Some of you may have the blessing of experiencing fall leaves and cooler temperatures, while others like me are in perpetual summer. But no matter where you live, now is a great time to spend a day with your four-legged best friend at a neighborhood park. Here are some pics of my best buddy, Darwin, the XXL standard poodle at various parks in my neighborhood and on our family travels.
Every member of my family knows firsthand that having a pet makes life more fulfilling. Dogs and cats love unconditionally, and there’s nothing like a loyal and loving pet to comfort you and keep you company.
My daughter with our giant poodle, Darwin.
Several Broward County shelters offer pet adoptions for nominal fees, and by adopting from a shelter you’ll be saving a life. All require applications and perform a thorough screening to ensure that their pets are placed in loving homes. If you’d like to consider adopting or fostering a pet:
- Browse the websites to learn more about each shelter’s adoption policies.
- Peruse the photos of animals available for adoption, but keep in mind that there are likely additional animals available that are not yet listed on the websites.
- Check the hours of the shelter you’d like to visit before planning to meet the dogs and cats available for adoption.
- Bring a list of questions to ask at the shelter.
- If you already have a pet(s) at home, you’ll want to make sure you choose a new dog or cat that will get along with your pets.
- Know that all pets are generally spayed, neutered and vaccinated by the shelters.
- Don’t be in a rush to make a decision about pet adoption/fostering, as it is a big commitment.
- Before bringing a pet home, make sure you have all the basic supplies you’ll need for feeding and caring for him or her.
- Once you do adopt a pet, take advantage of the shelter’s support services should you encounter any challenges when you bring your new dog or cat home.
- Consider making a donation to a Broward County animal shelter – big or small it will be greatly appreciated.
Please Read my article on About.com about how and where to adopt or foster a pet in Broward County.
Darwin, AKA Dardie, Chocolate Standard Poodle XXL
Having a huge and adorable dog is really an attention-getter. Sometimes I enjoy being stopped and answering all the questions people have about Darwin when we walk together. But literally, for every block I walk, I get stopped a minimum of 4 times.
People slow down in their cars and yell stuff out the window at me. One car’s driver was staring at Darwin and not paying attention to a large curb. She tore a big chunk out of her car and ended up dragging a side panel under the car. Another driver failed to stop at a busy intersection, because he was fixated on Darwin. He almost plowed into oncoming traffic. He stopped in time, but his car spun completely around. Many drivers also pull up behind us (off the road) suddenly and without warning, scaring the heck out of both of us (just to see the dog and ask questions). I know my pup is special and darling and big, but he is not the only standard poodle in this country.
Here’s a few comments I’ve received from strangers:
- “What kind of exotic breed is that?” Me: “A poodle, actually one of the more common breeds.”
- “Now yours is a toy poodle, right? And there are two larger sizes of poodles, right?” Me: “You are kidding, right? This dog is 5 ft. 3 inches from the top of his head to his feet. You believe there are 2 larger sizes – perhaps a pony and a Clydesdale?”
- “What kind of mammal is that you have on that leash?” Me: “I sure hope it is a canine, or the more familiar word, dog. “
- “I have to ask, are you a FULL-sized person?” Me: “I have to answer that I am somewhat offended. But yes, I am a small, full-sized person and this is a large, full-sized dog.”
- “Aren’t you terrified of your own dog? He is humongous!” “Me: “Watch as I pry open the dog’s mouth and stick my head in there. Can you tell that I am not afraid?”
- “What the F is that? You’ve got some big SHI- there!” Me: “My dog is not impressed with your limited vocabulary.”
- “What a gorgeous animal!” Me: “Thank you. I work out a lot and watch what I eat, but how do you like my dog?”
My standard poodle, Darwin (AKA Dardie) turned 2 today! Here’s how we spent this special day . . .
Birthday Party invitation
Morning photo shoot for the birthday boy
A special treat
Pretending to be an elf is fun!
A whole lotta lovin!
A little grooming
Wrestling with Daddy
Homemade peanut butter carrot cake with cream cheese honey frosting
Time to sing “Happy Birthday”
Best buddies chowing down on cake
Worn out after a chase around the yard
A birthday present worth chewing
Every day I am grateful for many things, and today I am extra grateful for my dog, Darwin.
I truly believe that people who are lonely or not lonely, sick or healthy, happy or depressed, can improve their quality of life by having a dog. Dogs:
- Love you unconditionally
- Do not discriminate
- Are happy about the smallest things: A hug, a treat, a ride in the car or a game of catch
- Follow you around and make you feel important
- Are loyal to you no matter what
- Need you to take care them, which makes you worry less about yourself and more about your pet
- Require that you exercise them, and in turn, you get a daily workout
- Sit right next to you when you are sick or sad, making you feel better instantly
- Have been proven to lower stress levels as well as blood pressure
- Improve your social life by attracting attention from other humans when you are out walking
So go ahead and find yourself a new best friend who walks on all fours. You’ll be so glad you did.
Darwin (purebred standard poodle) and his best friend, Joey (lab mix) always have a geat time together. Watching them play is a real treat!
The couch potato
Cuddling with his sister who just came home from college
Darwin’s new girlfriend, Sophia
What can racism possibly have to do with dogs, you ask? I never thought about it myself until I got my second standard poodle. My first standard was Gigi, a mild mannered adorable, fluffy, loving 51-lb female dog. She stood 24 inches from the shoulder to the ground. Unfortunately we lost our Gigi to cancer just before her 11th birthday.
No matter where we took our dog, people of all races and sizes were terrified of her. It was common for us to see people run away from her or cross a street just to avoid walking by her.
Now we have Darwin, a horse-sized chocolate brown standard boy. His is HUGE. He stands 29 inches from his shoulder to the ground and weighs 85 lbs. He is about 70% larger than Gigi was. So one would assume people would be afraid of him. Wrong! People can’t get enough of Darwin. We get stopped by just about everyone who walks or even drives past us. People get out of their cars and bicyclists get off their bikes to see Darwin. Darwin is gentle like Gigi, but much more intimidating to look at. And his bark is much deeper and louder. Yet, people near and far come right up to him and pet him with no fear.
From my experience, people are much more likely to be afraid of a black dog than a brown dog. What a shame. They likely do not even realize it. Isn’t that the same thing as racism?
If you don’t believe me, go out and get yourself a black dog and a dog of another color and try it out for yourself.
While walking Darwin one day a few weeks ago near the local hospital, I was stopped by a doctor who told me he ordered a brown standard poodle from the same breeder in Toronto where we got Darwin! That is really amazing, since we live in South Florida. It turns out that the doctor’s dog, Mickey, is Darwin’s nephew. Mickey’s mother is Darwin’s sister from an earlier litter of the same parents. The size contrast here is shocking! Little Mickey felt a bit intimidated by his horse-sized uncle.