Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pack Leader?

Do you ever look at your life and think...how did I get here? Since it's the beginning of a new year, that's kind of what I've been doing lately. And boy, are there a lot of things to ponder! I'm retired from the Postal Service (a good thing!); I'm spending more time with my grandchildren (another good thing!); and my life has become more peaceful...most of the time.

However, there is one little change to my life that I didn't expect. I'd always had a picture in my mind of me typing away at the keyboard, while my faithful dog lay contentedly at my feet. And that's happened...sort of. Except it's not just one dog-I've wound up with two! Now I've always loved animals, but have always been a strictly one-dog household and intended to stay that way. How did I manage to add another dog?? Looking back, I think it started with my one, teensy remark... "I feel sorry for Jake."

Here's Jake's story-he belonged to my oldest daughter's family. They had adopted Jake from the Animal Rescue League before they had children. Fast forward eleven years, three little boys, and two demanding careers later, and poor old Jake was spending most of his time in their backyard. My daughter felt fierce guilty at the lack of attention he was receiving, but at his age, knew she couldn't find a home for him. And if she sent him back to the Rescue League, again given his age, his chances of adoption were pretty slim. (And we all know what happens to dogs who can't find forever homes!) Plus to never see the dog he's known his entire life would break my nine year old grandson's heart. When I made my off-handed comment, her eyes flared, then she grinned slowly and responded, "Why don't you take him?"

At first, I thought I'd simply bring Jake over for doggy play dates with Roxy, but somehow that idea quickly morphed into Jake becoming a permanent resident. How, I can't exactly recall, but a couple weeks later, all bathed and combed, Jake arrived. He's of undetermined origins-maybe some Collie; maybe some Rottweiler-and weighs about 50 to 60 pounds. He also sheds like crazy.

So now my day includes walking two dogs (I had to buy a double leash); feeding rituals (not in the same room...we have "issues" over which bowl belongs to which dog. Roxy thinks they're both hers to which Jake strenuously objects.); and tossing toys (again, Roxy doesn't share, so Jake had to have his own.). I also spend several minutes a day letting one, or both of them, in and out. I'm very seldom alone-as I write this both dogs are lying at my feet and the moment I get up, they'll follow me.

If you come to my door, you will be greeted by cacophony of barking dogs-a habit Jake has picked up from Roxy. Then once inside, you will have to suffer a lot of sniffing and tail wagging. (We're working on manners, but it's not going that well.) You might also find socks and other unmentionables in odd places. (Jake is quite fond of carrying things around in his mouth. He doesn't chew them-just lugs them around then drops them wherever when he tires of his game.) And I really hope you're not wearing black. If you are, please bring a lint roller! There's only so much one vacuum cleaner can do.

Oh, and I forgot to mention another thing-my youngest daughter is moving home in a couple of weeks. She'll be living here for a few months while she finds a job closer to home. AND she's bringing her Siberian Husky, Max!

Welcome to my pack!!! *g*

Best,
Shirley

(PS--I tried to get a picture of Jake to post, but he didn't care for the flash!)

4 comments:

Sharon S. said...

oh, dear!! Before kids we had two dogs, my Rottie, Roxy and my husband's spawn of satan a Siberian Husky named Drake . After the 2 kids came I decided we would be a one dog household. Both dogs passed and now we have April, the most amazing family dog, cocker spaniel. When the kids move away (I know, I can dream ) I will be getting my empty nest dog. A Standard Poodle.

Now, if you think you have hair problems now....Si's blow their coats in the spring and OMG! I can't wait to read your blog post on that day . Good luck with the pack and have you thought about a dog door? We had one with the two dogs (and yes, the kids used it too). It does come with its own problems like dirt at the door.

Casey said...

Oh, Shirley, I feel your pain! We've always been a one-dog house. That is, until my daughter went to grad school, got lonely and adopted a Jack Russell. He was six months old and she was his fourth owner. What does that tell you? With school, being a grad asst. and working, she never had time for Oscar, so he ended up with us. Then our dog, an Airedale, passed, and we got another Airedale pup, Ernie. OK, two dogs. Was doing OK. Until said daughter (now living out of town and with a Scotty) came home "for a little while." That was more than a year ago and we are doing the three-dog dance, day and night. Never something I wanted, a whole lot more work than one and even two. Good thing all the boys are cute!

Shirley Damsgaard said...

Lol, Sharon on the dog hair...I know exactly what you're talking about. Max was here at the conclusion of his coat blowing, so I got in on the tail (pardon the pun) end of it! Can't wait to live through the whole experience!! And yes, I did think about a dog door, but it would need to be one that fits through the wall. (All my back doors are with full light windows.) And really to tell the truth, both dogs do pretty well about wanting outside. The only time I have much of a problem is if the squirrels in the backyard are active. THEN it's in and out, in and out! They MUST protect their territory, don't ya know!

The other issue that's going to be fun to deal with once Max is here full time is the question of dominance. Roxy is the queen and both Jake and Max know it, but there is a bit of a competition between them. Max is so much younger and wants Jake to play, which he does, but when he's done, he's done, and Max doesn't always back off. Then the play turns into something else entirely different involving snarling and snapping. Personally, I think they'll work it all out--we have left all three dogs alone in the house while out shopping and when we returned no one was bloody--but my daughter worries about the other "kids" picking on her "baby!"

Casey, I laughed about the "little while!" Been there done that with my youngest son (two months turned into a year) and will probably be in the same position with Sara. (Will I never learn???) The plan is her and Max will be moving out next August, but we'll see. It does appear that I have a revolving front door when it comes to my kids!!! I'll let you know how it all works out!!!

Ymama said...

Who designed your blog - I love the top image! I would love to do something custom for my blog as well... could you pass along information on how to do that for a personal blog (stepmom issues?)