The multiple dog household can be a daunting task to undertake! We all start with one right? How does one become more? Just over seven years ago, I got Layla. She wasn’t even supposed to be a permanent dog. She was a foster failure and I have never been so happy to fail at anything in my life. Layla was actually my first, second dog. That’s right! There was a dog before her! We said goodbye to Kush when Layla was just 8 months old, but he will never be forgotten. He was my first dog that I got as an adult and the best rescue I choose to make.
At that time, my housemate got a puppy and all was well. They grew up together and were the closest of friends. They romped and played and did all sorts of puppy things together!
When that living situation was over, we moved to a one bedroom and it was just Lu dog and me! (She got nick named Lu dog early on.) Life was so easy! Lu always listened well and responded to commands so leashes weren’t always needed and she’d join me on drinks with friends. She snuggled me at night and made me feel safe and secure. I put some food in a bowl, she ate when she ended and fresh water everyday. It was that simple. One dog at the vet each year and one set up flea and tick meds to order.
Okay, I’m starting to wonder what I was thinking…
Well, we move home after college and before I got my apartment moved in with family. They have a dog, and they were friends but still, only one was mine. One responsibility and one dog in the bed. Again, so easy! We moved into an apartment and it was the single ladies life for us! More patios and less leashes. Simplicity.
After awhile, I found the man of dreams. (Of course we are presuming I have good dreams right? I’m kidding, he is lovely.) So after a while we decided that Lu dog needed a friend. And by we, I mean me. But once the idea was planted he was firmly behind it. We scoured rescues, posts and waited to find our furry friend. Now, this would be the first time since foster failure with Layla that I would have two dogs. Six years had passed and apparently I blocked out how damn hard puppies actually are to raise!
Funny enough, we ended up with another Shiba Inu mix. (Which was Kush’s breed too! He was a Shiba Shepard mix.) We had no idea what this tiny white pup was made of or capable of. But, we found out. And we found out QUICK! Want to read Pippin’s story and see some adorable puppy pics? Check out Who Is Pippin? What Is His Tail?
For starters, two dog bowls. How did I forget how feeding two dogs could get hectic!? Well Pippin wanted to eat all of the things as all pups do. Lu wanted him to stay away from her dish and bared her teeth and let him know it.
I want to interject here. Make sure when introducing a new dog you have control of your current dog(s) and that those situations are always monitored. We did allow Lu to express herself but told her when enough was enough. It’s important for the pack order to be established.
Back to story time! So, there was food dishes. Oh yeah, and vet costs. So many vet visits and another dogs medications to add too. And collars and leashes and oh dear I forgot! Toys! Lu kept the same toys for years and within a few days, theywere gone. I remember feeling so bad for her! But that’s dog life!
Lucky for me we had two crates and Pippin could travel easily between our apartments. Of course there are all the puppy mishaps and expenses that come with the territory already. Not to mention, appeasing the older dog and making them feel equally happy.
Now, why would we do this to ourselves? Lu was getting bored and seemed to enjoy when we spent time living with other dogs. So, naturally I wanted to give her that back. I’m very happy we did, because Pippin keeps her active. Or well, more active she is pretty lazy.
There are many reasons people take on the multiple dog challenge and adding a pet to the home isn’t an easy choice. It normally means a whole lot of “no” and “that’s not yours, this is” as well as so many other tag lines. It means walking on leashes more since attention is divided and making sure everything is in surplus. It means having diet dog food or senior dog food and puppy chow so everyone is accommodated. It means bath time is twice as long and finding dog sitters twice as hard!
It also means double the snuggles and also double the guard dogs barking at presumably nothing as I write this post. It means more licks and happy tongues. More tail wagging when you come home. It means they are bonded friends for life too.
It also means, one day hopefully far far away, we will both lose our Lu dog. On that day, which I can’t even fathom today, I won’t come home or wake up to a place without a dog. My Pippin will be there and we will both be in pain. Now, this of all reasons seems the craziest right?
This past winter we had to put my family dog, Callie, down at the age of fourteen. She lived a long, full and happy life. As I left the vet hospital that night, still in tears I walked in the door to two tails wagging and two little wet noses to kiss my tears away. No human hug or gesture was the same. Nothing compared to those two. My family on the other hand went home to empty dog bowls and a dog bed waiting to be filled. We buried Callie and said goodbye. She lays at rest with her favorite toy and at the home she always knew. It was peaceful and comforting knowing she was finally without pain.
Within a few months, they finally got Lucia and as a typical puppy she ate that unused bed and tore it to shreds. She ate the rugs and the chairs and made sure to remind them what puppies were like as quick as she could. But choosing a multiple dog household can mean comfort in times where you may not be a multiple dog household.
Now, if you’re truly a bold soul you may have more than two dogs! And we applaud you! Triple or even five times the dog bowls, leashes and collars are fine by us! We have about 8 dog beds already and I can only imagine having 16! We hope your vet loves you and that you get wholesale pricing on your medications! We’ve talked many times about a third dog and opening our home to another furry tail. (Seriously furry. I forgot to mention how much I vaccuum and swiffering already?)
This post is actually my decision on that notion of a third dog. We’ve had the pleasure of dog sitting a third dog who is a few months younger than Pippin. The playtime is so much fun and there’s more love being shared BUT I don’t feel like I have my one on one time with each of my dogs in this scenario.
Perhaps in the right pack, it’s possible. Maybe even the dogs bond more to each other. I’m not sure, and I’d love to know. But in our house I have my sweet and snuggly Lu and my playful and crazy Pippin. It’s almost both of my personality traits in two dogs and I truly don’t think I’m ready to change that. Oh yeah, and I am not certain I can deal with sleeping with so little bed already!
As much as I miss the easy days, I am an advocate for the two dog household. I think it provides a pack for your pooch when you can’t always be there and it provides more love, but not too much. I am not saying you have to bring home a dog right this second either. But consider opening your home to a second furry friend of your home has space. It doesn’t have to be a puppy! It can be any dog and even a grey muzzled elderly dog could be your pawfect match.
We are a multiple dog household. Even though Pippin holds the title, Lu holds down the fort. We are grounded by our dogs as well as the love and compassion they bring to our lives. We have about 8 dogs bowls, 10 leashes, 6 collars and harnesses, two types of dog food, 20 bags of treats, 2 car covers and a good vacuum. We have to change our sheets weekly and get the dogs groomed quarterly. We have to order medications in 2 different sizes and make sure we always get two of everything at the store. But we are doubly happy here at Pippin Tails.