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I started paying attention to this term last year, after I lost my very best doggy friend:

"Heart dog."

The canine equivalent of a soulmate.

My question: Can you have more than one?

Of course you can love more than one dog. You can adore more than one dog, cherish more than one dog, think more than one dog is perfect and think more than one dog is perfect-for-you.

But do we get just one doggy soulmate? That perfect collision of dog and circumstance that binds us together on a deeper level?

I'd love to hear about your heart dogs and your thoughts on heart dogs.
 

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My first heart dog was Pinky, springer spaniel. She was amazing in both the field and home. She expressed her love for me in so many ways. She has been at the rainbow bridge for a long time now.
Asta is my second heart dog. He is also amazing in quite a different way. He helps me so much with my bipolar disorder. Nothing quite like him snuggling up with me.

So I guess you could say I have 2 heart dogs - or at least this is how I see it.
 

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Yes you can have more than one, my heart cat was a former feral Mr Oliver Toes, my heart dogs Flower, Fannie and Beatrice. I adore or have adored all my poodles, Lenny and Pia love me so but Beatrice well she has given me comfort in times of grief and anxiety and calms me in a way I can't explain.
 

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I dearly loved my previous two dogs that I got during my late childhood; they were everything I needed in my life at that time. They also were the perfect family pets. I sometimes feel that I did not appreciate my time with them as much as I should have, and I deeply regret that. I have 2 dogs right now that I love very much. They are so far from perfect and playing the role of the perfect "family pet," but they are perfect for me. When they pass on, I am not sure I will be able to handle getting another dog in the future.
 

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Lenny and Pia love me so but Beatrice well she has given me comfort in times of grief and anxiety and calms me in a way I can't explain.
Exactly this. It's very hard to put into words, but I think a sort of telepathy exists between humans and their heart dogs. The relationship vibrates at a different frequency.

Maybe it's also a little like human chemistry?
 

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The concept of “soul mate” or “heart dog” is a human construct. There’s no such thing.

It is natural to feel a special deeper bond with some people and pets. So yes, you can have more than one.
 

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Maybe it's also a little like human chemistry?
I have shared before that when I met my rescue girl, I was very surprised at how quickly she formed a connection with me. I could tell her foster mom was pretty surprised as well. I first met her outside, where she growled at me, and then helped to walk her into the home. She also growled at me a bit when we entered the home, but once I sat on the couch, she came over pretty quickly to test me out. Then she was in my lap, showing me her toys (which her foster mom told me she hadn't really touched, and these were her actual toys from her previous home). I remember feeling so sad while petting her, and apologizing that she lost the family she had had the first 6 years of her life. She wanted to be near me almost the entire visit, even when her foster mom tried to call her over. When she meets other people, even when they are kind and patient, she is much more hesitant with them. There was definitely a very strong, unique connection with her right away. I've always said she chose me first.
 

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I have shared before that when I met my rescue girl, I was very surprised at how quickly she formed a connection with me. I could tell her foster mom was pretty surprised as well. I first met her outside, where she growled at me, and then helped to walk her into the home. She also growled at me a bit when we entered the home, but once I sat on the couch, she came over pretty quickly to test me out. Then she was in my lap, showing me her toys (which her foster mom told me she hadn't really touched, and these were her actual toys from her previous home). I remember feeling so sad while petting her, and apologizing that she lost the family she had had the first 6 years of her life. She wanted to be near me almost the entire visit, even when her foster mom tried to call her over. When she meets other people, even when they are kind and patient, she is much more hesitant with them. There was definitely a very strong, unique connection with her right away. I've always said she chose me first.
That is so beautiful.

My bond with Gracie was similarly instantaneous, but not ideal as she was a petstore dog. I had zero intention of getting a dog from a petstore, didn't even like looking at the dogs there because I'd get so upset. But I'd peered into the store to see what happened to the bunnies they'd previously had in the window, and something happened when I laid eyes on her. It's not that I wanted to save her. It's not even that I fell in love. I went on autopilot.

The girl working at the store said, "I can bring her out, if you like. But just to warn you - she's a little weird."

It was evening. I was alone, in my 20s. I had to work the next morning. I had zero supplies and would have to open a store credit card to even afford her (despite the fact she was already four months old and discounted 50% off). Basically the worst case scenario.

I generally avoid even telling this story because I don't want to encourage anyone to do the same thing! It always feels more like a confession than a cute anecdote.

But....that weird little dog climbed straight into my lap and the rest is history. People claimed they could SEE the bond between us, like an invisible string.

Shortly after I got her, I snapped these pics of her posing with a vintage painting of my grandparents' poodles. I suppose they're the closest thing I'll ever have to a photo of her and Peggy. :)

466967


466968
 

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Buck is my heart dog. I loved my Scotties, but after Buck, they seem so dull. As cowpony mentioned, dull was fine for the stage when I was a busy working mom with a small yard. Buck is exactly what I need at this stage, a nearly human dog, part fitness instructor, always engaging, always at my side.
 

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In the early 1990s, I decided to get a white toy poodle but don't recall all the thinking that went into this. My son was five and we had a wonderful cocker spaniel at time, which was close to Christmas. So I saw an add in the newspaper and drove a long way, alone, to the breeder's home. A woman in her 50s invited me in where I met her husband, and they offered me a seat in a large, cushy chair.

The first puppy she brought to me was really young, maybe 7 weeks old. The first thing it did when she placed it on my lap was pee on me. Ugh. "Too young," I said. "Do you have one that's older?"

So she takes it through her kitchen and retreated to the basement, then brings up another poodle, I suppose 4 to 5 months old, and placed it on my lap. That had to be the stupidest-looking poodle I've ever seen. It sat with it's back to me, and would turn it's head in a weird way to look at me nervously then look away quickly.

"Um, no," I said, with something like. "I don't think this one is a good match. Got anything else?"

The husband and wife sorta shrugged and started to say no, and then they started talking with their eyes. I could see it. Then the husband nodded.

"Well, I could show you one more," the lady said. "It'll take awhile while brush (or bathe) him."

"I have plenty of time," I responded.

A half hour later she brings up this fluffy white poodle with Mickey Mouse ears, meaning his ears were creme/apricot. She set him down on the floor at the kitchen entrance rather than in my lap. That little guy made a heck of an entrance. He jumped and bounced with sheer joy on the chair opposite me, then the sofa, then straight onto my lap and looked up at me with complete adoration.

"You're the one!" I exclaimed!

"Yes! I'm the one!, he exclaimed.

Tail wagging, me grinning from ear to ear! He was The One.

When drove home, I had him a box and called my son. "Here's an early Christmas present," I said.

Rather than pull off the lid, he put his hand in to try to feel what it was, then jumped when "it" moved. He took off the lid and squealed with delight!

We then introduced him to our cocker spaniel, who was two years old. They immediately became BFF's.

Yanni, which I named him, was my soul mate. There was a telepathic quality to the relationship. After he died, I couldn't get another dog for 13 years, and finally stopped depriving myself of the love of a dog and got Bella.

Bella has that same relationship quality, that wasn't immediately apparent when I first met her (I had to wait three weeks before getting her at 10 weeks old) but showed itself early. She'd lose her mind without me, and I'd grieve hard if I lost her. I have deeply loved my other dogs, but with a few in my life, there's that inexplicable connection that I guess you can call your dog soul mate.

Anyway, I know this is long but thanks for the question and I loved going back down memory lane.
 

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What a story, Vita! Wish I could have met Yanni. Wish I could meet everyone's heart dogs.

I think it's definitely some sort of magic that takes place between you and the dog. It's not just about the dog and how sweet or smart or "good" he or she is.

Kind of like how every nice person one dates isn't a love connection, even if that person becomes a good friend.
 

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My daughter, who hadn't been born when I got Yanni, remembers him well. She swears Yanni thought he was person. And if he really liked you, he'd sit so close as though melting into them which freaked out my nephew: "Hey, he keeps pushing into me! What's up with your dog? It's like he's trying to become part of me!" It was hilarious. And he'd follow me and the kids everywhere!

Bella follows me everywhere too. My apartment is not that big that she can't wait on the sofa or next to my computer chair when I run to the bathroom. Nooo, she's right there - and as a bonus, will sometimes guard the entry to the bathroom. This way she can an eye on me but also watch out for any ghosts (?) or burglars (?) that might sneak into my apartment. She doesn't care if Sachii or the cat comes in, but she's watching over me. It's marvelous. Not everyone's cup of tea to have a dog up under them like this, but works for me. Now Sachii, he's more laid back, more relaxed, more playful and ball-obsessed. This works for me too. 💖
 

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With pets, I've come to think of our hearts as much like those trees having those adorable little doors for the faeries and elves to use.

Every pet creates a brand new door and inner chambers, and he or she grows our hearts to suit. Bespoke heart chambers, one might say 😊.

Yes, each pet and our shared love is different, and every single pet creates a special forever place. A heart pet? Yes...yet maybe each is, in his or her special ways.

If we're lucky, we begin to learn the lessons they come to provide, while living and loving with us. I confess to mixed success. Every pet a blessing from the Almighty, or the Universe, or however one might feel appropriate to accept something truly extraordinary. I don't deserve Oliver or my late pets, by any measure, but they have graced my life thanks to something more wondrous than my poor mind can imagine.

Just one interpretation, and each of us deserves our own 😊.
 

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I think you can have more. When Gia passed I didn't think I would but then G2 cam home and she acts so much like G2 there's time I swear my dog was reincarnated. lol I Love her just as much but our bond is a bit different. Gia went just about everywhere with me since I didn't have kids or attachments at that point in life. So our bond was really strong. Now that I have 3 kiddos, and I've calmed down in life. I don't take G2 everywhere but my outings really only consist of store trips. I'll be just as heartbroken when she goes though.
 

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I'm late arriving to this thread, but such a lovely one!

I've had 3 total heart dogs. Every dog I've had in my lifetime ahs been just awesome, but with these 3 it was such a deeper bond and more "intimate" than I ever could have imagine. My first heart dog was my toy poodle that I got at Thanksgiving 1988. He and I bonded immediately, and I mean in like 1 minute. By the time he was in my car to go home, I never ever questoined that I'd had him his entire life. It just seemed I had (he was 7 yrs). I had a very hard time the first two years I had him, and I would sit on the floor alot just sobbing. When I would get down there, he would crawl up on my lap, press himself/body against my chest and I'd throw my arms around him and hang on for dear life. No matter how long I needed to do that, he was simply there. Never complained at all about how tightly I was holding him or how long. After those 2 years he was just my boy. After he went deaf and blind, it seemed he coujld still hear when I called him as he would come right to me. It was truly telepathic. I had no idea he was deaf until the vet proved it to me, but then I showed him how he would come when I called him. We were both pretty amazed.

I now have my 2nd and 3rd with me. Zeke was first. He had tough start in life and was very sick when I got him, but the getting well/treating with meds, etc, part pulled him so close to me, and my heart. He has never failed me. When he tries to communicate something, somehow I get it. When it's reversed, just after I give up trying to get him to figure something out, he surprises me and lets me know he did "get it". It's a very deep, unspoken bond.

And Stella is my 3rd. I honestly never believed she'd be anywhere bonded close enough to me, or me to her, to get that distinction. My girl who knew nothing about love, affection, relaxing with "mom", laying on a lap, just over a year ago. But one day a few months ago I had a total meltdown. I was in my chair sobbing and could hardly breathe. She came up on me and I yelled at her to get down. She reached out her nose to me, and began licking the tears from my face, very gently cleaning the corners of each eye (yes I closed them). I said to her "No. Please go away." She turned as if she was leaving, had her back to me and was standing on the foot of the chair, when she began backing up. Like a little engine of a train, just back and back, slow as she goes. She finally got to a point where she stopped, but as she was laying down on my leg, she stretched her butt as far back as she could get it to go, and finally laid down. I was laughing so much... it was the silliest thing I'd ever seen! So now she knows when it's time to be a clown and make me laugh, or lay her head on my shoulder and offer that strong, silent comfort, place her paw on my hand and leave it there (like holding hands), or just whatever I might ask her to do.

It is sometimes difficult having 2 heart dogs at once. Sometimes I feel like I'm giving one too much of my time and attention over the other dogs. Or when they are both on me, should I rub them both at the same time? I don't want to spark any jealousy between them. But then I look at how they are together, and I realize that most of the time they are just tag-teaming me anyway.
 

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A really lovely blog post from Patricia McConnell, which touches on this topic:

 
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