet story about your baby...and what a big baby he is too! I hope your special day was really wonderful too. (I have gone private, hope you are coming along) :D

Country Dreaming said...

As usual--cute story!

Happy Birthday to YOU!
Happy Birthday to Zeke!

It is good to see you again!


Mary said...

I bet it would be pretty funny to see Fred next to Zeke! He's a big boy! I don't feed Fred people food either, it makes things so much easier. He shows faint interest when I sit down to eat but that's about it. It's nice. He does keep the floors clean however, I'm OK with that :-)
Happy Birthday to you both!

the cuby poet said...

Happy Birthday to both you and Zeke. Oh and by the way rules are made to be broken! Lovely photos of your best friend.

Nezzy said...

Gee, where have I been? I'm just a little more than late to this party. Please forgive me and let me wish ya a very happy belated birthday anyway. I hope it was a blast!!!

I'm lovin' all your beautiful fur baby photos!

God bless ya and have yourself a marvelous Easter Week sweetie!!! :o)

Donna said...

Happy birthday greetings (albeit a little late) to both of you! And thanks for telling Zeke's story! I love big dogs. They are so much more fun than little ankle biters, LOL.

And did you ever see the horse picture I posted last week? You might like it!

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