The morning routine with three dogs changes very little from day to day. Despite the fact Alan gets up some two hours before my alarm chimes, the dogs sleep quietly in their crates until I greet the day. Once up, the dogs are released from their crates in our bedroom and a small but colorful parade of Apsos makes its way to the back door. Frankers excitedly prances, looking back over his shoulder to see if Ali is following, her usual ploddng self. Dante brings up the rear … most likely with a slight detour off the hardwood into the front room to check out whatever toy was left out the night before or to goose the resident marble-brained cat. An, ahem, well-placed nose will make him squeak loudly as he doesn’t buy into the typical canine greeting, considering it extremely rude to have a nose poked at one’s hiney!
Ali and Frankers go out immediately. Dante — anticipating being picked up and put on a crate for banding — waits for me by the back door. They thrive on routine, knowing what to expect as I go about making coffee and setting up their bowls for breakfast.
Having multiple dogs in the house — and one of them an intact male — came with a learning curve. Despite the challenges, it has been an ongoing lesson in pack behavior. One thing that became apparent early on was the canine’s innate need for interaction with others of its own kind. While one can provide for their every need, we — as humans — cannot replicate the canine-to-canine bond. A need that is hard wired into the canine psyche, a survival instinct sharply honed over the millenia.
Ali, adopted as an adult, acquired the nickname of “the Red Slug” shortly after she arrived nine years ago. Once she adapted to the routine and activity of the household, she became … bored. We took her places, including biking, canoeing, and on forays to PetSmart. She had more toys than she could reasonably play with; she got to visit with my parents’ Tzu. We worked on training. We included her in all the assorted goings-on associated with work in our large yard. Yet … something was still missing. Exactly what that “something” was quickly became apparent with Franker’s entrance as an eight-month old puppy. Infused by his energy, they became fast partners in crime and curiosity. We couldn’t find one without the other being close at hand (and is still the case). Wrestling matches became the canine sport of choice. No matter the activity — or lack thereof — they sought one other out, taking comfort in each other’s presence. As the fosters rotate in, they too are assimilated into the pack each with their own place in the pecking order.
There’s a certain joy watching them interact … and a joy within them that’s unmistakable. We humans tend to believe we’re the be all to end all, but I think our canine friends might disagree. While adding a second dog will increase expenses (food, grooming, vet, etc.), the “return” is definitely worth the investment … for humans and dogs alike!