Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Two Dogs Revisited

So last week I had convinced myself that I couldn't care for two dogs the same way I care for one dog. It was more expensive, what if one dog was sick and the other one wasn't, how could I not play favorites, etc. I don't know if that's how I really feel or if I was just trying to convince myself.

Maybe Chale wouldn't have so many issues if he had a well balanced brother to ease his anxieties. If I got both dogs at the same time and there were no territory issues then things shouldn't be too difficult. One dog will inevitably pass before the other one but that doesn't mean that the new dog that I get to be with him will be a puppy. I know that I'm a good enough dog owner that I will wait until I'm sure my old dog is okay before I bring another dog into the picture and that I won't bring a 1 year old hyperactive puppy into my house with an 8 year old mellow dog. And really, if I don't think the old dog is ready then I won't replace the dog that passed. I have to give myself more credit than that. If anything I'll probably become an even better dog owner because I'll be so paranoid that I'm going to screw things up that I'll over do everything.

Yes, having two dogs will be more expensive. But with pet insurance those costs will be much less than they have been for all my pets up to this point. When I first got Chale, pet insurance wasn't available that covered genetic conditions so I didn't see the point in getting it. Of course now there are insurers that will cover hip displaysia, epilepsy and other genetic conditions. It makes me happy that the thousands of dollars that I've spent on him over the years will not likely be repeated on a future dog that is insured. I insured my cat earlier this year and will insure every pet I own in the future. Even if the monthly premiums balance out what the insurance company reimburses me for I would much rather pay a little bit each month than put $5,000 on a credit card in an emergency situation (like we had to this summer with Chale).

My mother has a four year old Maltese and a 14 year old Shiba Inu. When the Maltese was first introduced into the household the shiba was not very friendly. But over time they became buddies. The Maltese has a lot more energy than the Shiba so he gets additional walks and play times separate from his brother. But the Shiba gets massages and gentle play time alone to make sure his little joints are doing okay. They still play and walk together daily but they don't do everything together any more. My mother realized that they had different needs and changed their routines to accommodate their different life stages. They were both much happier when my mom stopped trying to force the Shiba to keep up with the Maltese and started pushing the Maltese to burn more energy.

I see a lot of people who have multiple dogs and seem to take very good care of them. I've seen people with 3-4 dogs who seem to manage without any problem and other people who neglect their one 5 lb dog. The bottom line is that if someone is a bad pet owner it doesn't matter if they have 1 dog or 3, those dogs are going to suffer. But as a good pet owner, I know that my heart and my patience can handle life with two dogs if it means 2 less dogs sitting in a shelter and twice the wet doggie kisses and snuggle time.

1 comment:

  1. We had like 10 dogs once, mostly outside and they were big dogs and fought, didn't get shots except for rabies. They lived long healthy happy lives.
    We are thinking about a puppy again, we will see.