Clear As Mud

This is the life (with dogs)

From the moment we brought our dogs home there have been so many questions.

Why did you get dogs?

Are they a lot to manage?

Is it harder than you expected?

Do your kids like them?

What were you thinking?

You get the idea 🙂 

Hopefully, this will be the tell-all you’re looking for, and I do a good job answering all your burning questions.

We started talking about getting a dog about four years ago. Our son Menny was struggling with significant behavioral challenges and one of many ideas that we considered was getting a dog, which we felt could really help. My husband and I did not grow up with any pets, it was a stretch for us, but we started to warm to the idea. Three years ago, we put down a deposit for an Aussie-doodle. As it got closer to the time, and we started learning more about the actualities of a puppy and its training, we backed out. The kids were a lot younger, life was a lot, and when I thought about adding a puppy to the mix, I would panic. The anxiety around the “puppy”, was a clear sign that it wasn’t the right thing to do at that time. 

Bozeman is a literal dog paradise. Most people have at least one dog, and dogs have more rights than people around here. Kidding, but only sorta 🙂 We have a lot of people to consult with and we decided that if we were to get a dog, it would need to be an adult dog. Finding a stable adult dog isn’t easy. We had our eyes and ears open, but nothing ever panned out. As time passed, the thought of ever getting a dog seemed to become a distant memory.

This past March we got a call from a friend of ours, Pam, she knew of two golden doodles that needed a home. A woman in town lost her husband, suddenly, and she’s moving out of state and couldn’t take her 8-year-old dogs with her. Pam knew that at one point we were looking and wanted to know if we were interested. It came out of left field for us, like I said we kinda gave up on the idea. It sounded exciting and scary, especially because these dogs couldn’t be separated, so it was two or none. A part of me wanted to pretend that I never heard of these dogs, like life was complicated enough, but I couldn’t get it out of my head. I really felt like G-d puts thing in your path at exactly the right time. It was hard to deny. The shul moved out of our house after fourteen years. The mudroom was ready. Dogs would not have been a possibility without that space. When I reflect, I’m like “of course nothing panned out before”. Not sure why sometimes I still question G-d’s plan.  Anyway, we can delve into that another time. 

We took our time visiting the dog over a 6-week time period. Obviously, we fell in love with them and a few days after Passover we brought them home.

Peety and Ezzy have been with us for a few months now and here are my thoughts so far.

Dogs are amazing 

Dogs are a pain 

The kids love them

Re-homing dogs is very similar to getting puppies 

I need to let go of perfection

I learn something new everyday

I was totally wrong about which of the kids it would impact the most 

I do not like the combination of dogs and rain

I love them 

Kids and dogs go together like cookies and milk

2 dogs = lots of poop 

In conclusion: Some days getting dogs is the best decision we ever made, and some days it’s the worst decision we ever made. Guess what? both sentiments co-exist happily.  How many of us feel this way about our kids? I know scandalous, lol, don’t worry I am not comparing dogs to kids, I just want to propose the idea that these contradictions are everywhere in our lives. It makes sense. It’s normal. Feeling them doesn’t make you a bad person, just a human. When I have a day that the dogs are driving me crazy, it doesn’t mean I regret my decision, it just means I’m having a hard day, and yup there are plenty of those. 

Are there many people that don’t understand why we do the things we do, or make the decisions we make? Yes! Plenty! Are we the recipient of comments and “jokes”? Absolutely! It’s ok, I am used to it and even understand it. Many choices I have made for our family are different and may make people feel uncomfortable. 

When I watch my kids develop their relationship with these furry creatures, it melts my heart. When I see them take on responsibilities and care for others, I’m filled with a sense of accomplishment. For me that’s worth it, at least while I write this 🙂

I’m proud of us. This was so beyond our comfort zone; this is beyond our comfort zone.  Guess what? that’s where the magic happens. While I am not advocating for everyone to bring dogs into their lives, I am absolutely advocating for you to do something that scares the heck out of you and wait for the magic, its coming!


Noah has cooked in a variety of kitchens and has studied many different cuisines, but his favorite meals to prepare are the ones that make his guests smile. Be it Thai, Italian, Caribbean or Latin, there is always a fun surprise waiting for you at meal time. Noah welcomes special requests and guests in his kitchen! Just stop by and say hi.

Yocheved Sidof is a social entrepreneur, psycho-mystical depth work facilitator, writer, educator, speaker, and activist. After a decade as a filmmaker and photographer, she founded Lamplighters Yeshivah, a grassroots, internationally acclaimed, progressive Chassidic Montessori school. Yocheved builds communities with healing at the center. Most recently, she founded Ohm’ek, an intentional collective focusing on meditation, embodied mysticism, and micro-retreats.

A lifelong learner, she’s completed extensive training in adaptive leadership, therapeutic coaching, and systemic change. She is currently in a two-year intensive training with Thomas Hubl, studying psycho-somatic-mystical models of healing personal, collective, and ancestral trauma. She also writes, consults, works 1:1 with clients, facilitates group transformational work, and regularly teaches Jewish spiritual studies.

Yocheved sits on boards supporting innovations in mental health awareness and self-transformation. She has studied Jewish mysticism and meditation extensively, including with Rav Katz since 2018, completing Elevation Teacher Training and sitting on his advisory board for over a year.

Yocheved, her husband, and five children live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Come say “Hi!” if you’re in the neighborhood.