Saturday, January 27, 2024

Little Dog, Big Feelings

Since I've last written on this blog, I've had 7 dogs come to stay with me, Red, and Andrew. Most were fosters and did not come with the intent to stay. A couple I adored, a couple gave me panic attacks. Over and over, though, the sadness that came with seeing them move on was never enough to make me wish that they hadn't left.

Enter Lil' Mama. She came here as a temporary foster who needed a place to crash for about two weeks, but I extended our foster timeframe when she readily made herself at home in our humble abode. This is the only dog who did not leave when they were supposed to. The only dog that I voluntarily kept longer than what I had initially committed to. I just couldn't bear to bounce her to another foster home if I could make her next stop her forever home.

Yes - I know what you are thinking. No, it isn't likely. She's got someone who applied for her, who'll be meeting her after her dental is done next week. And while (amazingly) she's probably the best fit out of all 7 dogs who have come, I think it's possible that there may be someone out there better for an elderly, hard-of-hearing Dachshund mix who sleeps most of the day than we are.

So, I got to thinking.. this short-legged mutt came here, will likely stay a month-plus before we part with her, and truly touched our souls forever.  Moreso than any of the others.  She also taught me something that I'm not quite sure I could have learned without her.

She taught me what I AM really looking for.

I started my search thinking I wanted another young cattle dog mix to do sports with.  Red is perfect, so why not get two of him?

My search has now evolved into thinking very differently. That perhaps I won't get another dog at all. Or, if I do, that that dog may need to be more like Marge than they are like Red.

There are two reasons why another high-octane sports dog is not the right choice right now. One, I barely have enough time to show my current dog, who is in his prime and is happy to play almost ANY sport with me. Two, it will absolutely crush Red for me to bring home a dog who is as emotionally needy as he is.

Some friends have, in the past, definitely insinuated that a "Red" type dog was the wrong way to go. I disagreed with them. I couldn't see it. I needed to experience it. 

But, the truth is.. I liked having two dogs when I had Marge and Red.. not Red and Red.

Red doesn't want to play with other dogs indoors. He doesn't want to be bothered. After all, he lived with an old dog. That's what she taught him. And she was VERY good at teaching him that.

So if someone should come to stay here for good while Red is around (which I hope is a very long time), it won't be another Red. It'll be a Marge.

A plain, dare I say "boring," even-keeled dog who is content hanging with you -- from the foot of your bed.

A dog that doesn't react to other environmental stimuli like dogs and wildlife. 

A dog that can just as easily lay on the couch and wait for you to come home as they can play some casual dog sports.

Red and Lil' Mama coexist almost in the same way Marge and Red did. Out of all the fosters who have come here, she's had the most free range out of any of them. I have no concerns about having both dogs on the couch with me or feeding them in the same room. They walk well(ish) on a leash together.

It's such a familiar dynamic. It almost feels like I'm in a time machine.

So, maybe I'll get another dog. Maybe I won't. I'm stressing less about it these days for sure. I'm trying to enjoy my sweet dog Red to the fullest and also make sure that whoever he shares his house with gets us as close to that perfect dynamic duo that I got to enjoy for six years.

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