There are many reasons why getting a second dog was a bad idea for us.
- We have committed to live at our Appalachian homestead for three years. The average lifespan for most dog breeds is over ten years. How do we know our next living space will be two-dog friendly?
- Within the next ten years we hope to start a family. Raising babies with two dogs sounds a like a lot of unnecessary work.
- At this point, we both work over half an hour away from our home. Any animals we have need to be left alone for over 40 hours a week which can be cruel in bad weather.
- As of now, we have 11 birds, four chicks, three rabbits, two cats, a dog, and a pig on the way. On two AmeriCorp’s salaries, money is tight. Why would we want to pay for MORE animal feed?
- As much as we love our home, sometimes it’s good to get off the mountain for a few nights. This is conceivable with one dog, but becomes much more complicated with two.
- Adding one more dog to our mountain community officially shifts the balance towards canines. Now there are more dogs (6) than people (5).
So Why Did We Give In and Get a Second Dog?
Because I’m a sucker for a face like this.
“Let’s go to the animal shelter.” He said. “We can just look!” He said.
The pound is as dangerous for us as a bar is for alcoholics. Our best intentions slide out the door as soon as we enter one. So when Ian coerced me to go to the Pike County Animal Shelter with him ‘just for a look’ it was practically fated we would come home with some critter.
And so meet Aldo (Leopold). A fine boned german shepherd-looking eight month old mutt.
I only allowed Ian to take him home after he agreed that Aldo would be on a three-day trial period. If having two dogs overwhelmed me or just wasn’t going to work out, Ian would take him back to the shelter. Aldo seemed to understand his tenuous place in our home because he was on his very best behavior. Unlike our famously aloof first dog Wendell, this guy follows me all around the house like a (literal) little lost puppy. He’s a deer bone chewer, a dirty underwear fetcher and an absolute snuggle bug. He gets along perfectly with every other dog he’s met on the mountain, and at this point we have never heard him bark.
Quicker than I expected, Aldo began to win me over. But I didn’t realize how much until we mistakenly left him loose in our yard with Wendell before leaving for the day and came home to find only one dog. Aldo didn’t have any tags, barely knew his name and hadn’t been introduced to many of our neighbors yet. The odds of him getting returned to us were slim to none. I was racked with a grief that in no way fit the situation of losing a dog we had only had for one week, and for thirty hours my life was on pause. I left my job early, spent hours wandering the woods calling for him, and went to bed at 5pm, too upset to function.
And then he came back. Just sauntered up to the house as if he’d never been gone. Besides a big appetite and a small tick on his neck, he was none the worse for his adventures.
But his roaming did accomplish one thing. It cemented his place in my heart. My mothering instincts have gone out of control for this little guy and now that he is back I fear I will work tenaciously to keep him in my life.
Guess that means he’s passed his three day trial period.
So now we are a two dog family. Is this smart? Does it make financial, logistical sense for us? Not in the slightest. But that doesn’t change a thing. Our hearts are leading stronger than our heads right now, and for this little pup, it’s worked in his favor.
Welcome to the homestead Aldo!