I used to think otherwise.
I have always wondered what the fascination is in owning more than one dog for a pet. Wouldn’t these people know how much work would go into providing for two dogs, not to mention the expenses? This is including the food, training and everything. It is most true for the families that get two large breeds, as they don’t stay the same size from their time as a puppy into adulthood like, say, a Pomeranian would.
Well, last May, my family became one of those families, so now I had the chance to discover for myself if any of my suspicions were true.
While I was growing up, we always had one dog on our farm, except the summer of 2001. Then, our two year old dog (our previous pet before Thunder and Abby) had eight puppies. We had them for most of the summer, and they were a handful. But we didn’t keep them for ourselves; by the end of the summer, the puppies had new homes elsewhere.
Fast forward 11 years later…after not having a dog for several months, we decided it was time to start looking for a new pet. One weekend in May, my parents went shopping and incidentally found themselves in a pet store that had black Shepherd female puppies. They explained that they were going to wait to see if there were any traditionally colored shepherds available in the area.
Coincidentally, Mom found an ad that night for a litter in a nearby North Dakota town. The next day we went to see them, with a primary intention of getting a female. After spending 20 minutes playing with them, it was decision time. It took a while, but Dad finally chose a male. I knew we were going to end up with two dogs. We then went to the pet store and bought the female black Shepherd. We got all of the necessary items for the puppies and went home. I shook my head, thinking my dad was absolutely insane.
Most of the summer was spent bonding and keeping track of two puppies. Though part of me still thought it was a mistake, I had to admit it was fun having puppies around again. They didn’t do much of anything the first few weeks except eat and sleep. Once June and July rolled around, they were frolicking around and wrestling each other trying to establish dominant status. Abby, 2 weeks older than Thunder, won those fights as she knew that she was the older one.
But as the summer went on, Thunder gained a backbone and became the dominant one. Both of them grew pretty fast. They’re not full grown adults, but they’re certainly not lap-sized anymore.
I’ve come to see that having two dogs in each other’s company is a good thing. Thunder and Abby love being together. They sleep together, trot around the yard side by side and have their fun with the cat; in other words, they don’t get easily bored (if you have just one dog, you must always keep it on its toes, otherwise they could wander off). Of course, they get into their fair share of mischief. They once shredded a fully packaged cardboard box.
Having said all of this, do I really think having two dogs is a bad thing? Not really. Sure, buying the food can be expensive, and it takes time to discipline them, but it’s not impossible. I think in order to make it work you have to give both dogs equal attention. Last summer, all six of us were home and able to devote time to the puppies. We also had lots of extended family around, so Thunder and Abby got rather spoiled. I wouldn't trade them for any other pet. So, if you think you can provide proper care for two dogs, by all means, go for it!