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Confessions of a crazed dog lover Kate Davies | Sat, Oct 30 2010 12:00 PM

I am a crazy dog lady.

My friends gently discourage me from answering to this title, but the fact of the matter is that I have five dogs. What else could I be?

When I tell people that I have as many dogs as I do, they favor me with a look that is usually reserved for individuals who wear their pants on backwards in public, or use painted macramŽ as a fashion accessory. But I am fine with who I am: there are much worse things I could be called.

From the day I was born in England in 1978, I grew up with dogs - at any given time we had a minimum of two and a maximum of four dogs in the house. What can I say? I'm an overachiever.

My family generally owned Irish Setters. For those of you not familiar with the breed, they are very sweet dogs who are intellectually challenged and live mostly from synapse to synapse.

Due to their presence in my life, I grew up with a deep love of, and respect for animals in general and dogs in particular.

Dogs have an uncanny ability of showing us how to be more humane if we watch them. Ironic, really.

When I moved to the United States I couldn't imagine living in a house without a dog. So before I even started contacting the gas company or fixing the plumbing, I was looking for a dog. I researched all the local animal shelters and went to meet as many dogs as my time would allow.

I ended up falling in love with a pit bull whose shelter name was Rowdy. I took him home, renamed him Boscoe, and he quickly became the very center of my existence.

He taught me the joys of separation anxiety (by chewing up my parquet flooring with single-minded dedication), and the technique of handling a dog who, on a walk, wanted nothing more than to employ me as a human kite.

Boscoe also taught me about breed prejudice. It took me some time to realize that people were having negative reactions to my dog, and not to my macramŽ necklaces.

Those reactions caused me to research the breed and ultimately establish my own dog rescue in 2005 - Pit Bull Rescue San Diego - which I was also president of until a few months ago when I resigned, as the emotional toll became too much for me.

Since adopting Boscoe, I have also adopted Mordecai, who was a 9-month-old abuse case (a pit bull/boxer mix, now 8 years old), Viola, who was slated to be euthanized at 5 weeks old because she looked like a pit bull (an American bulldog mix, now 4 years old), Darcy, who was used as a breeding machine and then abandoned when she was too old to produce puppies (a beagle, now 14 years old), and McDuff, who was horribly neglected (a rat terrier mix, now 12 years old).

I often insist that if it weren't for my dogs, I would have lost what few marbles remained to me a long time ago. Whilst they do have the incredible ability to drive me up the wall, they contrarily manage to keep me sane. Life without my dogs would be no life at all.

Davies' column appears during the last week of the month.

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