There’s Something about a Tenderhearted Man

I guess you’d say my husband Rick is a man’s man. He drives a truck, works with his hands, and has always had big dogs–Labradors–dogs that serve a purpose–never a little frou-frou dog.

Katie, our 31-year-old daughter, went through some life changes this year. She remarried, became a stepmom, and their house is on the market.

A few weeks ago her husband, a police officer, began training a new dog for the K-9 department–a German Shepherd who just so happens to be an alpha dog.

And Katie has an itty bitty Morkie named Ellie. 

(Morkie = Yorkie plus Maltese)

Ellie’s scrappy and determined, and she’s also smart. Every time the new dog came near her, Ellie trembled and hid behind the furniture.

We’ve kept Ellie a few times over the years. Each time Katie picked her up, Rick said, “If Smelly ever needs a new home, I want her. I love those little black eyes”

I thought he was kidding until two weeks ago when Katie made a really hard decision–

To let Ellie come live with us.

For now, she’s ours.

Or rather, she’s Rick’s.

Katie’s house, homecoming day.

“Here. I”ll hold her,” I said on the way home.

“She’s fine. I’ve got her.”

I fell in love all over again. 

Laid-back Clyde said, “Come in, Ellie. Everyone’s welcomed here.”

Ellie found her spot at  porch parties.

According to the Great Dogs website, “Morkies are lapdogs to the core and try to please their owners.”

But Ellie doesn’t have to work to please Rick.

He fell in love the first time he saw her.

Keep your heart open. 

Sometimes love strikes unexpectedly like a summer storm.

A 30-second video. Ellie’s checking out her new home. You’ll hear one of our roosters welcoming her. 🙂

If you can’t see the video, click here. 

Have you ever fallen in love in an instant?

What is it about a tenderhearted man? 

Big dogs or little dogs? 


Julie (and Rick) 🙂  


  1. So sweet, Julie. We had a German Shepherd for 13 glorious years, and do you know what? She was 125 pounds, and every pound of her was afraid of small dogs. She would run from them, and finally start barking at them. She was afraid of small children, too, until our girls came along …. xo

    • Julie says:

      Oh, Shelli! I’m sitting here smiling. I can just see it now….and Clyde is 100 pounds and does whatever Ellie tells him to.

      Thank you, my friend.

      P.S. I sure hope you and I get to meet one day!

  2. Awwww. She’s PRECIOUS. And I was right – similar story. Yes, I do love a tenderhearted man. So much so that we now have four dogs, two of them scruffy lap dogs. *sigh* Thank you for sharing Ellie’s story!

    • Julie says:

      Ah.Ah.Ah. Four dogs. Don’t even say it……..

      Today I take Ellie for her first grooming, something I’ve NEVER done–taken a lapdog for a haircut. This should be interesting, and by the way, I love your hat!

  3. Patricia Martin says:

    I love Yorkies! I love Yorkies and Pomerians as I am usually afraid of dogs (except for nice dogs). It is so nice for Clyde to have a little- literally- sister.((: Hope your daughter’s move is blessed. My parents have moved 16 or 17 times.(): Congratulations to the new member of the family!(((:

    • Julie says:

      See, Patricia!!! We have so much in common!!

      Clyde is sooo sweet to his tiny little sister. I love watching them together. She’s so barky (and bossy!) but he doesn’t mind. He’s so gentle. 🙂

      Can’t believe y’all have moved that many times. Wow… I bet you make friends so easily.

      Thanks, my friend. Hugs from Ellie!

  4. Michelle Vancil says:

    My husband, Mark, loves all animals. He’s had everything from a tarantula to snakes; but what touches his heart most is cats. We have 3 of our own: a Savannah, Bengal, and Manx. You’d think this would satisfy his nurturing side but he takes on neighborhood strays, too. I call Mark the “cat whisperer”, as he has been able to tame any feral cat who stays around our area. This can be heartbreaking, too. One feral female he tamed became pregnant. She was too small framed to handle it. We found one dead baby delivered under our rose bushes. Later, Mark came bursting in the house with tears in his eyes…the cat had lost the rest of her babies, but couldn’t deliver them. When we crouched down near her, we could see maggots surrounding her nether region and knew she wasn’t going to make it. We tried to coax her to us so we could take her to the vet, but she ran off and we never saw her again. That one still haunts me.

    Mr. Whiskers came next. Oh, how he loved Mark! He’d be in the driveway, waiting, or would run after Mark when he walked across the yard to visit his parents (who live next door). Whiskers would remain outside of Mom and Dad’s house until Mark came out of the house. One day, Mark entered through the front door, and exited the back. Whiskers didn’t see him leave, and remained in their front yard, patiently waiting. Mark even built a raised cat house for Whiskers; complete with a window, back escape door, and a dog house heater. Whiskers was the king of his castle for one season. He became ill the next spring. Mark moved his house into our garage and treated him with antibiotics from the vet, but unfortunately, Whiskers had feline leukemia and passed away in front of our eyes last year. Mark still hasn’t gotten over him, but it doesn’t stop him from feeding 2 more strays that come to our door several times a day. The labor of love goes on.

    • Julie says:

      Michelle. Michelle….

      What a man, you have. I’m tearing up right now. His heart can hold so much love (and pain because to love a lot we will be hurt a lot).

      I’m so very sorry about Whiskers. So sorry.

      I’ll have to read this comment to my mother–who swears there’s an animal-lover gene that some people are born with. She has it. Sounds like Mark does too.


  5. Anna Haney says:

    I loved this!
    Don is a tall man—not unlike Hoss Cartwright. He has a deep voice and often folks who don’t know him sometimes mistakenly think he’s angry because he has this deep, serious voice. But his gentle side comes out when he’s caring for his mom.
    She is nearly 91 and he takes such great care of her.
    While Don is not as big a dog person as I am, he is very patient with me when I have my dog moments.
    Thank you for this sweet story!
    Rick is a keeper indeed!

    • Julie says:

      I know–I’ve seen pics of your hubby. He IS sooo tall. 🙂

      I love hearing about how tender his heart is with his mom. And you know what they say–if a man is kind to his mom, he’ll be kind to his wife.

      What a Dear Man Your Don is!


  6. Shelley Elaine says:

    Yes!!! My husband’s tender heart was one of the very first things that attracted me to him…he does like big dogs but it still melts my heart when he comes through the door at the end of the day holding my little bitty chihuahua. LOVED the pictures AND the video AND the post! Sounds like Katie and Ellie, both, hit the jackpot 😉

    • Julie says:

      Shelley, I don’t know what it is, but women are attracted to kindness in men (maybe more than looks?)

      Ohhh, I can see your hubby now, though I’ve never met him, but I can see him walking in saying, “Where’s my dog?” 🙂

      Thank you, my friend, for understanding.

  7. Jan says:

    : )

  8. I think Ellie is in love with Clyde! I bet they’ll snuggle together. It’s so wonderful that you brought her into your home so she won’t have to be afraid (and possibly injured) by the dominant dog. Clyde is a good-hearted soul! And Katie can come visit her any time, so that’s great for her. She’s just adorable!

    • Julie says:

      You’re exactly right, Dr. Frezon. 🙂 🙂

      Clyde would welcome ANYONE and especially any animal. If another dog barks at him, he runs the other way. Sooo sweet.

      Yes, I’ve already found Clyde and Ellie laying side by side.

      Love you! Love your tender heart too!

  9. Melinda says:

    oh, Julie, God bless your husband. I know that was a difficult decision for Katie but SO glad that Ellie was able to come and live with you guys. I have a tender hearted hubby as well. I bought myself a mini aussie for Christmas this past year and he loves when daddy comes home. Billy talks to him and loves on him and invites him in the bed. Mean mommy has to pick the baby up and put him in his crate to sleep. We have a tall bed and I’m afraid he’ll fall off during the night and get hurt. Can’t wait to have lunch next month!!

    • Julie says:

      I’m laughing, Melinda. Can’t wait to talk to you IN PERSON about all of this. We have so much catching up to do!!!!

      Bet our men would really hit it off!!


  10. Elaine says:

    We have always had big dogs, a poodle mix, an old English sheepdog, and a Samoyed. We went 8 years without a dog, we had retired and our Samoyed was the love of our life, when she passed we said no more dogs. Then I started looking at dog that needed a forever home or rescuing. I saw Mingo in the newspaper and went down to see him at the local pet supermarket, my husband immediately picked him up and that was that. I saw them bond from the first moment, we renamed him Bingo, he is very active and Mingo seemed like a girls name. We love him to pieces but he really is just my husband’s dog. I just am needed when he wants food, go for the evening walk. My husband takes him for the morning walk. Everyone in our neighborhood knows Bingo. We live in a neighborhood where everyone has at least one dog. Almost all of them are adopted from somewhere. When daddy and Bingo go in the car he gets to ride in daddy;s lap, mommy won’t let him do that, mean mommy.

    • Julie says:

      Oh, Elaine. I SO understand. And isn’t it fascinating how dogs prefer one person?

      And another thing. You’d decided no more dogs. Isn’t that the way life goes? We think, that hurt so much, I won’t risk loving again. And then the magic happens all over, and we fall in love.

      Love the part about riding in the car. 🙂 🙂 🙂 And the name Bingo!

      Thank you for commenting! You understand~~~~

  11. marci says:

    How wonderful, and of course Clyde already knew Ellie, so you knew they got along. Yes, it is nice to have a tenderhearted man, and I truly understand– as others here also can! How blessed the world is with such men! How nice that you could take Ellie, and provide a home for her. She already knew Rick and you and already knew that she was loved., and she was home. And your daughter can still see her.

    My husband is like your Rick. He works with his hands, yet he has open arms when it comes to animals, most of which just showed up, except for the dogs, and we have done some dog rescues.

    It seems from these posts that a lot of us are blessed with Tenderhearted husbands, who care for and love animals.

    I also understand Michelle Vancil’s share, as we have saved, or tried to save cats, feral cats. We have had orphaned kittens,. Sometimes we can save them but sadly there are times we can’t. It is always heart breaking when we lose any of them, kitten or grown. We do what we can, and I try to take comfort in that even if they didn’t make it that we gave them some comfort, and there life was better and perhaps a little longer than it would have been.. and of course they have blessed us, .. sometimes for a short time, and some times for a long time.

    God Bless,

    • Julie says:

      Marci’a, surely God uses all of this love to tenderize our hearts. And I’m so grateful we’re married to softhearted men.

      Oh, yes. Clyde is nice to everybody and he avoids conflict. He runs from barking dogs. Never picks fights. I knew he’d be fine with another dog!

      LOVE that spot in your heart that cares for God’s creatures.


      • marci says:

        Thank you dear Julie, I like that– what you said, God uses all of this love to tenderize our hearts.
        I think St. Fransis was on the right track! Maybe it is the St. Fransis gene the Lord has blessed them with – and us likewise? just a thought. When Miranda was little I use to call her my St. Francis child. Glad your mom has it too. I can’t claim to have it, but I help when and where I can

  12. Becky Boyd says:

    Julie, What a great ending to a great story. I would have to do the same thing if Candice ever had to get rid of her little Yorkie (Baylee, that looks like a twin to Ellie). I’m sorry to hear they are having to move as well. I pray that God will be with them thru all of these difficult transitions.

    • Julie says:

      Oh, Becky, I just love Baylee!! Katie told me about her when Candice got her! And Ellie and Baylee have had play dates!

      The move is a good thing. Everything seems to be going quickly too–they already have a contract on their house!


  13. This is so sweet Your husband seems to have such a kind, and sweet heart like mine! I am so glad Ellie has a great new home, she looks happy.
    I enjoy coming here to read your posts, you have such writing talent, as your Mother did> I wish she had a blog, too, she has always inspired me, as a young wife and mother, I could hardly wait for a new book from her.And now I am being blessed and enjoying your writings,

    • Julie says:

      Hey Sue….so kind of you to say. Mother has just recently learned to use her new phone, and iPhone, but she says no computer. Ever. And no iPad.

      I can send her links through text messages, so she can read things online, but unless God performs a miracle, I don’t think she’ll ever be blogging. The two of us blogged together for a while for Guideposts though–that was fun!

      Thanks for your encouraging words, my friend.

      So much love to you~~

  14. smiling from ear to ear…love Ellie and love that she’s wiggled her cute little self into your hearts xo

    • Julie says:

      Thanks, Rob. And I’ll be pestering you with tons of little dog questions, I’m sure!

  15. Ahh, yes, the power of a man’s heart and the love for a little dog. There’s something so tender when our husbands hold them, how the little furry body rests against their heart and soul and they nurture one another. It’s love in the eyes…in both of them…that makes me adore them all the more. Enjoy!

    • Julie says:

      Thank you, B.J.

      I just can’t believe how this dog melt’s my man’s heart. Sooo sweet. Makes me love him even more.

      I knew you’d understand~~~!!

  16. Sweet tears- such deep and abiding love. Our little fur-people, that become such integral parts of our family and our lives. So glad for both of you, and sweet Ellie too!

  17. Aw. What a sweetheart. Sorry for her that she have to relocate because of a new dog in their house but glad that she’s in the right hands.

  18. She’s precious. You’re all three made for each other…just like us and our Shih-poo, Chloe. We’re all blessed to have each other.

  19. Thank you, Vonda. At first I thought she was a Shih-poo. At least she’s got some Shih n her. And I never knew we were little dog people!

    Hugs to love to you this afternoon from humid GA.

  20. My precious husband is also has a tender heart…he rescued a kitten that he adores. Ellie and Clyde are soo cute! I love your posts!

  21. A few months ago, I decided to adopt a little breed morkie. Most of my friends and family said that, this really affordable and precious mix breed. But as a new dog mom, I don’t know how to train this little breed about the potty train, feeding, adjust or playing with other breeds. Is it important to train this little breed with profession trainer or it easy train at home?

    • That’s a really good question, Ivana. When we got Ellie, she was an adult, completely trained. Maybe you could check with a breeder? Or your veterinarian? I guess we had it easy.Little dogs are waaaaay different than big ones. She does NOT like to be left home alone. Well, she has Clyde, our Lab, but he doesn’t count.



  1. […] My son-in-law’s a police officer who’s training a German shepherd. He and my daughter thought Ellie’d be safer with us. […]

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