(sorry about the pic quality...it's from a phone camera)
Even with Joshua away, I'm still outnumber by boys three to one.
Our two 90 lb dogs, Balak, which roughly means destroyer in Hebrew and Murray, mostly named after the dog from Mad About You and because he just looked like a Murray are a handful without Joshua but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Despite his name, Balak is most often referred to as Bubba because "destroyer" really, really doesn't fit him. Although Bubba's a pure bred 90 lb Rhodesian Ridgeback, a breed also called "Lion Killers," a breed which was originally bred in Africa to protect farms and families from lions, a breed which only requires 3-4 dogs to keep a lion at bay and a breed which boasts that a single dog can take down an orangutan...no one told Bubba any of this. Don't get me wrong, he's really strong and even sometimes quite protective-especially when I was pregnant. However, the vast majority of the time, he prefers to sleep (completely under a blanket). It's my opinion that he's simply unaware that he is a dog. He won't chase a ball or a stick to save his life...he might chase another dog who's chasing a ball but only if he feels like it. He's also the same dog who in the summertime will absolutely refuse to get into the car if the A/C isn't on and the car cooled (let me tell you, getting a 90 lb dog into a car when he has all four limbs spread eagle is not easy). All that being said, when I was pregnant, I took the dogs to the local dog park to play when a German Shepard who was merely trying to be playful jumped up on me. No harm done but out of the corner of my eye I saw a brown blur running full speed from the other end of the park. Bubba jumped and grabbed the German Shepard by the neck mid air and had him pinned to the ground before most of the people or other dogs knew what was going on. He didn't hurt the other dog. Bubba just held him down but nonetheless, the other owner wasn't too pleased and we promptly left the park. 90% of the time Bubba is the most boring dog you could ever meet...he should be the "alpha" of our two dogs-he's older, bigger, stronger and we've had him longer but unless it has to do with his blanket or sleep in general, he's good with letting Murray be top dog. That said, don't mess with his blanket...the biggest scuffle I saw them get into wasn't over food or anything you might expect, Murray stood on Bubba's blanket which caused it to fall off his face and expose (gasp!) the sunlight to his face. He's a great dog, he just doesn't know it.
Then, there's Murray...he's special in a whole other way. Murray is a rescue dog. Not to go too far into it, Murray was severely beaten, starved and finally abandoned. Joshua, my loving, kind, very animal-friendly husband couldn't pick up a ball cap or clothes hanger for months after we adopted Murray. For the first 3 weeks, Joshua could barely walk into a room without Murray getting so scared he peed (that was unpleasant). When we picked him up, he weighed 21 lbs and he wouldn't leave my side. We were told he was some sort of "small" yellow lab mix and he wouldn't be more than 35 lbs unless we overfed him. Yeah...they were wrong. Within a very short amount of time, Murray surpassed the 35 lb mark, his tail started to curl and his fur got fluffy...we now assume our 85 lb Murray is an Alaskan Husky/Yellow Lab mix (I guess they got the yellow lab part right). Murray still has some issues from his past...we can't raise our voices too much or rush him and he is NOT stranger friendly so we had concerns that when our son was born, Murray would have to find another family. Wow, were we wrong. From the moment our son came home, he had a best friend. The first time I realized how much Murray loved Benjamin, he was 3 weeks old and taking a nap in his crib. We co-slept at night so most of the time his crib was used for holding clean laundry when I didn't have the chance to put it away. This particular day, there was a small pile of clothes on one side and Benjamin slept on the other (the crib seemed so big then). I went to fix myself a snack and left Benjamin's door open as the monitor wasn't yet set up in his room. I heard a noise that was too soft to be a cry but not something I had ever heard before so I went to investigate and when I got to Benjamin's room, I found Murray laying on the pile of clothes next to my precious boy still fast asleep. The sound I had heard was Murray jumping into the crib. Not wanting to wake the baby but furious, terrified of what could have happened and totally surprised that Murray would even do it, I yelled (as much as one can yell while whispering) at Murray to get out. It was the first but certainly not the last time I would find Murray in the crib. For the next several months, if Benjamin was in his crib, his door was shut, whenever I would go in to get him, Murray was right there with me, often jumping into the crib. To this day, every morning Murray greets Benjamin and Benjamin loves it. Not only does Murray let Benjamin yell, pinch, poke, and rush at him, he really seems to enjoy it. The dog that was mine, who "put up" with my husband because he loved me has a new love and I don't blame him one bit.