Last year, our daughter wrote a 10 page report so that she could get a dog. That’s our policy – you want the animal, you write a 10 page report all about the care, feeding, health, needs, etc… of the animal. You write it, and write it well, we buy it. Well, within reason; we won’t be buying any orangutans soon! But really, all this is beside the point. We already had a dog. And a cat too. But the dog we took in as a stray. A dog that had probably been abused, and then turned out onto the mean streets to fend for herself. A dog that carried some baggage with her still.
So it was with some trepidation that we took in another pet. I love animals. LOVE them. But the thought of all the extra work created for me by all the extra shedding, muddy paws, etc… left me uncertain. Still, the love for my child, and her need to have a “friend” in a lonely rural place where friends all live far away convinced us it was the right thing to do at the time.
But back to the first dog, Ginger…. I’m hers. And she’s fierce about it. When she first came to us, after days and weeks of slinking around trying to avoid us, it was mostly my love and gentleness (why can I be more kind-hearted to an animal than my own family sometimes?) that made her want us to be her pack. I was her alpha dog. Good stuff to have something love you so completely! But we didn’t quite know how well she’d adapt to an interloper into her little kingdom. As it was – and still is – when the other members of her pack craved my attention (hugs, kisses, sweet words) she let it be known in no uncertain terms that she needed the attention more than they did. Always vocal, she makes “Wookie sounds” reminiscent of Chewbacca to let everyone know she’s in the room. How on earth would she handle another entry into the pack, much less a real dog?
Not so bad it turns out. She still makes the Wookie sounds, nuzzles her muzzle into my hand when she needs the love, and has to be the first to greet me in the mornings, but really, she adapted quite nicely. We brought the other dog, Kierran, home, and he follows her around like, well, a puppy. In fact, after a couple weeks of the “new” dog’s bed being on the opposite side of the room, we ended up having to move their beds next to each other. They’re not always together now, but they’re not often apart either. Dog #1 still wants my attention and gets upset when #2 gets it instead, but she understands that it’ll eventually be her turn. They play outside together, go exploring together, and nap together. Despite #1’s wildly possessive streak, she was willing to add a little more love into her life.
While I was vacuuming up the hairy beds the other day – yet again! – I was pondering the whole pack animal mentality. Really, we all just crave the attention and love, and can always make room for just a little more. Another baby, another friend, another animal… the love and acceptance always finds room if we just let it.