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Two Dogs Are Better Than One

by Xennariel Revenlyr 9 months ago in dog

How I ended up with two pups the second time I wanted to adopt a dog and why I'm glad I did

Zephyr and Maverick at one and a half years old

When my first dog Cooper passed on May 19/2019 at the age of thirteen from lymphoma, I felt like I never wanted another dog again. I was so absolutely heartbroken. Cooper was like my kid and I didn't know what to do without him. My emotions were a mess and I fell into a deep depression.

Apparently it was so bad that my parents soon started urging me to get another dog. That wasn't something I wanted to throw myself into again right away. Whenever they brought up the subject, I told them I wanted to wait at least a year and that was the end of the discussion.

My parents live with my husband and me. Because of this, they were around for most of Cooper's life and they loved and missed him too. In fact, I feel like they wanted a new dog more than I did to try to help ease the pain of Cooper's loss.

A Tale of Two Pups

One Saturday in early June while my father was at a local hardware and farming supplies store he overheard someone ask an employee about an animal rescue group that was supposed to be inside the store that day. He was so excited about it that he actually ran to see if the adoption event was still going on even though he has severe arthritis in his right knee.

Thankfully the rescue group was still there and my father spoke to the coordinator, exchanged information, and hurried home. When he walked in the door he was all smiles and immediately handed me the rescue coordinator's card and explained what had happened.

I smiled but inwardly sighed. Getting a new dog so soon was tempting, I admit, but it felt like my dad was rushing me. I wasn't ready for a new dog in my life, not when I was still mourning Cooper.

Despite my reservations, I went the next weekend to the same store to meet the rescue coordinator. They had some adorable dogs, including an all black furred Labrador/Catahoula Hound mix that I was very tempted to bring home. She was beautiful, but not the gender or breed I wanted so I reluctantly declined to adopt her. Meeting her and seeing those other dogs was starting to turn me in the direction of adopting a dog though.

We took my father-in-law to see the rescue dogs the next weekend and he actually ended up adopting the Lab/Hound I'd adored the previous week. He was going to be busy until the next evening though and asked me and my husband if we could take care of her until the next day. Of course we agreed. She was the sweetest little girl and I was actually excited about the prospect of having a dog to care for again.

When we brought her home I had to quickly explain the situation to my parents. I could tell by their expressions that they were wondering why we brought home a dog that was nothing like what I said I was looking for.

They were happy to have a dog in the house again though and didn't mind her being there at all. My mom even called her a super model because of how beautiful she was.

To make a long story short, that weekend solidified my decision. I wanted another dog sooner than I thought.

For the next couple of weeks I spoke several times to the rescue coordinator. They had recently rescued a young mother dog that had been dumped with her very young pups. As luck would have it, they were Border Collie/Blue Heeler aka Australian Cattle Dog mix pups. That was exactly what I was looking for.

Another thing that stood out to me was that they were born two days after Cooper had passed. Was this a sign? Could one of the puppies in this litter be the dog I was meant to have? It sounds silly but I felt like Cooper was somehow maybe leading me to these puppies.

I set up a time to go see the litter.

Me holding the pup that would eventually be named Maverick. This was when I went to look at the pups with my mom.

My mother and I took a day to drive the three hours to where the pups were currently being cared for until they were old enough to be adopted out. They were only three weeks old and the cutest, tiniest little balls of fluff!

Two of them were much smaller than the rest of the litter and I figured they were the runts. One of those runts came right up to me. I picked him up, he licked my face, my mom nodded and smiled, and I knew he was the one. He was the only one of the seven pups who tried to follow us out of the pen area. That's how I absolutely knew he was the one I wanted.

I spent much of my time for the next couple weeks trying to come up with a name for the pup I picked out. It was over a month before I came up with a name after getting my first dog. I spent way too long calling Cooper "Puppy" and I wanted to make sure this new pup had a name as soon as I brought him home.

Zephyr, Maverick, and Rizzo were the three names I finally narrowed it down to. I decided on those names just in time too because a little over two weeks after I saw the pups, I got a call from the rescue saying they were ready to be adopted.

We were so excited that my mom and I immediately drove to the store where we first found the rescue group. We didn't see them when we arrived so I called the coordinator to find out where she was. Apparently she wasn't there yet and I had misunderstood her earlier call, rushing to the store without thinking.

While I spoke to her on the phone again she explained things better and informed me that the pups were ready to be fostered, but only in pairs because of their age. What I didn't know was that puppies need to stay with at least one other member of their litter until about eight weeks of age for cognitive development reasons. She explained that if I wanted my dog that day, at six weeks old, I would have to foster another of the litter.

That was a disappointment as I didn't think I could handle two dogs which meant I would have to wait for another two weeks before I could bring home my puppy. I remember several of my mom's friends and coworkers who were dog owners insisting that having at least two was better and had a lot of benefits, but I was skeptical. It just seemed like a lot more trouble to me. More expensive, more to clean up after. I had only ever owned one dog in my life so I had no idea if I could handle the extra challenges of two, let alone two puppies at the same time.

For several minutes I went back and forth with the rescue coordinator trying to explain why I couldn't have two dogs. She refused to take no for an answer, claiming I would be fine and that she needed fosters for these pups. It was a Friday and she insisted it would only be for over the weekend. Finally, I relented. I wanted my pup and if that meant taking care of two for a few days then I could handle that.

The coordinator arrived and we picked our pup from the litter and she said we could choose whichever other pup we wanted to foster. I'm allergic to some dog fur, particularly fluffy or long fur, so my mom and I looked over the pups carefully and while they were all adorable, one stood out to us. He was black and white, the color of dog I initially wanted, and his fur seemed shorter and less bushy than the others. We chose him.

My mom wanted to carry the little brown pup we had picked out earlier so I held the one we were going to foster. As soon as I held him I started to feel like I wasn't going to want to let him go. That was a worrying thought and I stomped it down. I only wanted one dog! I wasn't going to fall for two.

After filling out the paperwork and paying to adopt our pup we took both dogs and headed for home. They were both squirmy little things and neither seemed to like the car so I held them in my lap for the entire fifteen minute drive home. That seemed to keep them calmer.

Zephyr, the pup we were supposed to just foster but ended up adopting.

After spending time with both pups the rest of that evening and some of the next day, I found myself falling for both of them. I had been planning on naming the pup I chose Zephyr, but after seeing both pups and their personalities, I discovered that the name Zephyr fit the black and white one more. He was more calm and sleepy and lazy. My little brown pup was more of a dare devil and had a sneaky, mischievous streak. Maverick was a much better fit for him.

In less than twenty four hours I had names for both pups and knew I wanted to keep both of them.

The rescue coordinator laughed when I called and she told me she knew I was going to adopt both of them. Apparently having me foster Zephyr was her sneaky way of getting me to adopt two pups.

At first, I was pretty sure I had lost my mind, but now I am absolutely grateful that she convinced me to pick out another puppy.

I Quickly Discovered The Pros and Cons of Two Dogs

Admittedly, raising two puppies was challenging. My parents and husband were gone all day at work which left me caring for the pups by myself. I had to keep a constant watch over them to make sure they didn't chew the furniture, eat something they shouldn't, or do their business on the living room rug.

If I took my eye off them for even a few minutes, they'd inevitably get into trouble. There's also double the poop to pick up from the yard, double the food we have to buy, double the pet insurance to pay for, and double the vet bills.

The plus side was that I didn't have to chase them or play with them as much as I did when I raised my first dog. I was older and didn't have that energy anymore so thankfully they kept each other occupied most of the time. That's honestly the biggest bonus to having two dogs. When you're not up to playing or don't have the time because of work or what have you, they'll keep each other busy.

Another positive aspect of having two dogs is that they're never alone. My first dog Cooper had bad separation anxiety. He never destroyed anything like some dogs do when left alone, but he refused to eat or drink or relax if he wasn't with his family. Leaving him at a kennel when we went on vacation was miserable for him, so much so that after he turned two, we only went on vacations if he could come with us.

With two dogs, leaving them alone isn't as much of a problem. I know Zephyr would absolutely suffer from separation anxiety, his personality is very similar to Cooper's, but because Maverick is with him, we've not had any problems and they seem absolutely fine when we return home.

There's also more to love. I've only had Zephyr and Maverick for a little over a year but I already can't imagine my life without either of them in it. One of them is always around to pet and keep me company.

As someone who suffers from high anxiety and depression, two dogs surprisingly helps with my mental health a lot more than just one. They make me laugh when they play and do silly things together. When I'm not feeling well or when I'm stressed out, both of them cuddle up with me. I can't help but smile when they're around.

Their personalities also shine through more by having another dog in the house. Cooper was always very quiet unless the doorbell rang. He also suffered from general anxiety, not just separation anxiety. As a nervous dog, he never played by himself much and if I wasn't taking him on a walk or playing with him, he'd spend his time lying on the top of the staircase, staring down into the basement where my bedroom was.

Zephyr and Maverick on the other hand have huge personalities. I see more of Cooper in Zephyr, but he's also a little more of a free spirit than Coop ever was. Where Cooper would spend most of his time near me or with me in his sight, Zephyr just wants to play all the time and tends to go off with his brother or spend time away from me without becoming nervous.

Maverick is absolutely more independent. He starts fights with Zephyr, steals Zephyr's treats and bones, and is basically a little sneaky fox. We would never have known he was a little stinker if he was an only dog. I know this because my mother and I had to take Maverick out of the state and stay with him at a rental home for three weeks while he underwent radiation therapy for a mast cell tumor found on his muzzle.

While they were apart, my husband and father stayed with Zephyr and reported that he spent the first week doing nothing but sleeping on the couch in the living room and moping about. He didn't even want to eat until someone enticed him. He perked up a little bit after the first week, but still spent his time in my dad's room on the bed staring out the window.

For Maverick, it seemed like he was enjoying the time away from his brother. He started to bark more at people he saw out the window when he'd always been more of the quiet one at home. He would engage me in play more often and begged more for snacks like they were going out of style. Maverick didn't seem upset about the situation at all.

Zephyr was almost like a different dog without Maverick. This makes me feel like Cooper wouldn't have been so quiet or seemingly bored all the time if he'd had another dog to keep him company when I couldn't. It makes me wonder if there was a facet of Cooper's personality that I'd never gotten to see due to him being an only dog.

Now that I've lived with two dogs, I don't think I can go back to being a single dog owner. I'm going to be devastated the day I lose one of my boys, but I think knowing there will still be one that need my care and love will make the pain more bearable than when I lost Cooper. I think there will always be two dogs blessing our home for many years to come and this line of thinking is all thanks to two rescued pups who were in need of a loving family.


Xennariel Revenlyr

Writer. Wannabe artist. Gamer. Animal lover. Lover of all things fantasy. My dogs Zephyr and Maverick are my life.

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