modern_family

Coming Out and New Direction for Dog Lovers

modern_family
My modern family

Today I am coming clean and coming out. It’s Wordless Wednesday in the pet blogging sphere, but for some it might be Speechless Wednesday. For me, this is long overdue.

But wait, there’s a bonus: Fidose of Reality is undergoing a slight makeover with the content we share. We’ll always be blogging about dogs – that’s our heart and soul.

I’ve been blogging for close to 4 years now and this is my passion, my calling, my penchant, and indeed my heart beats dog. In those four years, my life has also changed dramatically—I set my sights on a dream, put an action plan to it, and here I am. Dreams can come true and I continue to achieve them and then add more to the list.

Let me tell you a little story: When I first walked into the BlogPaws pet blogging conference in 2010, my family went along with me. I am one of those people who travels everywhere with her family. It works for us: We live together, love together, travel together, and thrive because of it.  Twenty years and proud of it.

BlogPawsI walked around the conference telling everyone whom I introduced to my family member, Darlene, that she was my sister. And I felt like such a fraud. Here I was, finally embracing my dreams, taking a major leap forward. Hell, I was the girl who went back to college full time as an adult, supported by my family member, taking strides and moving forward. Yet here I was introducing Darlene as my sister. So what’s the big deal?

Darlene is my wife of 20 years.

cocker_spaniel
She is a dog lover, too!

Some say partner, I prefer wife. What the law does not give us, we provide ourselves. We exchanged vows in 1993, I legally changed my last name close to a decade ago, and in every way, shape, and form we are a married couple. We have been there through the health crises, the family issues, the raising of dogs, the crossing of a dog to the rainbow bridge, and all the high highs and loving celebrations. She is my life. And I told people she was my sister. I didn’t want to rock a boat, incite someone to not like me or judge me, and quite possibly I was afraid of what others might say or do.

No more.

I’ve met so many amazing people in my journey as a pet blogger/writer and being immersed in a career in the pet industry. Without the love, support, and encouragement of my wife, I can honestly say I do not know where I’d be. And I know I am not alone in feeling this way. Others have the love and support of a spouse and so do I. I don’t like labels and they really do belong on soup cans. So we are just a married couple, truly more in love with each passing year than I ever could have imagined. She is my dream come true and kitschy as it sounds, she completes me.

This leads me to where I am going with the next phase of my dog blogging life.

happy
I am oh so happy. It is what it is. Happiness is mine.

Fidose of Reality is a canine-centric online magazine dog blog where dog lovers of the highest order unite.™ This will never change. We’re just upping the bar and become more inclusive and alternative in our focus.

Alternative in a really good, focused, special, and “my heart beats dog,” does yours kind of way.

I am tired of reading the same story told 15 different ways online. This is where Fidose of Reality’s roots are grounded: being real, being unique, and being a place for dog parents to find their home.

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So here’s the plan:

Fidose of Reality will evolve into an alternative living magazine-style dog blog if your heart beats dog. We will continue to unite dog lovers of the highest order. Do any of the following apply to you?

  • You take your dog on vacation and/or travel with your dog
  • You would go without so your dog can have what he or she needs
  • You are someone who identifies as L, G, B, or T and has a dog
  • You like the idea that “dogs are the new kids”
  • Pet fashion is fun for you as long as the dog is happy about wearing the clothes
  • You like to read about off-the-beaten path dog news and information that is reality based and provides actionable, doable things for pet parents
  • You think the idea of a dog wedding for a fundraiser is way cool
dog_travel
Alternative, yes, dog lover: absolutely

If you answered yes to one or more of these things, then welcome home. You are probably considered alternative by someone, somewhere, and we embrace that. Alternative living is the new norm. I’ve colored outside the lines for as long as I can remember. I certainly don’t plan to change.

We’re alternative but extraordinary. Fidose of Reality is all about extraordinary dog lovers.

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101 Comments

  1. OMG!! You have me crying! Thank you for sharing your love, life & wife with us. I hope you know I find this to be a joyous occasion!! Taking that step and letting the world know who you are is so powerful… I am so inspired by you.

    1. That means so much to me, Christine and Riley. It feels good stepping into the light. Have a wonderful week and thanks for your kind words.

  2. Fidose, good for you!!!!

    Here is my response.

    You take your dog on vacation and/or travel with your dog.

    Of course. I can’t leave my babies.

    You would go without so your dog can have what he or she needs

    Of course. I can’t leave my babies hungry.

    You are someone who identifies as L, G, B, or T and has a dog

    No, but I support all that do.

    You like the idea that “dogs are the new kids”

    Yes, dogs are the new kids. (I also like cats!)

    Pet fashion is fun for you as long as the dog is happy about wearing the clothes

    Haha, I don’t care if they are happy. They are never happy wearing clothes but I think it’s cute. . .Maybe I am a bad person!!!

    You like to read about off-the-beaten path dog news and information that is reality based and provides actionable, doable things for pet parents

    Yes!!! Of course, if there is ever an article about my pets enjoying wearing outfits, I will definitely read it!

    You think the idea of a dog wedding for a fundraiser is way cool

    I really do think this is a fantastic idea!!!

    Much love Fidose!!!

  3. Damn! You go, girl(s)!!! Good for you for stepping into your power. The truth is stronger than anything. I once lamented that my family didn’t have one of those zany relatives who believed in shamans, auras, holistic medicine, or anything “woo woo.” “But they do, Emmy,” said my friend. “It’s you.” I’m alternative, you’re alternative, wouldn’t you like to be alternative, too? BOL! *virtual hugs*

  4. you are more than just “coming out” you are busting out! good for you.
    firstly, congratulations on 20 years! that’s awesome. secondly, i’m sorry that you felt you had to keep this part of your life a secret. i’m glad you feel safe enough to share your “secret” with us. don’t worry, we’ve got your back.
    you know what they say … “rainbow is the new black”. BOL
    xoxo, bailey unleashed

  5. Our social circle involves people in all types of relationships, married, unmarried, same sex and not, Christian and agnostic, democrats and republicans — all kinds — and what we know is true: We all want the same things. Happiness, roof over our heads, food on the table, peace and good health. We are absolutely elated for your happiness and want you to know that you are no different – we are all people who love dogs who happen to share our lives with husbands, wives, friends and partners, that support our cause. Sending you, your dog and your wife a great big chihuahua (and people) {hug} – WOOF!

  6. I think this is the best blog post ever…ever. I’m so happy to be witness to this step in your life; I feel honored. It means a lot to me and other readers, I’m certain, that you would share your life with us. Thank you, very touching and I’m inspired.

  7. Carol, that’s awesome!! First..you don’t look old enough to have been with anybody for 20 years. LOL But good for you guys!! I can answer yes to some of your questions for sure. Especially since we travel full time, and obviously with the dogs. These guys are our kids. Our kids are all adults, and now we have furry ones. I am excited to meet you at blog paws this May.

  8. Good for you! Who cares who your partner is, male, female, or a dog, if you are happy and spend your life with that being, that is what counts. What others think is their own problem. I bet you feel better now too! Mom just said to us on our walk this morning that she has truly become that crazy dog lady she never wanted to be, but she doesn’t care. There was a dead white squirrel in the middle of the path, she had all three of us on leashes and we all wanted it, she screamed and made a scene, no one touched it because of what she was doing and that is when she came to her realization. We are her family and will always be reading your blog, even when it changes a bit. Being you is what makes a blog special. We try not to go with the crowd and just post what we want to post most of the time, but everyone needs to do what makes them happiest and the blog will succeed.

  9. Congratulations!You have a fantastic blog and honesty with your readers can only make it better.:).Your time is now!Best wishes for another 20 years+ for you and your beautiful family.
    Beauregard and I both just love Dexter!

  10. Carol,
    What a release! I say ‘Yay for you!’ You’re stepping into yourself and the power of who you are. I wonder why these things really matter so much… wouldn’t it be great if EVERYONE had the heart of a dog? Race, color, ethnic background, education, pay scale, gender, sexual preference, you name it, wouldn’t matter. We’d all just be happy to BE and totally accept each other exactly as we are.

  11. Good for you! I had been curious, but decided it wasn’t my place to ask. Your life is your own, and you deserve to live it however you want.

    Christie

  12. Already knew the sister thing wasn’t true. Didn’t see a resemblance in you two and the feeling of love you had for each other was not a sister thing. Will I still love both of you? I did from the start and feelings don’t change. What matters to the Allen girls is that you are happy. We don’t judge people by race, what they have or who they marry. Its what is in their heart. You both have a heart of gold and I am so proud of you for coming out . I can’t wait to see you both again so I can give you all a big hug. Well , really you was going to get one whether you wrote this post or not because I adore you both!
    Love, hugs and cyber kisses
    Carma Poodale and the Allen girls.
    P.S. Sissy Sarah has been dating her girlfriend for 2 yrs now.

  13. I am sorry you felt the need to hide who you are.. and kudos to you for choosing not to do that any more. I was just having a discussion with my significant other about race and how we will ALL always be bullied for one thing or another.. Even being a straight white man does not make you immune. I think it is how we choose to live our lives and accept what we do have that defines us.. not a name. Black, White, Gay, Straight, Man or Woman.. we are all human beings..

    Wishing you only the absolute best..

  14. Hi Carol!
    You don’t know me and this is my first time I’ve been to your site. Kimberly Gauthier tweeted this article and I decided to check it out. I wanted to commend you and your wife for having the courage to come out about who you are. I think it’s beautiful that the two of you have found each other and that you call her your wife regardless of what the law says. I’m not much of a rebel, and I’m definitely a law-abiding citizen, but when it comes to same sex marriage, the law couldn’t be more wrong.
    Congratulations to you and your sweetie for having the stuff it takes to make it through a 20 year relationship. Heck, some heterosexual couples don’t even have those bragging rights! Thank you for sharing this wonderful blog, and I wish you and your wife many more years of happiness together.

  15. I think it’s about time we had a Coming Out pawty! Congratulations on your announcement and new blog direction and huge kudos for having the courage to “come clean.” And Like Carma Poodale said… I thought this was old news! I hope it feels great that now it’s “official” for everyone.
    Your pals,
    Diane and Rocco

  16. I’ve never met you or your wife, Carol. After reading this blog post, I wish I had met you sooner. You are courageous for coming out to the world. The world is changing, Carol, and someday soon, coming out will be a thing of the past. Just think last year at this time, only six states permitted same sex marriage. Beginning Monday, there will be 15 states and Washington DC. It’s changing, Carol!!!!! Bravo to you!

  17. So happy for you!! So glad that you did this! There is no need to be hiding!! You guys are awesome together and deserve to tell everyone how happy and in love you are!! If someone doesn’t embrace the love you two have for each other then you don’t want them in your life anyway. So happy for you two!! Love you guys so much and so happy for you that you wrote this article! Good for you!! You will always be a part of my family! Loving the new direction for Fidose as well 🙂

  18. 20 years! Congratulations to you both! It is pawsome you have a such a loving relationship. I admit I never guessed, not even when someone suggested it to me. BOL! I suppose I don’t notice/think about things like that because it doesn’t matter to me. I accept people for themselves, and how they treat others. Who you are as a person and animal lover is what matters. You have always been classy and kindhearted. I think you are wonderful. I am happy you are comfortable enough to share your joy with all of us. High Paw to you and Darlene!
    As for dogs as the new kids – considering that my dog has a car seat, stroller, luggage, clothing, and toys all over the place…… What do you think? BOL!!
    Hugs,
    Pepper and Mom

  19. You guys are super cute together 🙂 Also I’m really glad for you! I imagine telling the world that you’re in a “non-traditional” relationship isn’t easy. Happy WW!

  20. Carol,
    I feel so honored to have witnessed this! Twenty years is a long time, and just enjoy every day you all have together. I think this is awesome. You go, girls!!

  21. Life is too short to not be who you are….beautiful photos…you all look so happy. I am new here to blogpaws and you are the first person who has stepped up to help me…so thank you! And yes…dog weddings as fundraisers are HuGE! And very fun…..of course until the illegitimate son (played by the cat) arrives…..and don’t forget the ex-wife! 🙂

  22. Hello, love and congrats to you, Darlene and Dexter! So much for Wordless Wednesday:-)! Ha! I hope you’re feeling lighter than air! No one should have to lie or even shade the truth to be “accepted” into our society, and so glad that the atmosphere has changed enough that you now feel comfortable letting us all know how lucky you two are! Look forward to seeing you both again soon-you know where to stop on your travels if you’re ever passing through Columbus!

  23. Wow – I’m so impressed with all of the comments – what a great tribute to you. Thanks for sharing this personal moment with all of us. No doubt it was a hard decision – but a wise one I think! Good for you! We look forward to whatever direction you take the blog as long as Dexter is still a part of it 😉

  24. Carol, you and Darlene are the strongest, bravest, most loving couple I know! Dexter is so lucky to have 2 wonderful moms like you guys! I can remember we became email friends back in 2009 .when you bought a cookbook from Oldies but Goodies Cocker Rescue in the LLP online auction. Then I learned of your love and loss of Brandy Noel when you made a donation to name one of OBG’s new puppies after her. You reached out and adopted OBG as your own. In 2010 you entered Brandy Noel’s story in America’s Best Pet Parents Contest and designated OBG as the recipient of the $10,000 prize you won. How unbelievably pawsome was that! Hang on folks, there is a point to all of this . . . OBG invited Carol to the DC area for a celebration and thank you party and I can remember so well when you asked me if it would be ok to bring along a “family member.” I thought you seemed a little uncomfortable at the time. I’m not even sure if you said Darlene was your sister, but I knew without your saying it that you were a couple. I also remember feeling sad that you felt you had to be vague about your relationship. Through the years we’ve grown close and I know what a loving family you, Darlene and Dexter are. Today is a glorious day and I wish I could give you all big hugs to let you know how happy I am that you are sharing your love and commitment to the world! xxxooo

  25. Carol, I’m so incredibly proud of you for coming out publicly. I haven’t even done that on my own blog yet. Welcome to the “family,” and congratulations to you and Darlene on 20 years of wonderful love. <3

  26. Carol and Darlene… loved the article almost as much as I love the two of you. Even though we’ve only been face to face one time (Wigglebutt Wedding) I feel as though I’ve known you both forever. Keep doing what you are doing… it’s obviously been the right path you’ve chosen. Hugs to you both and kisses to Dex. <3

  27. Congratulations to the both of you. I know Darlene from High School. Who cares what “others” would think?? You are a loving couple that as far as I’m concerned deserves all the rights of any other couple. I think being together for 20 plus years has earned you that. It is certainly longer than most marriages last. Love the pic of you and Darlene with her beautiful “silver” hair. Take care. Very happy for you both.
    PS. Darlene, thinking of adding a Dane to our “fur babies”!!!

  28. Carol, I am so excited to see what new and exciting things you will come up with now that you are holding yourself back. I am amazed at your courage and give you lots of internet hugs!
    #WeaselDance Plus regarding your direction, don’t stop doing what you do!!!

  29. From the beginning writing my blog, I’ve been torn about how much of my own life to include. If I’m trying to make a difference is it selfish to talk about myself? At the end of the day, I’ve realized the blogs I read mean so much more to me when the author is being genuine, open, and true to themselves. Thank you for posting this, it inspires me to braver in putting more of my heart and soul into my writing.

    As a vet I particularly love this part – “You like the idea that “dogs are the new kids”. Everyday in practice I’m happy to see this has become true for so many different types of families: retired couples, career couples, people who work from home so their dog is always with them, even couples with human children! My husband and I are still grieving the loss of our first dog who will always feel like our first child and who has left a huge hole in our hearts.

    Looking forward to the energized direction!

  30. Girlfriend, I APPLAUD YOU and love you more now than I did before (if that is possible)
    As you know, you shared this info with me last year, did it change anything at all about how much I value the INCREDIBLE PERSON that you are? NOOOOOOO! Why should it? EXACTLY!
    Those that love you for YOU will always love you…..none of that will change.
    I applaud you for being TRUE TO YOURSELF AND TO DAR, YOUR WIFE!!!!
    I may not be G, B, etc., etc., but I am LIBERAL AS HELL and I accept PEOPLE FOR WHO THEY ARE……..everyone DESERVES TO LOVE AND TO BE LOVED no matter what their sexual orientation is.
    I would follow YOU AND YOUR BLOG to the ends of the earth, forever and ever!!!
    Now, I can’t wait to get to know Dar better when I see her in a few weeks. Give her a HUGE HUG from me and keep a HUGE ONE for yourself! xoxoxo

  31. Smiling from ear to ear right now and I’m so happy for both of you! Best wishes for the adventure that lies ahead, I can’t wait to see it 🙂 Hugs to all of you!

  32. I am BURSTING with joy, reading this! Always felt so bad you, and so many others felt you had to hide your love for soooo long. NOBODY should have to, and I hope this will encourage others who read this to embrace who they are and shout it to the world!

    I have told you both privately that you are my FAVORITE COUPLE <3 <3 <3…now I can say it publicly! I love you, Dar and Dex like family… Loving and embracing the new direction of Fidose of Reality, too! I've always got your back…and you know it!

  33. Congratulations! And thank you for sharing your “real” life with us.

    I am sorry we still live in a world where people feel they have to hide who they are and who they love but hopefully this is changing. Slowly but surely love will conquer all.

    And I look forward to joining you on the blog’s new adventure.

  34. Beautiful post, beautiful story about a beautiful loving couple. Couldn’t be happier for you and excited to see the new direction for your blog. Any dog will tell you, love is all that matters. Hopefully peoples will figure this out eventually! But judging by the comments here, some peoples already have. 🙂

  35. Congratulations! And hooray for you for sharing your love openly. I’m just sorry there are those out there in the world who would make you feel the need to hide it in the first place. (I don’t understand why folks are down on love – it’s LOVE people! Who cares if it doesn’t look exactly like *your* definition of love.) The hubs and I definitely join in the ‘our kids are dogs’ sentiment, and we support everyone’s right to be who they are! We will definitely be along for the ride and wish you ALL THE BEST! Sending big hugs!

  36. You know how we feel about you, Dar and Dex, we love you and support you in your decision to let the world know your happiness.

    You know how we feel about our furkids. We don’t go on vacations where Buster is not welcome. The same when Ziggy was with us. We would do without for them.

    Hugs to the “whole” Bryant Family. ❤️

  37. Good for you Carole and congratulations on 20 years. Relationships are hard and that is quite an accomplishment.

    I look forward to seeing where your new direction takes your blog.

    All the best always.

  38. To me, it does not matter what goes on ‘behind closed doors’. I do not care what your sexual orientation, religion, political views, etc are. All that counts is that one should be happy with their lives and be a good, caring person (which you both are).

  39. Carol, this post both broke my heart – that you felt you had to hide such an important part of your life – and put it back together again. I’m getting ready to celebrate 21 years of marriage with my husband. All love stories are different but at the end of the day, love is love is love. And when you find the right person, love is all that matters. I wish you many more years of happiness together and I wish you all the best with the new direction of your blog.

    Amber

  40. My Dads and I never knew……………… that you were not out.
    Bob is sitting hear smiling ear to ear knowing how great you must feel today………..
    Way before my time, like 20 + years ago, when Dave decided to tell the world, he and Bob were a couple. They say he called everyone from his first grade teacher to his Mother and many had more than one phone call as he forgot who he called. He felt so liberated, he just kept calling people for months. People would start answering the phone and say, Yes, Dave we know. (they didn’t even have internet back then)
    We are so PROUD of you. You and Darlene and Dexter – Cheers to YOU.
    My Dad wants to write now, but he will continue in a PM.
    YES, YES, YES to the new direction of your blog.
    xoxo Cuba, Bob, Dave

  41. Carol, I am so proud of you. I know it’s difficult because you never know how people will react. All these wonderful comments that you have received makes me feel good knowing that people accept you and Darlene for the wonderful ladies that you are. All that matters is that you are happy. I know how much courage this took since I have been an activist for the LGBT community for 30 years. Although we have never met which will soon we rectified – I was pleased that you felt comfortable in telling me because you knew I was a proud mother of a gay son. I can’t wait to meet the both of you soon. Thank God this weight has been lifted from you. You can now live in the truth, and you have shown that you are a courageous woman. Congratulations to the both of you. Twenty years is quite an accomplishment. Just think – the rest of your life will be much better now that you can proudly say, this is my wife. My deepest admiration and love to you both. Dexter is blessed with two great moms. xxx

  42. Congratulations on 20 wonderful years. My 21 year old son is bi-sexual and I know that road may be harder for him, but people like the two of you are making his journey a little easier.

    Can’t wait to see where your blogs goes!

    Hugs,
    Pam & Oskar

  43. I’m so proud of you! Sending you a big hug! I can’t wait to see this new direction you take the site. It sounds really fabulous. Normal is boring! 🙂

  44. You know that I didn’t care when I found out. That the only thing that mattered to me was that any time that I saw Darlene with Dexter together he was happy and she was happy. He clearly loves her and he loves him. That is all that matters to me.
    Do I think Darlene is a saint for putting up with your Social Media addiction? Yes. And in my eyes that makes her even more awesome.

  45. Congratulations of your 20 years together and many many more years! I am so happy the two of you have so much happiness and love in your life. I am so glad that Darlene shares the love of dogs and her heart beat dog just like you….so it is 2 loving hearts beating dog. How Awesome! Dexter is so lucky. Dexter has you, Darlene, Zoe (his wife) what a very lucky dog! I will be reading and following your new direction in your blog. Carol you are a Awesome writer and I love reading your articles…sometimes you make me cry, laugh out loud and put a smile on my face. Looking forward to learning more about Darlene! Do you think Darlene would let me be her friend on facebook? Belly rubs to Dexter!

  46. Carole this is just fantastic news! Cindy and I welcome your coming out with great joy and so very much wish we had known all along so we could have supported you and your wife so much better. And now we can! Joyful welcome to you and to your new blog direction. I am so happy you took this step.

  47. Thank you for sharing your personal story with us. I was impressed with the warmth of you and Dar when we met at the Wedding, I wish you many more years of love. All the best for the Bryant family.

  48. Hi Carol and Darlene

    It was such a pleasure for mum and I to finally meet you both at blog paws SLC – you are both such loving, warm people and my mum just thought you were partners anyway, I guess maybe that just shows how perfect she thought you are together!

    Much love Snoopy and Annette 🙂

  49. You’ll never regret being open and out. Let me tell you, Cinnamon says it like it is…. from the coonie perspective on her blog and has quite a following. We’ll follow you!

  50. Thank you for sharing your love and your life…it’s inspiring. And a huge congratulations on your happiness, which is most important of all. I look forward to continuing to follow you as your blog embarks on a new journey. How fortunate you are to have the support of your wife (and doggie kisses, too). Best of luck in your new endeavors.

  51. As a straight ally I have to say congratulations! My blog is dog centered, but because a lot of my non-blogging life goes into advocacy for the LGBT community (with a real passion and focus on the T and general issues of gender nonconformity) it bleeds over a little bit into the blog. Me and my husband both live in a space that is not quite hetero-normative but not quite gender queer either, and I am proud of how that shows through in my blog (yes, we are in our late twenties so feel free to roll your eyes and the label-less young folks). I often think a lot of the blog community is on the conservative side of things, but maybe that is just my perception. So thank you for coming out, we will have to stick around and see what all goes on around here!

  52. My heart is full and oh so grateful. I love you all for writing me here, privately, and calling, emailing, etc. It means so much and today feels very much like a rebirth of sorts. Thank you is the best I can do but certainly not enough. I hope to continue to inspire folks to be the best dog parents they can be, alternative or not. My heart really beats dog. Thank you. xo

  53. It doesn’t matter what other people think all that matters is you are happy and honest to your selves,we wish you luck for the future,have fun with it,xx Speedy and mum Rachel

  54. One of the best things about dog blogs is that it introduces people to each other, first and foremost, via what they share, their love of dogs. Once you know somebody, it becomes harder to keep a hold on any prejudices. I’ve got a handful of pals on my blog roll who are LGBT and it never even really enters my brain. Two mommies? Two daddies? Who cares, as long as the dogs are getting showered with love and the humans are healthy and happy. Congratulations on your marriage of two decades and on bringing your wife into your blog family.

    Mango Momma

  55. I am speechless and overwhelmed and overjoyed and so blessed. <3 you for writing, thank you. I know life is busy and we move at the speed of well, light. So thank you for pausing to share your joy with me. Special special people. Love you back. And your little dogs…and cats…and all the in betweens 😉

  56. Bravo! Reading this I can tell it’s a long time coming and I’m so glad you feel comfortable enough and loved enough here in the blogging community to say it out loud…I’ll be at Global again this year and hope I have the opportunity to meet Darlene and give you both big hugs

  57. Howdy partner! (Hi Dar/Dex)

    I remember years ago (almost 10yrs = yikes!) you telling me that you had to keep a tight lid on your marriage because you were afraid of losing your job. Well? Look at you now!! You’re doing your own thing and obviously you felt enough is enough. I certainly understand how you were feeling when introducing Dar as your sister. You have my total respect for all the hard work you’ve been doing for the benefit of our paw friends and telling everyone who you are now, makes me happy to know that it’s off your shoulders now…yeehaw woman! You for sure…..got ‘er done! 😛
    Love ya

  58. You know, if you’ve been married for 20 years, you MUST be doing something right! Who cares who you’re making this journey with? (Well I suppose you do because it wouldn’t be the same without her, but still.) As long as you remain the same helpful, loving person that you are, it doesn’t matter one whit to me, and Vlad & Barkly love women a lot more than they love men. You’ve beaten the odds. That’s something to be extremely proud of, so don’t you let ANYONE make you feel differently. EVER!

  59. What a beautiful blog post…and a beautiful family! A family is made of love and kindness…people and fur kids alike. Thank you for sharing yours and inspiring others to live to the fullest!

  60. When I read this on my phone I meant to respond that night on my computer – so much for my time management!

    First, let me say normal isn’t the norm anymore as there are more dysfunctional people (like me) in this world so congrats on your successful marriage of 20 years! Gay, inter-racial, or purple people eaters – the only thing that matters is when you find a love that fills you up then hang on to it!

    Second, I have learned that people who love dogs are the people who can love all humans because they understand to look inside as opposed to taking someone at face value. I think you rock so Darlene is one lucky spouse!

  61. I only have one remark: What took you so long?! 🙂
    No one should ever have to hide their true selves and/or the person they love.
    A-roooooo!

  62. This is the first time I have visited your site, and was so pleased to immediately see that you were coming out! I too am “GLBTQ” and was so happy to see someone even mention it. I am out most places, but when someone at the BlogPaws conference asked me a question that would need to have coming out in its content, I…… hesitated. Then I said what needed to be said, and it was fine. I am happy for you that you made the decision, and that it really brought out the love in all these wonderful bloggers.
    -Terry from MatildasJourney.com

  63. Can’t believe I missed this (but I’ve got a good reason, promise!). What an inspiring post…. and look at all these amazing comments, there is so much love on this page!

    Just as you were ‘coming out’ online, my bf of 5 years asked me to marry him. Next summer gay couples in England will be able to legally ‘marry’. 10 years ago I would never have thought it possible, just goes to show how accepting the world has become. XX

  64. When I read this when you first wrote it, I was so overcome with joy and happiness for both of you that I cried! Congratulations on 20 wonderful years together! The pictures say it all, the love, the happiness the joy you share and of course your wonderful son Dexter. My heart breaks for you that you live in a state that doesn’t recognize your right to be married.

    I live in California, and everyone thinks it was an easy road here for same sex marriage to become legal here. It was a long hard fight. Believe me, there are a lot of people in this state, who do not support this right. But thanks to a man named Gavin Newsom, who, had just become mayor of San Francisco, in 2004, issuing an order to allow same sex marriage in the city of San Francisco, the battle began, and finally just not all that long ago, through many ups and downs, it is now legal. I say this, because I do believe that you will be able to get married in PA someday. It is your right, and by golly it will happen. Don’t ever stop believing that!

    You and Darlene are wonderful people, that someday I hope to meet. Your tireless fight to help the furkids that cannot speak for themselves is amazing! You are loving, caring, and spectacular people, that I love dearly. I am so sorry that this close minded group that exists in our world ever made you feel that you could not say what you felt and really be you. Shout it from the rooftops my friend!! You are special, and I am so glad to see the movement that is taking place in this country as states legalize same sex marriage. It will happen in PA too, and on that day that you and Darlene exchange those vows that you have waited so long to exchange, I will be right there with you even if only in spirit, cheering you on!

    My cousin was able to marry his long time partner, last Dec, 12-12-12 to be exact, as Washington State approved same sex marriage in last year’s election. I am so happy for both of them, and I know I will be saying the same for you and Darlene.

    I love you both and I love Dexter, and congratulations to an amazing couple that gives so much and does so much good. You are the best!!

    With all my love and joy,
    Jan and Ginger

  65. You go girl! Takes a lot of guts or some really big balls to do what you are doing. Wishing you much happiness and success. Looking forward to meeting you and the rest of your lovely family in Vegas!

    1. Pooches gracias, Anna. Just tired of living a half life, so to speak. Happiest of holidays and excited to meet you, too!

  66. Stepping into who you really are and being able to share it with the world is an awesome and amazing thing – thank you for sharing it with us!! I agree – how is it possible that you have been together for 20 years – you don’t look old enough 🙂 Congrats!

  67. Embrace your love, your true self, your lovely wife and all your dog lovin friends. Life is way to short to worry about what others think. We love you and Darlene (and Dex)! I would imagine most of your friends want you and your family to be happy. Live life to the fullest and ROCK ON!

    Hugs from the Lee’s

  68. First of all, I have to say I’m shocked you’ve only been blogging 4 years!! You come across as such an expert blogger and with such professionalism, I always thought you must be a total Veteran Blogger. I’ve been blogging for nearly 3 years and I’m Light Years behind you! Having said that, Bravo for your honesty, courage, and forever sense of being Real. I answered Yes to almost all those questions, my heart beats dog too, with a little cat thrown in for good measure! I look forward to seeing what you’ve got in store for us now, my friend! I’ve loved your blog since the day I first read it and I know I’ll continue loving it.
    Love & Biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

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