Crazy Dog Lady: How is it possible for you to take proper care of so many dogs?

This one came in a not so friendly e-mail, but it is a valid question so let’s go there!

If you were to ask those that feel that proper care of a dog depends solely on the length of his toenails, we are failures.   We are failures because we don’t have Slugger on a special diet to battle his flatulence issues.  We are also failures in our cruelty to Slugger for having him pose for pictures, and make certain public appearances, with a car air freshener dangling from his collar.


But you know what? If those instances in the previous paragraph makes us unfit parents, golly, someone had better tell the kids!

To take proper care of so many dogs is an exhausting endeavor.  There is a mountain of laundry – dog bed covers, furniture covers, towels, etc. that has to be done every week.  The floors have to be vacuumed every day, usually multiple times.  While the brain is on the day job, one eye is always on the clock to make sure one of us gets home at a respectable time before one of the little ones (it’s always one of the little ones) has an ‘on purpose’ on the floor.   And we haven’t even started on direct attention on the kids!




Maybe food, toenail length and cleanliness is what all the books say is important, and by that scale we probably sit in the middle.  Since we don’t feed premium  food, maybe by the book we are at the lower middle end.

But I come from the school that says interaction carries more weight. It doesn’t matter how tired we are or if we don’t feel well, the kids  have to be interacted with.  Despite having such a large yard, they still have to get out and see the world, so we take them places.  OK – not quite as much in the summer, but hey, try getting any of them to go outside voluntarily when it is over 100 degrees…

It’s also about priorities.  My mother would be horrified to go inside our house.  Then again, maybe that is why my parents never visit to begin with.  Mom is house proud.  I on the other hand, am proud of my kids.  If we get a really good rainstorm, we deliberately take The Idiots and Willy out on the desert to play in the really gooey mud.  So it takes days to clean the mud out of the house, and Waggin’ Wagon, the kids have a great time and make us laugh!  Mortimer and Emmi like to eat soap (we don’t ask…).  Do we get mad?  No, it’s just another feather in the caps of 2 members of The Idiot Group.    When you live with 12 dogs, experiences and not things are the priorities.


The shutter speed on the digital camera was too slow to get the aftermath...  DASH! and Hector in a heap.
The shutter speed on the digital camera was too slow to get the aftermath… DASH! and Hector in a heap.


While on her deathbed my mother may re-live her clean houses, I on mine will remember the day Vito chased a ginormous visiting dog into the fish pond and wouldn’t let him out, or how Gracie pulls her own gums back to get her teeth brushed,  or how Emmi won’t let me sleep, or just about anything about Slugger, or the time…  well, I think you get the picture.

More than anything else, I will remember that it doesn’t matter what new and exciting place we go to, if I were to sit down, all of the kids will come sit with me and yes, that includes Willy.  Despite my self-doubt, every time that happens, I know I have to be doing at least an OK job overall.




Still, I do worry that I am not giving enough attention, so I have come up with a little trick:  I lend some of the kids to my clients for a day, on a regular basis.  We call them Rental Dogs, though no money changes hands.  For the day, one or 2 of the kids is separated from the herd and is spoiled by someone who loves dogs, but for whatever reason doesn’t have one of their own.  Gracie, Frankie, Vito, Angus, Slugger, Sarah and Emmi have enjoyed being spoiled rotten by others.  Morty has recently been summoned to try as a play date for another dog.  OK, so there have been a few times when I have forgotten to pick them up on the way home from work, but hey, forgotten on a couch, where they are being fed dog treats isn’t so bad a place to be forgotten.


Pic provided by one of the Rental Dog homes.  Note Slugger and Angus are in the pic, but look real close at the pic on the mantle, just to the left...  It's a picture of Franky. Need I say more...
Pic provided by one of the Rental Dog homes. Note Slugger and Angus are in the pic, but look real close at the pic on the mantle, just to the left…  There is a bit of a glare on the glass.   It’s a picture of Franky. Need I say more…
This is the picture of Franky on the mantle.
This is the picture of Franky on the mantle.


As far as proper veterinary care – let’s forget about the fact that Emmi, Slugger, Angus and Sarah all have Valley Fever and Willy is medicated for his emotional issues.  Absent the follow ups related to those issues, there are the regular visits required for all dogs.  12 dogs says you either go to the vet once and lose a mortgage payment, or you go every month taking one Valley Fever and one ‘healthy’ dog.  And lest we forget, Sarah has her neuro problems that can cause an unexpected visit, AND we are 12 times more likely than the single dog home to have an emergency with any of the dogs at any time, and it doesn’t matter how tired we are when we discover the emergency, it has to be dealt with, immediately.


Farting the Dog

When DASH! had his intestinal blockage and required surgery to save his life, we didn’t have the money.  Crabby told the vet to do the surgery and left.  He came back with a check from the bank, from a loan he took out to pay.  We are now 2 years (April) past the surgery, and with this year’s tax refund, DASH! ‘s re-sected small intestine now belongs to us!  2 years paying off a surgery for a little dog no one else stepped up to help when he was healthy and alone.  I think it is safe to assume we are committed.


Soul Mutts
Soul Mutts


The dogs, well, all except Morty that is, didn’t appear on our doorstep and demand we take them in.  We chose to take them in.  Therefore, they can not be ‘blamed’ for being here.  Our choices, our responsibilities.

We do not have nice clothes, indeed, we share a lot of them.  We don’t get to go on vacations or weekends away together.  No fancy nights out.  Aside from work hours, we can’t leave the kids alone for more than a few hours – would YOU leave 12 dogs alone in  your house???

So to answer the question, if you remember what it was;  it is possible for us to take proper care of so many dogs?  They are happy and bouncy, they eat twice a day, every day on schedule, they get immediate and regular veterinary care, and they are so very much loved.   Neglected dogs don’t act the way ours do, so I have to think we are doing an OK job.

All this being said, to all those people who have said they wish they could have ‘that many’ dogs – no you don’t.   There is a world out there, or so I’ve heard.  I’m too busy at home to know anything about it.


26 thoughts on “Crazy Dog Lady: How is it possible for you to take proper care of so many dogs?

  1. There is a reason I went on word press tonight it was to read your post. I to am considered the crazy dog lady even my ex husband complained about the dogs in mediation. I have a newfoundland with wobblers disease so treatments once a week have to be done. I rescue St. Bernard who can be aggressive with the other animals but I love him to death and a baby bull dog who is the love of my life. Without them I would not be sober, sane or a joyful person.

    1. Thank you for not doing as many would, and sticking by your Newfy. Thank you again for adopting the St. Bernard – so hard to find homes for the big kids. No need to say more on the baby bull dog – squish his face for me 🙂

  2. Thank you for this post and I am sorry – sorry that you had to write it because anyone with a bit of common sense, who has been reading your posts, should have been able to see and tell that all the dogs are loved and well cared for. I have two and I figure three would be about my limit. But mine are so old now I really couldn’t have a third dog – they are too, too grumpy. But look on the bright side – you could be a Crazy Cat Lady – now that’s a worry :o)

    1. Actually, no offense was taken at the question, though the form of the question was questionable. We hear stories every day of people that have ‘too many’ and don’t take care of them. But I do agree, if one were to read the blog, it would be apparent that we certainly do try!

      Enjoy 2 and the ability to travel!

  3. I am simply in awe of you. When all the dogs have safely left all the shelters and rescues, then people can wonder. Until then…thank goodness for you and Crabby.

  4. Recently in my country, there were 2 cases where more than 20 animals were, for lack of a better word abandoned. In one case, a lady abandoned her shelter full of sick dogs that were not socialised and aggressive. In the other, the poor old lady died and her animals were left locked up in her rented shop before people found out. The first case, clearly an animal hoarder. She did not allow volunteers into her shelter to help. The second case, well she was too kind-hearted and people kept abandoning animals at the door step of her shop in the middle of the night!

    I find it exhausting enough cleaning up after 1 dog and 2 humans! (I am behind on the dog laundry… lol… and I only have one dog :P). So taking care of 12 dogs, not everyone can do it certainly.

    But looking at what you have shared, I think the dogs already have a better quality of life than if they were stuck in a shelter or in the two situations mentioned above 😛

    And hopefully, the forster(s) get adopted from your good work talking about them here.

    And please remember to give yourselves a break now and then…. I’d probably go crazy if all my days revolve around 12 dogs with no me time. Yup, I will.

    1. Sadly, those stories are everywhere. The only reason we have been able to say ‘no’ more than ‘yes’ to additional dogs is that we are walking a fine line between keeping it together and becoming a story. If something happened to Crabby or me, and one or both couldn’t work, we would be in a heap of trouble.

      Thanks for reminding us to take a break… you are the first to say that! I only wish we could take your advice!

  5. For anyone to question your commitment to the welfare of your dogs, every last one of them, is ludicrous. It’s obvious your whole life revolves around your fur babies, and their happiness and welfare is your number one priority. It’s also obvious that all your dogs are happy and cared for – they have a wonderful life: lots of company from humans and members of their own species; wonderful off-leash walks/runs in the desert where they get to play and explore; comfy beds indoors and their own space if they need it; vetinary care; they are well fed; and most importantly they are loved (you are wonderfully observant of their emotional needs and problems and try everything to tackle any issues they may have). What more does any dog need? I think you (and, yes, the Crabby Man too ) do a brilliant job x

    1. We could do everything perfectly and there would still be someone to judge. Like I said in an earlier reply, I just let it roll off. It’s the least I can do since my kids are cooler than the judgers 🙂

  6. Where there is happiness there will always be people trying to bring you down. This was a great response to those people. Some just don’t understand the love between dogs and their people. The person who sent you the email is obviously not a rescuer. I only have one dog but use a lot of my spare time going to shelters and hanging out with the dogs waiting for their forever homes. You’re right, it is all about the experiences. And the fact that you know you’re dogs want for nothing. They’re just like kids and when we have kids we make sacrifices. But our love for them outweighs any sacrifice we make for them to be happy and healthy! You’re doing a great job…don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

    1. I let the comments by negative people roll off. My kids are cooler than theirs afterall, I have to let them vent 🙂

  7. Great post!
    There’s always people that’s quick to judge according to their “standards”.
    I have issues with my wild beast I can’t imagine how hard you have to work to keep up with all of them.

    1. Everyone has their own oppinion. A rescue referred a potential home for Slugger to me. A ‘great home’. When I talked to the potential home, however, Slugger would be outside when they weren’t home, and when he was allowed inside, he would have his ‘spot’. Premium food, guaranteed vet care, the whole shebang, except for letting Slugger be Slugger. If I were to do a poll, guaranteed it would be a 50/50 split as to whether I should have let that home have him.

    1. Not fun to be the person who has to clean up after them… but then they get all cute and cuddly and it makes it ok…

      1. The only difference is, dogs do the mess-then-cute thing accidentally. Cats know EXACTLY what they are doing, right down to the cuteness, and then they snicker about it when you aren’t looking 🙂

  8. I get this question A LOT too… and sometimes the easiest thing to do is to just take the questioning person to see where the dogs came from (a living hell/or on the brink of death) and then bring them to the ranch and let them snap photos of all the dogs chasing each other through the sprinkler in the backyard and then taking turns napping belly up in MY bed. Haha! We may not honestly have enough hands at all times (oh to be an octopus … NO… a wealthy octopus!) but a pack of dogs works in it’s own magical way too, making up for the occasional gaps on the caregivers part. From what I see though, you don’t have any short comings, and I would love to be a dog at your place! 🙂

    1. EMPHASIS on ‘a pack of dogs works its own magical way too!’ If not for The Hoard, then I would feel really guilty. Then again, if not for The Hoard, I wouldn’t have 12 (13 including Marcy) reasons to 🙂

      Yes, to be a weatly octopus!

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