Hi, I’m Patty, writer and Mom of the 24 Paws of Love. My husband, Mark and I have a unique and challenging situation with two packs of Husky-mixed dogs that are all related and we share our adventures on our blog: 24 Paws of Love.
Momma Dog Silver and Daddy Dog Brut had a litter of ten puppies. We kept two from the litter (Zappa and Fiona) and thought we had found good homes for the rest of them. In less than a year two dogs were returned to us, Chance and Blaze, who were abused, neglected and in shock. We took them in and made them part of the family, only to find that our original four dogs (Brut, Silver, Zappa and Fiona) had already formed a pack and would not accept either one of them. In order to accommodate everyone we ended up dividing our home and yard in half creating two packs of dogs in one home. Our home is made up of a Front Pack and a Back Pack with respect to their side of the house and yard. Brut, Silver, Fiona and Zappa make up the Back Dogs while Chance and Blaze make the Front Dogs.
Back Dogs: Brut, Silver, Zappa and FionaDaddy Dog Brut is 7 years old. He is the leader of the Back Dogs, loves walks and chasing chipmunks and squirrels. He is my bad boy of the bunch, having every behavior problem a dog could have due to his earlier upbringing. We have dealt with aggression towards dogs, possessiveness, dominance and territorial issues and are still working with all of these on a smaller scale. He’s taught me to think outside the box and that every dog is different. Working with Brut and his special needs has taught me that that love, discipline and a boat load of patience can work miracles in even the toughest dogs. Brut is my heart dog and our special bond has brought us far in our growth together.
Momma Dog Silver is ten years old and was four years old when she had her puppies. Silver was our first puppy together and Mark knew right away that he wanted to breed her. Silver had all of Mark’s attention for three full years before we got Brut to be her future stud. Silver was a great mother, caring for all of her puppies. She was so good she didn’t want to stop nursing them! Silver has since been spayed and now enjoys her retirement with her kids Zappa and Fiona, who are still as affectionate with their mother even now. She also has found a love for dog sledding, which we do for recreation, paired with her son Zappa.
Zappa is the first born out of ten puppies born on January 2, 2008. Zappa was a mouthy puppy from the time he was born and still is today. He is the announcer for anything that is happening, be in the Back Pack, Front Pack, Mark coming home, or anything in the yard. If you want to know what’s happening listen for Zappa. Zappa and his dad Brut have had many challenges among them that they have been working out for the last couple of years. They both think they are top dog and have earned control in certain parts of the house and yard. There is nothing they enjoy more than hunting chipmunks and squirrels together and can spend day after day doing just that. Zappa is also particularly fond of his mother and is Mark’s heart dog. He too enjoys dog sledding with his mom and me.
Fiona was the last born pup of the ten puppies. She was born breached and got stuck in the birth canal for a second before Mark pulled her out. This tough girl was the runt, but put all her heart and determination into the fight to match her brothers and sisters. She won my heart and we decided to keep her. Fiona is still that unbroken girl who has a way of getting what she wants with that strong determination that kept her alive, a free spirit who lives life to the fullest. Fiona is also our friendly cat patrol. We have two cats whom she enjoys putting in their place and keeps them on their toes. Fiona also joins Brut and Zappa on their chipmunk hunts, but loses the thrill fastest then her dad and brother.
Meet the Front Dogs: Blaze and Chance
Blaze was born the ninth pup, just before Fiona. She too was a mouthy one, like her brother Zappa. She was a bossy little pup and I remember thinking I couldn’t wait until she found a home. I took back every word after she was returned to us severely abused, beaten, shot with a pellet gun and was emotionally and mentally scarred. She knew who we were but she was still scared. It took a lot of time and patience to gain her trust after being so badly hurt.
Since the Back Dogs wanted nothing to do with her, Blaze was alone when it came to having a dog friend to play with. We did the best we could under the circumstances of the dogs being divided. Four months later Chance came back and Blaze was with her best buddy again. The two families that owned Blaze and Chance were related so they practically grew up together and they couldn’t have been happier to be with each other again. They are still the best of friends today.
Chance was the fourth born of the litter and was always in competition with Zappa for the top dog position. When Chance found a new home I never dreamed he’d come back with his ribs almost showing. Chance was so loyal to his previous owner he stood outside for hours at a time and just waited for his boy to come and get him. As with Blaze, it took love, time and patience for Chance to be the happy boy he is today. Chance and Blaze would have been lost souls if they hadn’t found each other again. They helped each other through their young lives before and being with us they were able to heal and recover together. They now share one of the strongest bonds in our house of dogs and have a gratitude for being loved that is unmatched.
On our blog, 24 Paws of Love, we talk about the issues we are working through and the challenges of owning two packs of dogs. We share our experience in working with difficult dogs like Brut and the things that have worked for us. We tend to take things slow and let the dogs guide us in this journey. After all it is their journey and we are just honored to take and be a part of it. You can never underestimate a dog’s unconditional love and the power it has to heal. I share about my journey from a traumatic life before and the many dogs and cats whom have been instrumental in my healing path as well. We also have lots of fun with walks, games and dog sledding in the winter,which we are all learning together.
So come join us at http://24pawsoflove.com for the most interesting two packs of dogs you could ever meet. Or like us on Facebook.