This is a post I've dreamt of writing for almost two years. Finally, after tears, arguments and a lot of patience here it is. Just over two years ago on the 6th April 2017 we bought Honey the Cockerpoo home to join our family. That in itself had been years in the making and from the minute she arrived our lives changed forever in the best way possible. I wrote a post when we got her which you can read here. Sure it was hard work at first with wees in the kitchen and the occasional number two. Fortunately that didn't last for long and we've cherished every single minute with her. Even Rach who's been a cat lover all her life and never liked dogs was immediately smitten.
About six months after we got her I gently put the feelers out for a possible second dog as a companion for Honey. I was shut down immediately and it was made clear that I shouldn't ask again, ever. To be fair, I think it's like asking a new mum if she'd like another child right when she's in the middle of pooh, sick and sleepless nights. Of course you're going to get a mouthful. I left it a few months and gently tried again. Katie was absolutely with me but in the other corner Rach and Jade weren't having any of it.
In my opinion their arguments against it were misplaced. Judge for yourself, these were their objections along with my responses.
Honey will be upset, jealous and will think we don't love her. My Response: Honey will be over the moon to have another dog to live and play with. We'll give her lots of attention so she won't feel upset or jealous at all.
I'll feel bad as I can't split my love and so won't love the new dog as much as Honey. My Response: What do you think happened when we had Katie? You (Jade) were our total world and when Katie came along we had equal love for her too. We didn't love you any less. This one was always a bit dodgy as whenever Jade thinks I'm being extra hard on her or extra lenient on Katie I get the same response. "It's so obvious you love her more than me."
I can't really complain as I used that card on my mum growing up all the time. The worst was when I ran away to London aged 10 and left a note on the bathroom door. "I've run away because you love Simon (my brother) more than me." Can you even imagine how she must have felt? To this day I feel awful about it although I did have the best time at London Zoo, my spiritual home. Sorry, completely digressing there.
What if Honey hates the new dog and either ignores it or becomes aggressive towards it? My Response: Honey has got the best temperament and will be really accepting of a new dog. If the worst happens we'll deal with that but I'm sure everything will be absolutely fine. In truth I was a tiny bit concerned about this, especially after reading stories of people having to return new dogs as the first ones wouldn't accept it. Deep down though I knew Honey would be fine.
We'll have to go through all the crate and toilet training again which was really stressful. My Response: It's always quicker with the second one as the first one tells it what to do. Honey will be barking orders and the new dog will be all sorted before you know it.
Honey is so perfect and easy going. What if it's like the film "Lion" where the second child is badly damaged and really difficult to deal with? My Response: Just trust everything will be fine. Not really a solid response and again, something I was the teeniest bit concerned about. Honey really was so easy going and relaxed, what if we got the dog equivalent of Damian the anti-Christ?
It will be double costs of everything. My Response: If people only had children when they could afford them no one would ever have them. This isn't having a second holiday, it's another member of the family and you can't put a price on that. Slightly cheesy I know but it's true.
What made it even more frustrating is that when we were out with Honey we spoke to everyone that had two dogs and asked how they'd found it. Without exception they all said it was the best thing they'd done and that the dogs were happy together. This didn't make any difference at all to Rach and Jade, they were unmovable.
Time went on and I was on the verge of giving up. Then friends of ours got a Cocker Spaniel puppy and I had a cunning plan. I'd go round there with Honey and Rach and she'd see how well they played together. That would convince her and we'd be full steam ahead. Unfortunately this didn't go to plan; the puppy barked at Honey non-stop and Honey literally turned her back and ignored her. A second attempt was even worse with some growling along with the barking.
When everything seemed lost our neighbours got a labradoodle puppy. We went round to see it without Honey and Rach and Jade fell in love. They were fawning all over it and as we left Rach uttered the magic words, "Ok, let's get a second dog." Before she had a chance to reconsider we were making enquiries. After a traumatic experience of choosing and naming a puppy, only to find out Jade was allergic we discovered Jesse. After meeting him along with his siblings and parents we knew we had found our little boy. A few weeks later it was time to bring him home. It was a three hour journey and he sat quietly on my lap the whole way. This was it, the moment had come, how would Honey respond to another dog in the house? Would she ignore, play with or eat him?
We bought Jesse in, Honey looked at him and walked off. For an hour she completely ignored him and we gave her lots of attention and reassurance. Jesse was trying to play but she was having none of it. Then suddenly she put a paw out to instigate play and they were off. I don't know what I was more surprised with, the fact that Honey was happy to play so quickly or that Jesse was super confident at such a young age.
Our breeder told us that Jesse would come to us crate and toilet trained. We just had to introduce him to the new exit point. Outwardly I replied, "That's fantastic." Inside I was saying, "Really? I don't think so." I shouldn't have doubted her for a minute. From the first night Jesse was happy to go in his crate and spends lots of time there during the day too. Toilet training hasn't been quite as good. Honey hasn't been very vocal giving Jesse guidance and whilst he's done lots outside he's done plenty inside too.
To be fair to him though, it is mostly our fault. He's a complete victim of second child / dog syndrome. When we first got Honey we were constantly watching her for any movement that might suggest she needed to go for a wee / pooh. Actually, it was any movement and the door was being opened and Honey was being ushered out every few minutes. Been asleep, outside. Been playing, outside. Drunk water or ate food, outside. Blinked three times, outside. With Jesse, we're deploying a much more laid back approach. This means that we're going outside when we remember that he's just had a play, sleep etc.
Being outside is completely different too. With Honey we constantly followed her round the garden making sure nothing went in her mouth at all. Any thing that slipped through the net was removed immediately with surgeon like precision. With Jesse it's more like, "Who's seen Jesse? Is he in the garden? When we find him he's invariably got a mouthful of grass, plants, or someone's shoe.
What's been incredible though is how they've taken to each other. We've had Jesse for three weeks now and they play together all the time. It's almost like they're lifelong best friends. I've always loved watching Honey play with other dogs. Seeing her and Jesse together is even more special. Rach and Jade have now also agreed that it was the right decision to get another dog and they can see how happy Honey is. It is early days but hopefully everything will continue as it has been and they'll go from strength to strength.
Jesse had his first walk on Friday and he flew down the road with all the confidence of a walking veteran. They walk together nicely too and we're all looking forward to the day they can both be off lead together in the park. If you're reading this and thinking of getting a second dog, do it. It already seems like Jesse's been with us for ever and personally I'm over the moon to finally have another boy in the house!
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