Dogs Before Dudes…..

In News by Kelley Gunter24 Comments

I am a dog lover.  Actually, to say I am a dog lover is the understatement of a lifetime.  I’m always going on about not letting anyone else define my pretty, but in my opinion, it doesn’t get any prettier than a dog.

Lilly-Putt snuggled in my bed

From left to right: Jingle Belle, Lilly-Putt, and Rocket Pop

Each morning when I wake up, I call mine up into my bed and give them morning snuggles.  This morning Rocket Pop, the baby and wild child of the group, was laying right beside me, Lilly-Putt, the oldest, was curled up against my back, and Jingle-Belle, Lilly’s younger sister, was laying across my legs.

As I looked into Rocket Pop’s eyes I wondered what goes on behind them.  Dogs don’t possess that apathy that humans are so capable of showing toward others.  I can tell you I have never walked into my house and had any of my dogs look up at me and not move, as if to say, “oh….it’s just you.”  In fact, when you walk through our back door, there is a mad rush of the herd to greet you.  Overwhelming?  Yes. Worth it?  Absolutely.

Beautiful Lilly

They don’t care that I’m OCD about my house and on the rare occasions that it’s a mess, they are oblivious to it. In fact, Rocket Pop will run through the house with sheer delight at the sight of rarely seen items on the floor.  He finds the unusual clutter overwhelmingly wonderful. He will grab a shoe, and rip through the kitchen at light speed, clearly rejoicing in his newly found treasure.  His joy is apparent as he pounces, jumps up, completes a 180 midair, tumbles to the floor, and finally puts front paws down, booty up—a clear sign of playtime.


Even more fun for my trio of hooligans is when they go downstairs to Alec ‘s room, which they consider a wonderful playground of bliss.  Rocket Pop gets so pumped that rather than run all of the stairs, halfway down, he launches his body wildly into the air, crashing onto the living room floor. Remaining completely oblivious to his disastrous landing, he steams full speed ahead into Alec’s domain, like a runaway freight train.  Of course, Lilly and Jingle Belle are trailing in hot pursuit, eyes sparkling with mischievous delight, tails wagging so quickly the entire back halves of their bodies are wiggling, as they enter this amazing buffet of their human brother’s life.

Lilly, usually finds a sock and sneaks away with it quickly, while Jingle Belle finds her moment of Zen trotting straight to Alec’s bed, jumping in and landing with a heavy flop. Rocket Pop quickly grabs the first thing he can and bounces around like a kid at Christmas. While he fears his sisters may steal it from him, he can’t help but flaunt it in their faces, like “na-na na-na boo-boo.”

Jingle Belle UGGS

Jingle Belle and her shredded bed

Lilly…..killer of Alec’s shoes

Lilly and Rocket Pop– BadDogs4Life

These three rapscallions are separated by two years each.  As puppies, they were cute and adorable, but when they were momentarily unsupervised, as Nonnie would say, it was like hell broke out for recess.  In spite of all my preventative measures, nothing escaped the plunder. Credit cards, window sills, arm chairs, tv remotes–literally nothing was safe.  This is how Jingle Belle earned her titles of “Killer of Uggs, Hater of the Color Pink, and The Destroyer of Window Sills.” She even shredded her own brand-new, puppy bed.

Never……not us……

But as all puppies do, they grew out of that unruly behavior, and became the wonderful dogs they are today.  These three have loved me through the darkest times of my life. Not only did they remain by my side, you couldn’t have drug them away from me.  I cried myself to sleep every night for months, and in those moments of despair, I was surrounded by three, amazingly loyal Rottweilers.

This makes for an interesting car ride

Rocket Pop yelling at everyone getting gas and quite proud after (below)

When we relocated, during one of many moving trips, we stopped for fuel.  The three of them in one car can be an adrenaline-filled adventure. Rocket Pop, as always, was excited to be going bye-bye, and in all his glory, had his head out the sunroof, barking at everyone the entire time I was pumping gas.

At our current house, Lilly lays right beside my tub during my bubble baths so that she can keep an eye on the door.  Rocket Pop and Jingle Belle lay right outside of the bathroom protecting and watching—a job they take seriously.  As loving as they are, without a doubt, they will let someone know quickly, “this is our family and make no mistake, we will lose our lives to protect theirs.” In those moments, when they have felt a threat, I have been in awe of their protective and fearless instincts. 

Jingle Belle in all her glory



Whether the threat was real or not, they acted within their nature.  On one occasion, the UPS man rang the doorbell and Jingle Belle perceived this as a threat.  All 180 pounds of her slammed against that door, sending the stained-glass window onto the front porch, and the UPS man running for his truck. The alarm went off, ADT was called, and the police were dispatched.  They arrived to find Jingle Belle innocently sticking her head out the oval hole that remained in the door, quite pleased with her handy work.

When Alec was a little boy we adopted a Rottie named Thor.  Thor was the epitome of BEST. DOG. EVER. We rescued a Rottie pup, and a few months and several vet bills later, we had nursed our little Thor back to health and he became known as our “Free-to-good-home-$3500-Rott.”

Alec was 10 here….sleeping with Thor

I would never change a thing.  Thor was an amazing dog.  I don’t have words that can adequately describe the joy and love he brought into our lives. He loved bath time at our house and it was a true battle to keep him out of the tub.  He would try to climb in and if you gave him the chance, he would just launch himself into the water with you.  Alec, being a little boy at the time, loved it!

My parents lived next door and my mom had been very ill and we called 911. I had run inside to grab my purse when the paramedics knocked on the back door and said they had a problem.  I walked out and looked into the ambulance to find Thor, sitting in the back of the ambulance beside my mom, refusing to leave her side.  Later we laughed as my mom told us that the paramedics asked her how to get her dog out of the ambulance and mom replied, “he’s not my dog.”

But he loved her like he was her dog.

Thor doing his cannonball


Thor critiquing my cannonball

Thor taking a rest with his boy

Alec and Thor….inseparable

Thor absolutely loved the pool at our house.  He would stay in that pool for hours, swimming in circles, climbing out the steps, running along the side, and jumping back in repeatedly.  We called him the “Cannonball King.”  Alec and his friends taught him to stand up on his hind legs, front paws against the wall, and let them search him for weapons.  They loved patting him down and he would stand there patiently grinning from ear to ear while they did it.  He loved Alec and was always by his side, even if he had to escape to accomplish it.  One time he finagled his way out of our fenced-in yard and ran to Alec’s elementary school behind our house.  He was having a grand time at recess with all of the kids until the janitor brought him home.

Alec and Thor at the vet

Alec and Thor

Me and my boy, Thor

Thor helped Alec through elementary, junior high, and high school.  His whiskers were getting gray, but he still swam like a champ and he even had his own facebook page.   I noticed, though, that he started to act like he didn’t feel well and I worried he might be in pain.  During a late-night trip to the vet, I was told that our beautiful Thor was filled with cancer.  He was in so much pain and we just had no choice but to put him to sleep.  Alec, however, was at a college party and there was no way I was not letting him have a chance to say goodbye to his lifelong best friend.

Thor Duck Lips, Smile, and Fierce Pose

I took Thor home with me.  We climbed into my bed and I held him.  I thought of all the times we had played, swam, and done cannonballs together.  I remembered all the times I had heard him do his classic, “ooof” and how he was so amazing he could pose for a selfie with me and do a “fierce” or a “smile” pose.  Mostly, though, I thought of all the times he laid beside me on the couch and just loved me.  I thought of how deeply I loved him and how my life would never be the same without him.

As soon as Alec returned, he came straight to my room to see his dog.  I started crying and immediately Alec knew.  He walked over to the bed, tears streaming down his face, and held his very best friend in his arms.  In spite of all the pain meds Thor was on, I felt his tail wagging against me as the boy he had loved for his entire life, kissed his face.

Thor getting a laser treatment

So handsome

The next morning, we drove to the vet.  I think the hardest thing I’ve ever done was ask Thor if he wanted to go bye-bye.  He always associated bye-bye as such a positive, exciting thing.  On the ride to the vet I watched him in the rearview mirror.  He was so stoic as he sat there looking out the window.  It was as if he knew his time here was almost done.

When we got to the vet, they took us to a private room, where we sat on mats and were able to love on Thor as long as we wanted.  Finally, after almost two hours, I knew we had to do the right thing.  I was sitting on the floor and holding my beautiful Thor between my legs.  Alec sat diagonally behind me.  We told Thor how much we loved him, and how very much we would miss him.  He gave us our licks and kisses, but I could tell he was tired and ready to rest.

As the vet gave him the injection that would send him across the rainbow bridge, Thor reached his neck and head over my right leg, and looked up into Alec’s eyes.  With the last beat of his heart and the last breath in his body, he rested his beautiful head on the leg of the boy he had loved his entire life and closed his eyes forever.


Thor Gunter…… In honor of a beautiful soul. You will never be forgotten

Some moments are unforgettable.  As heartbreaking as it was, it perfectly illustrated the most beautiful and powerful force in the world–love.  Genuine love needs no words.  It is conveyed in an action, a behavior, and yes, a wag of the tail. Our hearts were broken that day, but that pain was indicative of the monumental place he had in our lives. We were blessed to have been given such a beautiful soul to grace our presence for a decade and we would do it again, and again, and again.



  1. Thank you for sharing and taking us on your journey by illustrating what unconditional love is displayed by our pets.

    The impact of losing our family pet member’s carries so many emotions but great moment and memories.

    1. Author

      thank you for your wonderful comment. Our pets are members of our family. We love them just the same. I am happy that you liked the post and the pics.

  2. I loved this! This brought back memories, not only of our “best dog ever”, another Thor, but also when I taught school-one of my lessons in a relationships course was on the qualities of friendship and students had to write a paper about one of their “friends” evaluating the relationship on each of the traits. By far and away, THE best paper was the one where the girl wrote about her dog. I would give you an A++ if you had written this for that class. <3

  3. This reminded me of when my Thor died all those years ago. May they both Rest In Peace…

    1. Author

      Lol……You’re the first person to comment about that shirt….. lol I got it from one of those facebook ads that roll through your news feed. If you go to google and search it, you will find it lol

  4. This is so painful to read, you are way stronger than I. I have a boxer whose name is Ms. Bella, she is 13 years old and has had cancer four times, each time I insist they try to remove it and each time we pray it does not come back. I also have my Spikey Joe he is my best friend, my heart and my 3rd child. Part Boxer and Part Rottweiler due to an accident between neighbors, he weighed in at 5lbs when I got him and was far to young to be rehomed. I nurtured him and gave him to Ms. Bella to raise. He now thinks she is his mother I think. He is twice her size and she is his boss. Round these two out with my granddog Ms. Daisy who is also a boxer and grandma babysits often. She also thinks Ms. Bella is her mama, she was a rescue at 6wks. Spikey Joe has been an angel since he came into this house and the only issue he seems to have is he whines for what he wants. He never has torn anything up. I don’t know how to even think about losing any of them. I won’t think about it. This made me cry just reading it.

  5. That was beautiful Kelly.
    Moved me to tears.
    I can relate with each and every word.
    As always, much L/R

  6. This made me cry , first sadness then joy . I’ve known this love too. It’s the best & the worst . Rest Thor & my chuckie & puppy ( both cats ) thank you Kelley for sharing this amazing, beautiful, and very heart felt story . ♡

  7. Your story of Thor brought tears to my eyes! Dogs truly are a mans best friend!

  8. LOVE it Kelley, Thank you for sharing your story of your Pups. Rest in Peace Thor, he will be waiting with his tale wagging for you at the Rainbow Bridge. xoox

  9. Although I never had my own dog, I can relate to the unconditional love you had with your dog who was put to sleep. My mom and dad were both on machines as I had to make that horrific decision along with my siblings. I always try to think of our great life growing up. Hugs to you and thanks for sharing your warm love story❤️

  10. Now you have me crying, i am a big dog lover, i had to put a puppy of mine down 2 yrs ago after havo g her for 16 yrs. My mom hot her when she came to live with me and passed away in my jome in hospice cars, so when our furbaby wrinkles left us it was the ladt living tbi g of moms. I e joy your blogs so much and look forwatd to them. Thank you do much.

  11. I’m ugly crying. Dogs are such wonderful creatures. I currently have 5. I couldn’t imagine my life without them!

  12. Thor and Spark dog were made for your family. Never were there more perfectly matched personalities. The joy that they both would show would radiate and light up an entire room! I have to believe that our fur babies are at times more of a blessing than some people we encounter.
    Much love today and every day my dear!!! ?

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