At a stop sign where I sit everyday there is a house with a large front yard. It is home to a pair of young Labrador retrievers, one black and one brown. The first time I sat and watched them, they were each tugging on a rope. Being of equal size and strength, neither dominated their game of tug-of-war. On another occasion they were playing with a child’s large ball, running and pouncing, stealing it from one another. Most often I spy them simply rough housing, jumping on one another and benignly biting the other’s neck. One warm afternoon I was delighted to catch sight of them laying back-to-back, heads together with eight paws stretched out as they slept in the sun.
During the long Thanksgiving weekend, I cared for a pair of small dogs with an overflowing toy basket. On successive visits I found more and more of the toys strewn about the house. During one of my visits I watched Kyra pick up a stuffed ball and Lola chase after her down the hall. I was unconcerned between visits that the pair was either lonely or bored.
We have almost always had two dogs. It is not that much more work to have multiple dogs and the benefits outweigh the additional costs. Being pack animals, dogs need other dogs in their lives to be happy. When a dog must be left alone for extended periods of time, a companion lessens the loneliness. Many years ago, when our golden retriever passed away at the age of twelve, the presence of our young lab helped ease the pain. On Thanksgiving Day, this once young lab also turned twelve. To celebrate, I took him and his younger brother on an extra long walk.
There are so many dogs in area shelters needing loving homes. There are also many in need of short-term, foster care. By being a foster home, you could also provide companionship to your single dog. The organization Dogs on Deployment (www.DogsOnDeployment.com) helps our military folks find temporary care for their pets while they are away serving our country. They could use your help.
In this new year, I hope everyone considers adding a second dog to their pack of one.
Note: This first appeared as the “Editor’s Notes” in the December/January’13 issue of Pet Tails Magazine.