I'm good(ish) at a lot of things.

Introducing the Hobbit Squad

I have many great loves in this world, but amongst the top, if not at the very top, is the love that I have for dogs. In particular, my dogs.

As a child, my parents were in the military so we didn’t stay in one place long enough to have a dog or a cat, but I not-so-secretly longed for a dog of my own my entire childhood. From 101 Dalmatians to Homeward Bound to Oliver and Company, every good movie had a dog in it, and I wanted in on that. Want to hear my own sweet, but also creepy and pathetic, story about me wanting a dog of my own? If you don’t, then skip the next paragraph, but if you feel like thinking “aw, bless her heart” (which is Southern for you poor, poor thing), then continue reading.

I lived in Germany for a few years as a child, and we lived off base so it would take about an hour for the bus to get us from the house to school and vice versa. Some days I would take a backpack full of Beanie Babies to play with, and other days, I would have a litter of puppies or kittens with me. “Real, live puppies and kittens!?” you’re probably asking with your eyes wide and eyebrows raised all the way to the top of your forehead. Of course not. This is where the “bless your heart, child” moment comes in. They were all imaginary. Fake. Pretend. I had plenty of real human friends so I never had a need for an imaginary friend growing up, but I was so desperate for a dog of my own, that I would conjure one up in my head instead. I don’t ever remember any of my other bus mates wanting to “adopt” one of the litter mates so I’m pretty sure that I use to play imaginary puppies and kittens by myself. In case you were wondering, the puppies were always Golden Retrievers, and I think I always named them “Sunny”. Even to this day, I still want a Golden Retriever eventually, but then again, who doesn’t?

Did you end up thinking “bless your heart, child” while reading that?

Fast forward a couple years, and we were back in the States. My family and I were walking around PetSmart one weekend when they were having one of their adoption events. There was this adorable, little black lab in a wire crate just begging for us to take her out. My younger siblings and I begged our parents to let us adopt her, and surprisingly, they said yes! I was in 5th grade, and I finally had my very pup! We named her Destiny to go with the rest of the D’s in our family (my brother and sisters’ names both start with D as well), because it was “destiny” had brought us all together! A little over a year later, our family decided that Destiny needed a friend so we went to the county shelter and took home the cutest little furball, that also ended up being the grumpiest of furballs, named Delilah.

The lady pulled up and had two small puppies in a tub with her – one was curled up in ball sleeping and the other was awake and crying. I thought “Wow, this one is so calm and chill, I’ll pick her” and I told her I would take the sleeping one. Boy, could I have never been more wrong about what her personality would end up like, and let me give you a hint, it’s not calm and chill. I handed over the money, and the pup was mine.

It wasn’t until my senior year of college, however, that I finally got a dog of my very own. Let’s back track a little bit so that y’all understand how I ended up getting my own dog. I love rottweilers. I have loved the breed and wanted one since I was in high-school. Ever since I fallen in love with the breed, I have been a sucker for all black dogs with tan eyebrows, not just the rotties. It was a not-so-cold night in December, and I had been scouring Craigslist looking for rottweiler puppies (I know, bad me). I had finally found a litter of rottie pups that had supposedly been dumped on the side of the road right outside of Houston, and the finder was trying to rehome them for a small fee. WHat was $50 when I was about to get my dream puppy!? One of my old Quidditch buddies happened to live in this town so several days before Christmas, one of my girl friends and I met with him and the Craiglist lady at a Taco Bell so that I could get my rottweiler puppy.

First night with Pippin, December 2014
Baby Pippin about 4-5 weeks of age, December 2014

I am a HUGE Lord of the Rings fan. My favorite character is Samwise Gamgee, who is is easily the best character in the trilogy. He’s loyal, steadfast and the best-friend a hobbit could ask for. I has planned to name my rottweiler pup, Samwise, but this pup just didn’t feel like a Sam. I took a poll amongst friends and family and had them vote on whether my new pup would be a Merry, a Pippin or a Frodo. If you don’t know who any of these characters are, please do yourself a favor and watch the trilogy. You can thank me later. I despise Frodo, as any normal person should, so I secretly hoped nobody would vote on that name. Sadly, one person actually did. Pippin ending up winning by a landslide, and that was how I jinxed this pup by giving her a Fool of a Took’s name. Once again, if you do not ge tthat reference, you really should watch the LoTR trilogy. Just saying.

Pippin was a terror of a puppy having learned no proper doggy social skills because she had been separated from her mom at at least 5 weeks of age, which is when I drove to get her. My hands were constantly covered in bites and scratches, she refused to be potty-trained and instead loved to paint with her poo in her kennel the second I left for work or class. But boy, did I love this little heathen.

Several months later, I decided that I needed my second dream dog, a German Shepherd, and that’s how Merry came into our lives. A fellow foster had been fostering this absolutely feral puppy for a few weeks. The local Animal Control had brought her in as a stray and it took her foster several days and many bites just to come out from under the bed so she could put a collar on her. She was the same age as Pip so I asked to take over fostering her under the pretense that Pip needed a playmate knowing the entire time that I was going to foster fail her.

Baby Merry before she became our foster, spring 2015

Merry was a gorgeous pup. Unfortunately, she did not appreciate others admiring her beauty. I had already missed her social criticalization period since she was already about 4-5 months old when she came to us so some behaviors were ingrained in her already – the number one being absolute fear of strangers, which was geared mostly towards men and children. I tried to re-socialize her, which I thought would be easy since I lived near a college campus and everybody loved to play with two adorable puppies, but that deep-rooted fear never left. Merry is still terrified of men and children to this day. Luckily, she’s gotten better with trusting a few men over the years – my dad, my brother and Boyfriend-Fiance – but going out in public is always a terrifying ordeal for her. She has been known to drop a deuce in Petsmart or express her anal glands when someone comes towards her too quickly.

Merry and Pippin ended up being two peas in a pod. They were yin to each other’s yang. Pippin was outgoing, crazy and loved all people, whereas Merry was timid, sweet and a bit of a couch-potato. Merry adores Pippin, and Pippin adores taking all the attention from people that Merry doesn’t want.

Merry and Pippin, summer 2015
Merry and Pippin, summer 2015

Naturally, two pups weren’t enough for this crazy animal lover so I decided to adopt a Siamese mix kitten that had also been in foster care several months later. I couldn’t think of a good Lord of the Rings name for her. Initially, I was considering Precious, as in Smeagol/Gollum saying “my precious”, but I felt that was too cliche for a fluffy white cat. Her foster mom had named her Mistic, which sounded an awful lot like Mystique, and I love X-Men, so Mystique it was!

Baby Mystique, late summer 2015
Mystique, February 2021

My little brood was complete for the time being. They were my little Hobbit Squad. It had been just us gals untiI we moved back home with my family and their two dogs, Boo and Chloe. And then right before COVID-19 hit us last March, we finally moved in with Boyfriend-Fiance and his chow blend, Lulu. As if three large dogs and a cat weren’t enough, I decided that I needed to start fostering puppies to fill out our already full apartment.

I’ve always been more of a big dog person, but recently, I had decided that my next dog was going to be a small breed dog, and since we live in San Antonio, it would probably end up being some kind of Chihuahua mix because every small dog in this city is mixed with a little Chihuahua. I had always conceded that it I would never be able to get a small breed puppy as they got adopted so quickly, but low and behold, one was finally available for me to foster so I snatched her up as quickly as I could.

This little bug-eyed two pound creature was so smart. And so sweet. And so dang cute! My parents were actually going to adopt her, but I couldn’t let her go and asked for joint-custody. Fortunately, they didn’t want to have to take this to court (totally kidding), and they gave me their graces to adopt her. And that’s how we adopted our little Sassafras, or Sassy, for short. Because she totally is. A total Sassy pants.

Baby Sassafras, November 2020
Sassafras, March 2021

My apartment is constantly full of barking, all of my clothes are covered from head to toe in fur, there are dog toys covering every inch of every visible surface, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. My heart is constantly full with my little Hobbit Squad, and I look forward to all of the adventures we’ll go on together over the years!

Going On An Adventure GIFs | Tenor

If you’re interested in seeing more of the Hobbit Squad, check them out on Instagram and TikTok!

Are you a fur mom and or fur dad? If so, drop their names below!!

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