Sadie and Doc, two dogs, different as night and day

Although I love our puppy, Sadie, she certainly isn’t anything at all like our previous and beloved dog, Doc. Some folks swear that dogs take on their owner’s personality. If this is true, then Doc, our adoring lab who passed last year, took after my unassuming husband, Pat.

Doc was the strong and silent type. He never barked without reason, was always calm and still, and I don’t think I ever heard him whine about having to put in a long day.

Doc followed the rules, loved our family unconditionally and was always willing to calmly sit and watch a basketball game. He respected the couch protocol, treated the remote controls with reverence and certainly never ever chewed our cell phones to smithereens for no apparent reason.

Overall, Doc had a genuine and sweet spirit about him and a sincerely loving manner.

How are things with our puppy Sadie? Well, that right there is another story.  Quite frankly, I have no idea where her personality came from. That little bundle of energy is here and there and everywhere, bouncing off couches, walls and wreaking havoc on everything in her path.

The first time I told the little dear “No,” Sadie looked me straight in the eye and barked in my face. I knew then that it was on.

“I raised four rowdy, strong-willed sons,” I thought to myself, “and I’ll be darned if I’m going to let this puppy get the best of me!”

Well-ell, that went straight from my lips to God’s ears. Sadie has been a handful ever since. Sure, we have our bonding moments, coffee time and enjoy our moments together, but it seems I have to constantly remind her who is in charge.

Perhaps time has tainted my memory, but I don’t remember Doc chewing up the mail. He left the toilet paper alone, had no interest in our shoes and certainly did not bring undergarments into the kitchen when we were entertaining.

Doc had respect for ink pens, carpet slippers and never even once ate a throw pillow. He did not need to be the center of attention, did not demand constant devotion and, like my Pat, never really seemed to mind if the world did not revolve around him.

If dogs truly do take on the personality of their owners, then I wondered where Sadie was getting her disposition. She wants all eyes upon her, demands to be heard and if no one is paying attention to her, Sadie will certainly let you know it.

While Doc never whined, Sadie really likes to let it out when she is happy. You mention “fetch” and she will come running and sobbing like a baby. In fact, she is reminiscent of an actress crying happy tears for receiving an Academy Award.

It’s as if she’s saying, “I would like to thank everyone involved in making this game of fetch possible. Thank you to the yard and to my ball and to you, oh human, for throwing my ball for me.”

When I really want to get the little dear going, I put on my walking shoes and grab her leash.

“I can’t believe we’re actually going to do this,” she seems to imply as she runs around the room and whines at the thought of going for a walk. “I’ve waited my whole life for this very moment and I can’t believe it’s finally here. Oh the joy I’m experiencing, oh the unadulterated bliss!”

Talk about your drama.

When we bought Sadie a squeaky pig toy, she really let it out. She ran through the room with it, showed it to each and every person, and when she finally calmed down, she laid on her dog bed with the pig between her paws and sobbed while caressing her new friend. Then she ripped it to shreds.

When one of our sons returned home from college last week, Sadie could barely contain herself.

“Why is she whining like that?” he asked.

“She’s happy to see you,” I explained.

“So she cries?”

“Yes, it’s just her way of expressing her bliss.”

“Huh,” he replied. “The more Sadie’s personality develops, the more she reminds me of you.”

Lori Clinch is the mother of four sons and the author of the book “Are We There Yet?” You can reach her by sending an email to