Yes, They’re ALL Mine


Never in my life have I looked at a woman with more than one child and asked, “Are they all yours?”

But, no one thinks twice about asking, “Are they all yours?” when I walk the Horde.

Living in an HOA with CC&Rs that say homeowners can only have two pets, three of my dogs are labeled ESAs (Emotional Support Animals) and are, therefore, protected by the Federal Fair Housing Act of 1973.

Usually, Faith, the Berner, walks on a leash attached to my waist. Booker T. Washington walks on a long lead. Gus trots right by my heel. And, now, Betty White sits in my arms or sits in the pup buggy. They are always well mannered.


Yesterday, the new neighbor next door was in her garage. She moved in over a month ago, but I had never seen her.

I waved and asked, “Are you my new neighbor?”

She met me in the driveway, introduced herself, looked at the dogs and asked, “Are they all yours?”

With the Hooker Horde, I am quick to assess a person’s reaction to the dogs. Most of the time, I respond with “Gus lived in a puppy mill for three years,” or, “Betty White is doing hospice with me.” That distracts my audience and gives me time to make a clean getaway.


When Meg asked, I just wasn’t feeling it. I replied, “Yes. Yes, they are ALL mine.”

She said, “I’ve never heard them.”

I smiled.

My dogs are quiet. They do not bark unless someone comes to the door.

So, yes.

Yes, they are all mine. In the words of Sister Sledge, “We are family.”

About Julie Hooker

I'm a teacher, writer, and editor. In addition, I'm an animal rescuer, yogi, and friend.
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