The Love of a Dog

My first true love was a dog. Layla, a Blue Belton English Setter, came into my life September 2007 and she is still going strong.  She was my first baby, my fur baby, my husband’s “angel”, and to tell you the truth a real pain in the butt sometimes. 
The Love of a Dog | Duluth Moms Blog
{ Photo Credit: Megan Emily Photography}

When we first got her, she came to work with me every day; I worked at a vet clinic so it was easy.  She came with me when I went to all the pet friendly stores and even was allowed to join me at almost all of the homes I would go to babysit.  My boyfriend, now husband, and I took her to dog training classes and hunting clinics so she would become a good dog and a good hunter and to our surprise she even liked to swim! 

But having a dog isn’t always fun and games, there is a lot of responsibility that comes with it. Making sure the dog has quality food, is vaccinated, and has a safe pet friendly environment to live in are all very important and can cost a lot of money.  Also, dogs like to cause trouble, well Layla does at least. 

Since she was a puppy Layla has been a food thief.  Here are some of the things she has eaten/stolen: an entire bag of jelly beans which led to her pooping rainbows for a couple days, she took a pop-tart right out of my 2-year old cousin’s hand, a thing of Oreos, countless sleeves of English Muffins which are still her favorite things to steal off the counter, just last week she snagged my son’s half eaten donut off the table, enough fruit snacks, nilla wafers, and granola bars to feed a small third world country, and pretty much anything we leave unsupervised on the table for more than 5 minutes.  Her most regretful meal was when she ate an entire tube of beef flavored cat laxative, she also managed to eat an entire loaf of bread at the same time so that helped slow down the process until I made it home from work… then she destroyed the yard. 

You might wonder why we have not become smarter about stopping her from getting into so much; well we have.  When we leave the house she goes in her kennel but adding a baby, now toddler, to the mix has just made scrumptious morsels of food available to her at just the right height.  Jameson has learned that sitting at the table or on the couch limits her access and you will hear him yelling “Layla, go on” multiple times during snack time.  But she still manages to sneak a bite here or there, however she has grown tired of cheerios and is nice enough to leave them for our other English Setter Buddy to clean up.

The Love of a Dog | Duluth Moms BlogBesides her food stealing, she has been the best dog.  For 5 years my husband worked on the road, gone for 6 weeks home for 5 days, type of thing.  She is my protector and alerted me to a guy looking into our sliding glass door one night, I have never seen her bark like that before and have not since that night.  She knows exactly when I am down and need snuggles and a couple kisses.  I am pretty sure she knew I was pregnant before I did and all though my pregnancy she was extra attentive to me and always snuggling.  Once the baby arrived she became his second mom always checking the baby seat for him when we would come home and sleeping next to him at night. 

The Love of a Dog | Duluth Moms Blog
As she approaches her 11th birthday this coming June I am realizing she won’t be in our lives forever.  She is slowing down and her hearing is getting bad.  This past spring she tore her ACL and had to have knee surgery which has resulted in some arthritis slow down this winter. 

As I reflect of the past 11 years and look forward to the next hopefully few years we have left with Layla I realize how much having a dog has changed my life.  I was 20 years old when she came into my life and she has definitely taught me a lot about responsibility.  She has shown me what true dedication is by being my companion and hunting partner.  

Being a good pet owner is a lot of responsibility and hard work.  Being able to come home every day to a dog that is so over the moon to see you that they wag their tale so hard they fall over makes up for all the naughty and frustrating moments.  Having the love of a dog is an amazing thing. 

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Melainy Nickila
Hailing from the great state of North Dakota Melainy is new to the Duluth area and excited to explore all the great places and activities the Twin Ports area has to offer. Her Husband Ben, originally from Chisholm, 14 month old Jameson, and two 50lb English Setters have recently settled into small town living in Esko, MN and are eager to make their new house a home. As a first time mom, moving to a new town and a new state is chaotic and Melainy and her family are embracing the challenge, Follow her on Instagram @mmnickila and laugh at all of the hilarious 1st time mom adventures she encounters. Also follow her blog,