When you come to our home, the first thing you will see will be Cody (and possibly another dog). He will be barking, and he's allowed to continue barking until I tell him otherwise. When you come in, you will get a very excited greeting. This means he may lick your hands or jump up (this is my bad trainer moment where I let him). If there is another dog with him, they will both compete to show you who's the most affectionate. Brace yourself.
You will hear before you see the other dogs. There may be anywhere between 1 and 6 extra dogs. They will bark...a lot. You will see before you hear the cats. There will be 2. The cats may be nervous and hiss. Just leave them alone. You'll be fine. At some point, those dogs that you haven't seen yet will need to go outside, and you will get to meet every single one of them. They will be very excited and very happy, and they may decide it's time to play. This will probably look like they're fighting, but they're not, so don't worry.
When you sit down, you may encounter some dog / cat hair. It will brush off. A dog may slobber on you. It will wash out. The barking may be loud. The dogs will go outside.
A lot of people would not be able to handle our home. To them, it would seem noisy and messy and overall overwhelming. These people do not understand why we live the way we do...why I live the way I do.
I love our dogs. I love the fosters who come through, the clients I'm training, the boarders, and most especially Cody. I love Mo and Stolte. I love their kisses and their warmth. I love their excitement and their energy. I love their attitudes.
Sure, things can be overwhelming sometimes. The mornings are the hardest because I have to wake up and feed all of them, and most don't sleep in the way Cody does. Vacuuming is a daily chore, and I feel like I can never keep up. At some point soon, I will need to wash the walls, the floors will need to be sanded, and the back door will need a new coat of paint. Somehow, though, this all seems worth it.
If I had to choose between the dogs and a quiet life, I'd have to choose the dogs. Someday, I may have a facility separate from the home, and then I could have a quiet life AND the dogs, but that's not the case right now, and that's OK. For now, I'd rather have the wagging tails and the wet tongues. I'd rather have the dogs who need a little extra love and who will return it in spades. I'd rather have the fur and the barking.
I don't expect everyone to get it. I don't expect everyone to agree, and I'm not asking that you do. If you can't handle our home, then don't come here. No one is forcing you. If it's too hard, meet me at a coffee shop. The one thing I do ask is that you simply let us live our lives. Don't try to change things to suit your needs. Don't complain to me. Don't freak out or go stiff as a board when you see all the dogs. Just let things be. Oh, and know that I'm the one house where your dogs are ALWAYS welcome. You don't need to leave your dog behind on my account. Bring him/her along and be happy.