To adopt or not to adopt, that is the question. Whether tis nobler to maintain a one dog household, sure to have one’s heart broken in time, or to ease that inevitable loss by integrating a second dog now; dethroning the one by consciously putting her successor in place.
Oh, there are arguments for both sides of this conundrum. Cajun, who will be eight in October, would be re-energized by a younger companion. Cajun, who will be eight in October, ought to have a lifetime of adoration and not be asked to ‘share’ at this stage of the game.
For two years now I’ve had it in mind to adopt a second dog in April or May. In the spring of ’15, I broke two toes and ended up in a boot for weeks. In the spring of ’16, a humongous dog took out my right knee trying to sprint toward a playful puppy. I’m 15 weeks into that recovery as I type. Both injuries waylaid my plans to add to our happy family. Is this fate? Or a determination test?
On a fairly regular basis, I torture myself looking at pictures of dogs I could, if only I would, rescue. Gnarled faces, gnome-like faces. Adorable faces, faces only an adoptive mother could love. Puppy faces and old-lady faces. Desperate faces and faces cocky with their own winsomeness.
I think I know exactly what I want: a female, lab mix, on the young side, abandoned but not neglected, a swimmer. This last might seem an odd requirement but we live on a river and have the ocean in Nantucket. To be in our family and not swim is both a sad state of affairs given the proximity of so many opportunities to do so and a harder row to hoe for this human when it comes to exercising a young, energetic beast.
But. But. But . . .
What’s with the buts, I ask myself? Yes, we are not spring chickens. Yes, we will have to adjust. Our staid, old-person rhythms will be upended. There will be walks in the rain; walks in the frigid cold; double the poop to pick up; double the trouble when we want to go away. Things chewed; piles thrown up; maybe even, horror of horrors, our newbie will go suddenly, scarily AWOL. There will be twice as many ways for one or the other to scare the bejesus out of me.
But. There will be twice the love. Two, not one, heartbeats at my feet. And when one of those ceases, there will be the remaining one to need her bowl of food each morning; to carry on the work of personal trainer, getting me up and out no matter my broken heart; to walk and romp and laugh. That’s the thing, really, she will make me smile each and every day when not a single human can work that magic.
So? To adopt or not?
For the record, here are this week’s candidates. Either is mine for the asking. Neither is what I think I want. Sweet Georgia Brown, a 2.5 yr-old chocolate lab abandoned at a Louisiana hunting camp:
Or, Jessie, a 4-month-old hound mix. About whom virtually nothing is known. But ya gotta love those eyebrows!
Apart from the fact that both are females, neither fits the description of my perfect dog as listed above. Will the hound swim? Will she stay close to home or follow her nose into the wild blue yonder, leaving us to chase after? Is the lab, a 65-lb’er, too much dog at this point in our lives? Is she inbred and so destined for as yet unknown health issues? Will Cajun accept a little sister?
Am I conflicted or just confused? Motherhood! It’s really hard to be deliberate about it.
So, what should I do? You tell me.
— Belle Songer