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Tacitly Yours

A great experiment goes awry

This past weekend was the weekend of the great experiment. For quite some time, Doug and I have been under the impression that our dog may be a little lonely. Whenever she's around other pups, she literally goes crazy, jumping around and trying to play with them. So we got to thinking that maybe we were being cruel in not giving her another little dog to play with and keep her company.

Well, after weeks and weeks of looking for dogs we though could "handle" our Maggie, we found a dog we thought was going to be the perfect playmate, a chocolate lab that was about nine months old.

As we watched the pup play with her mother and sister she was romping from dog to dog and holding her own. In fact, she was so riled up we didn't think we'd be able to get her in the car to take her home. Once we got her into the car, the puppy turned into a pussy cat. She crawled up into the front seat and sat in my lap the entire ride home.

When we introduced the two dogs to each other, there was no problem. Maggie quickly accepted the other puppy and started rough housing with her. The only problem was the new dog didn't respond back. Let's just say it was a tough night for everyone.

As we tried to get in a few minutes of sleep in between howls from the back porch, Doug and I had a very interesting conversation. We looked at our dog, which we've had since she was an eight-week old puppy, and realized that not only were we tired of the new dog, so was she.

That's when we knew we couldn't keep the new dog. She was a very sweet dog, but Maggie just didn't get along with her.

Then we started thinking if the questions going through our heads were the same questions couples ask themselves when they are thinking about having a second child. Do they look at their first child, who is by that time fairly grown-up and well behaved, and think..."Do I want to go through potty training again? What if Maggie never gets along with the newest addition to the family? Can we handle having another living, breathing, thinking thing in our house?"

It's funny to think about, and not being parents we have no idea if these thoughts really go through the minds of parents who are thinking about having a second child. All I know is that night, all of those questions kept running through my head.

When I finally woke from a fitful night's sleep that included a mix of unanswered questions and dog howling, I did what any good parent would do...I asked our first dog, Maggie, if she wanted a playmate.

She of course, just stared back at me like I was crazy. But my answer came when my husband and I put the two dogs out together to let them run around in the back yard. By that time, Maggie had completely dismissed the other dog, ignoring the fact that it was even there.

Watching Maggie reminded me of sleepovers I had when I was a kid. Growing up, slumber parties were always so much fun, getting to sleep in the same room as all your friends, play games until all hours of the night and eating junk food. But the next morning I was always more than ready to go home. I was done. I was all played out, and that's the same look I saw written all over my dog's face. She wanted to know when that other dog was going to go home.

So unlike a second child who comes out of the womb fighting with its sibling, Doug and I were able to give the new dog back to its owners. When we returned home without the lab, Maggie seemed to have a look a relief on her little, fuzzy face.

I know that having dogs is nothing like having children, but there are times when I wonder just how different it really is.

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