This past Christmas my kids were hired by the next door neighbors to care for their dachshunds, Peaches and Ralph. We’ve always been a big dog family—we are on our third English Springer Spaniel. Fordham is the biggest—and messiest—one we’ve had. Although I grew up with Pekingese, I understood Sherman’s fascination with bigger dogs.

Of course, maybe falling in love with Duncan, his first “baby,” was what changed my mind. Duncan could run and hike with us. He could sleep outside. He only needed to eat once a day and his bladder lasted all night (well, I won’t get into his Springer bladder from his younger years!) He didn’t spend time on the furniture (not if Sherman knew about it anyway!) Soon after we got married, I convinced him Duncan needed a friend. That’s when we got Chelsea, a dog that put the hyper in the Springer image.

Duncan and Chelsea were part of our family until the ends of their lives. When we wanted to adopt another dog, we didn’t even consider another breed. Springers are friendly, happy dogs that love their families—but not the mail carrier, it seems. OK, they are also fond of mud and weeds, can have too much energy at the wrong time, and don’t possess the daintiest eating or drinking habit, but they suit us.

However, Christiana fell for Peaches and Ralph for all their small dog traits. They love to cuddle, no matter the time of the day or night. Fordham, on the other hand, considers 8:00 p.m. his bedtime and is pretty much off duty on the love sponge scene until at least dawn. Christiana considers after 8:00 prime love sponge time, so she was wishing she could steal Peaches and Ralph—but that would not go over too well with Jen and Don!

She was all set to adopt her own dog, until we reminded her that college is a short 18 months away and I don’t think they’re going to take kindly to dachshunds in the dorms! So, we compromised and let her volunteer to foster an older dog.

We picked up Abel Saturday from the Plum Creek Dog Show. He is a very happy guy, especially for someone who is in his elder years and is basically homeless. Fordham, however, is not accessing any feelings of charity—Christian or otherwise—for this usurper of his attention. Abel is also not afraid to check out Fordham’s chew flips (rawhides)—which may matter even more to Fordham than our love does!

If you want to adopt Abel or check out other dachshunds, go to the Colorado Dachshund Rescue site for more information. Unless, you’re still a big dog person, then check out the English Springer Spaniel Rescue of the Rockies.

So now while Christiana is at school, I spend my time keeping the two old boys apart as well as I can.

And, shh, don’t tell Fordham, but Abel is on my lap right now while I write this. That’s just not something you can do with a 65-pound dog. The big dogs may get the porch, but they don’t get the lap!