This is our current Family at Breen Acres: Jeffrey, Harvey and Me. The picture was taken this past Sunday, by our friend (and our houseguest for the weekend), Andre. It is a happy little threesome.
We have managed to carve out a niche in our own corner of the Universe, where we eat, drink, sleep, and play in relative harmony with one another. Despite our excursions into the outside world, and the number of times we have and will invite others into our sanctum sanctorum, we love, above all else, our time home alone with each other.
Building a home and relationship with another person is not as easy as Disney and Harlequin Romances would have us believe. It takes a level of work, commitment, understanding and respect to navigate the same space for years with another person without bloodshed or lawsuits.
And adding a four legged friend into the mix adds a new dimension to it all.
Despite the vast difference in our life between not having a dog and having one (again), Harvey has managed to fit right in. Although he has added a new level of activity and responsibility to our home and life, it is impossible to imagine life without him already. We love him as much as we can love a dog; as much as we loved Clyde, I dare say.
As part of a larger plan, we hope to adopt another family member to add to our home: an older sister for Harvey. We are heeding a lot of professional and personal advice to wait a while before introducing dog number two into our ménage a troi so, while we wait, we discuss the pros and cons of having a second dog and what that will entail. We worry about finding dog sitters or affording kennels for two dogs, as opposed to one, should we want or need to go away. We realize the financial burden of caring and providing for two dogs will be greater than one, and that we will have to make room in our home and life for the next four legged child that takes up residence at Breen Acres. There is also the concern as to whether we will luck out a third time, as we have the first two times: finding a dog that “fits” so well into our lives and meshes with our personalities, as Clyde once did and Harvey now does. More importantly, will we find a dog that meshes well with Harvey, one that will play with him and keep him company and share our home with him without too much friction or animosity between the two. After all, the greatest impetus for adding a second dog to our home is for Harvey’s benefit. We want him to have the companionship of another dog; something that I think will benefit us all. And I won’t lie: I’ve always wanted more than one dog and love the idea of rescuing another dog and giving her a home she might not otherwise have. But I’m trying not to romanticize this too much and be very honest and practical about what it will mean and require, adopting pet number two, so that I/we walk into this with eyes wide open.
Adding anyone new to an established relationship, two legged or four legged, alters the dynamics and can make for positive and negative changes in the status quo. It’s not to be entered lightly, so we discuss and debate, consider and caution, and then move forward with the best choices, for us, that we stand to benefit most from.
So, despite the probability that this will take more work, effort, and patience as we all adjust to a new family member, I think and feel, ultimately, it’s the right thing to do.
So there will eventually be a few more dog hairs, perhaps more chew marks and a lot more frustration if/when they both decided to act up, refuse to sleep, make messes, and require medical attention. But for all the added stress or work another dog may bring into our home, I can’t help going back to the same thought over and over: twice the dogs means twice the unconditional love and affection.
And who wouldn’t want more of that in their life if they could get it?