Meet our two family dogs, Lola & Frieda.
About a month before my husband and I left on our honeymoon, our neighbor invited us over to meet his dog’s litter of Lab mix puppies. There were about 12 of them, mostly black. We decided we’d adopt one of the females when we returned from our trip; however, when we got back, there were only three puppies left and two were male. The lone female was jet black, and as puppies go, adorable. We named her Lola.
Lola has always been a submissive dog; 100% lover, 0% fighter. She plops right down and rolls over for belly rubs. We’re not sure what other breeds she has aside from Lab, but we joke that she may be part gazelle. In her younger days, Lola could effortlessly bound over anything in the yard, dash at the 6 foot cedar fence, launch off of the middle, and look clear over the top to the neighbor’s side before succumbing to gravity, not unlike Pepe le Pew. She also has a high prey drive, putting an end to the possums that have wandered into our yard over the years. She’s always been good with children, willing to quietly sit and be pet. I think she’d make a great therapy dog, but have not pursued that avenue yet.
We visited the shelter a couple of times and did not connect with the dogs there. Then, on our third visit, a new dog in the very first kennel stood out. Every single dog was barking, except for this one Rottie/Lab mix. She watched us calmly and seemed to smile. We took her out on leash to one of the runs and she was fantastic: very attentive, as though she were trying to figure us out. We waited a day or two and went back, and she was still there. Just as we were signing papers, another family asked to begin the adoption process for her. She was destined to be adopted that day, that’s for sure.
We named her Frieda, which means “peaceful” in German and found after bringing her home that she was terrified about walking alongside traffic. She shivered and shook horribly. So we did it everyday. We didn’t coddle her; we just walked her everyday alongside the road, and she soon learned that nothing bad was happening to her. Since then, she’s been a protective guardian of our home, and wonderful around our kids. Her deep bark, never incessant, alerts us to action near our door. Frieda only plops down where she can keep her eyes on her people.
If someone ever broke into our home, Lola would be thrilled in hope of a belly rub. Frieda would not be as welcoming, and I am thankful for that.