Saturday, January 3, 2009

two dog family

My family had dogs when I was small, but after an unfortunate Irish Setter episode, we settled into cats. It made more sense in our small townhouse in London, while we lived there, and we discovered what every cat owner knows: cats are fairly easy to have around. They learn the litter box routine quickly, they don't need to be walked in the cold and rain, and they are perfectly self-sufficient if left for a few days by themselves. In fact, sometimes they don't even seem to notice when they are left by themselves.

Soon after my LSH and I married, my parents turned over Adelaide, a tiny brown Burmese and the only kitten we had kept (at my begging) from a few litters of Burmese. Adelaide seemed a little lonely, especially while my LSH and I worked and studied for long long hours in graduate school, so my LSH gave me Annie, an Abyssinian cross, for our first anniversary (hence her name). As if I needed any more proof that he loved me, this second kitten provided it: my LSH came from an exclusively dog-owning line of people, who all thought he was a little nuts to have TWO cats in the house.

We went along with our two cats for quite some time, through several moves and new jobs and three babies. But when we moved to this place, which was more remote than anything either of us were used to, I insisted on a dog to act as an extra set of eyes and ears. We found Charlie, an adult rescue, on Petfinder. His adoption story will have to wait for another day, but we found that we liked having a dog around. He is a good watchdog and he carefully patrols the farm. Since my LSH works from home, letting him out wasn't a big deal. He and the cats lived in relative harmony for quite a few years, until the cats passed away and he was left by himself for a while.

But not for too long. Midge wormed her way into the family this summer. She annoyed him by chasing his feathery tail, and surprising him around corners, and trying to eat his food. Good dog that he is, he put up with it but maybe became a little more grumpy and withdrawn in his old dog ways.

And then Dusty entered his life.

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Dusty tries to make him play at every turn, jumps on his back when Charlie is trying to pee, steals his food (making much more of a dent in the bowl than Midge ever did), and just generally drives him batty. Charlie alternates between snarling at Dusty to "quit it" and hiding behind me to get away from him. And yet... and yet... Charlie is definitely perkier now that Dusty is around. (He has to be, just to keep an eye out for the puppy's approach.) He is spending less time under our bed upstairs and more time with the family. He is even getting back at Dusty in subtle ways, by stealing his puppy chew toys and stashing them in his under-bed cave. He has even taken up chewing rawhide bones, something that he NEVER did before. (He steals them from Dusty once Dusty has gotten them nice and softened up.)

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All in all, Dusty has been really good for Charlie, but I accept the fact that Charlie probably doesn't agree with me.

4 comments:

  1. I'm not surprised the little one has acted as a pick me up.
    We always have a pack of at least three dogs. The breeder of my little Coton de Tulear called last night to report she has a litter of four black and
    white females born on Dec 29th. Then came the photos... Cruel punishment for a devoted "dog mommy" who is full up right now.
    Hugs and miss you, Margo

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  2. : ) thanks for all the help this week. I appreciate your kindness. We still have the ram. I am not sure how long he will make it. The banamine did seem to help.

    talk to you soon.

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  3. Nice to see you on the ES yahoo group! Your little puppy is gorgeous and the pics of him are great. Thanks for sharing and best wishes on many happy years together:)

    Rob

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  4. Awww.. they are both adorable!

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