Horsepeople have a saying about the danger of having fewer horses than stalls. Somehow an empty stall never seems to stay that way for long. I don’t know what the doggish equivalent is. But I really kinda want a second dog, you guys.
(I promise that there will be hiking-dog posts again soon. We’re slated to head up Cabot this weekend with pals two-footed and four-! In the meantime, though, it is pouring rain and disgusting slush outside, so this is what you get.)
I’ve been thinking for a while that I’d like to add a dog in the next year or two. Which is kind of a weird thought in itself. Lilo happened quickly; I started looking for an emergency back-up dog and within a very few weeks, there she was. Casey, canis emeritus, fell into my lap. Getting to plan the next dog feels like a luxury, but also like a lot of pressure. How do you know when it’s time?
Lilo is both my main reason to dig in my heels and one of my main reasons to forge ahead. She’s already a little unsettled from the move. Maybe it would be asking too much for her to adjust to a new family member on top of that. She’s always happy to see her friends and never seems to get sick of her best pal even on multi-day visits, and definitely any new dog would need the Lilo seal of approval! But even so. She’s been an only dog for a lot longer than she was two of two. And I value the depth of our one-on-one bond. I don’t know for sure that it’ll be okay, and I really hate that.
(I’m also fresh out of grad school and into a government job, which means that finances are a little tight at the moment. I could make it work without undue stress, for certain, but waiting would probably be the prudent thing to do.)
On the other paw, she is always happy to hang with her friends. As quirky a dog-sibling as Casey was, she liked having him around and was less reactive; he was a cheerful, oblivious chap and gave her confidence. And especially now that I’m working again, I think she would like some company.
As, honestly, would I. The new house is a little bigger than I’m used to and while I feel perfectly safe here, there have been a few times when I’ve been down at one end in the garage and wished there was a dog within eyesight instead of just the one snoozing on the couch. I realize that this specific situation is not a good reason to get another, since history suggests that I’d end up alone in the garage while two dogs snoozed on the couch! But the space seems to want another creature in it, is what I mean.
And I was thrown for a pretty good loop recently when Lilo came up randomly very lame. The vet’s assessment was a soft-tissue sprain and with time and rest and now easing back into our routine walks, she seems to be fine. But I really hated that week of not having a dog to walk, you guys. I know from horses, too, the danger of this scenario. Sometimes you just end up cold-hosing eight legs instead of four. Even so.
For now, common sense prevails. Later would be better. Longer days, warmer weather, more paychecks in the bank. And I’m not entirely sure what sort of second dog I even want. Something that Lilo will enjoy, for sure, but beyond that? I have no desire for a tiny baby puppy — unless a particular prospective litter comes to be, in which case I’m very interested indeed. In an ideal world, I’d like another hiking buddy (and playmate for Lilo), adolescent to young adult , athletic and confident — but in that age range, the kind of dogs that I like tend to be, ah, challenging, and while I find them hilarious, I’m not sure how much of a challenge I’m up for right now. In a different ideal world, I’d really love to give a soft landing to a senior dog and definitely I would have enough bandwidth for that — but senior dogs have senior dog medical bills (and are probably not feasible to insure), and that’s daunting.
So we’ll see, I suppose, as we usually do. I’m keeping my eyes open, but so far that’s all. Part of me is hoping and trusting that it’ll come clear with time, that the right dog will fall into my lap at the right time. That’s been my strategy to date, after all, and it’s worked out okay so far.