THE DECISION

There is not going to be a Take 3 on the trial with Star.  I made up my mind in an unexpected way yesterday morning.

I had planned to get Star today, try it for a couple of weeks and see how it went, then, had every intention of keeping her if things went well. I had even bought a new crate, water bowl, and feed bowl for her before her visit a couple of weeks ago.  Yesterday morning, I took Tippy out for her morning walk and told her, “Today may be the last day that we have with just the two of us.”  Surprisingly, as soon as those words came out of my mouth, I felt very sad.  I shouldn’t feel sad if it is the right thing to do.  I should feel excited about getting a new puppy. Right?   I knew then, that my decision had to be “no,” but kept mulling it over.

Today, I had to work for a couple of hours.  Afterwards, I went for a visit with Star and talked to the trainer (A.C.) who is currently keeping her.  We talked it out and here are some of the points that have led us to both agree that it just isn’t the right time for me to get a puppy.

  1.  My lifestyle.  Right now I am working a lot, play a lot of tennis, and volunteer a lot.  I really don’t have the time and energy that is needed for puppy training and playing.
  2. Traveling.  Tippy travels well and I can take her places with me.  She especially enjoys going with me to play tennis.  Star gets car sick and/or drools like a Mastiff when she rides. A.C. says she will grow out of that, but for now, riding for her is not pleasant.  So, I would have to leave her at home and either leave Tippy too, or take Tippy and leave Star alone.  While A.C. said that would be okay, I really don’t want to do that to either of them.
    Riding
    I love to ride mom. Thanks for taking me where ever it is we are going.

    At the tennis courts
    You’re doing great mom!
  3. Why?  The main reason I wanted another dog was to give Tippy a companion when I am not home.  A.C. and I discussed this and, as much as I hate to admit it, I realized that was my only reason.  It wasn’t so I would have another dog to love and do things with.  (Not that I wouldn’t have loved Star.  I’m sure I would.  It just wasn’t my reason for wanting her.)
  4. Tippy and I are good together.  She’s happy.  I’m happy.  We know each other.  I don’t have to worry about her.  If she wants outside, I can just let her out and know that she will go do her thing and be back in a few minutes.  If she wants back in the house, she lets me know by looking in my bay window.  If she wants out, she snuggles my hand and goes to the door.   She adapts to my crazy schedule.  Why throw in another dog and potentially mess with that?
    Looking in the window
    Mom, I’m ready to come back in now.

    While I feel a little guilty about not taking Star, I am confident that I have made the right decision.  I am hoping that A.C. will keep her.  She is considering it, as one of her dogs is 16 years old and in failing health.  If not, I know that she will make sure Star gets to a good, loving home when the time comes.  In the meantime, Tippy and Star will still have play dates and sleepovers.  It just won’t be permanent.

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THE TRIAL, TAKE TWO

My first trial with Star lasted less than a day.  Not because it didn’t work out, but because I wound up working the next day and didn’t want to leave her in the crate for 8 + hours.  So, the trainer came and took her back.  Since then, I have been crazy busy working, volunteering, playing tennis, and going on vacation for a week.

I went by and picked up Star for take two of the trial this past Thursday afternoon.  Tippy was NOT happy when she first got out of the car.  I don’t know if it was the fact that Star got to ride and she didn’t, or if it was the close proximity of a delicious bone that Tippy and I had a round over the day before.  At any rate, I got the bone and threw it away, untied Tippy, and all was well.  I laughed at them with one of Tippy’s old bones.  Star would get it and chew on it for a minute, leave it, Tippy would get it, leave it, Start would get it, leave it, etc.  I think they really didn’t want it, just didn’t want the other one to have it either.  LOL

Tippy, Star, and the bone
Okay Star. You can have it for a minute, but don’t forget, it IS mine.

She has gotten a taste of what it will be like living with me, as I went that evening and played tennis and then worked for a few hours yesterday afternoon.  (I substitute teach at a local daycare, so never know when I will be needed.)  While I was gone, I left her and Tippy in their crates.

I thought I was going to play tennis after work yesterday, so had mom and dad come up to do a trial run of taking both dogs for a walk.  I had dad to get Star out of her crate.  At first, she was afraid of him, barking and cowering at the back of the crate.  They had been here when I had her before and she was okay with him.  Not sure what the fear was about unless it was the fact that he started coughing when he bent down to put the leash on her.  After the initial fear, and she was out of the crate, everything went well.  It rained, so I didn’t get to play tennis, but mom and dad had already taken them for a walk before I got home.  They said she did great.  This, too, is part of living with me, so it was good for all concerned.

I am leaning toward keeping Star, but today Tippy seems unhappy that she is here.  So, I am still on the fence.  What has Tippy done to make me feel that way, you may be asking?  Well, it started this morning.  When I got up, Tippy was laying under the window in my bedroom.  The bedroom has been a “no Tippy zone” ever since she has been an inside dog and she has respected that boundary, for the most part.  She has never been in there at night.  I am thinking that she was wanting space from Star, even though Star was in her crate and not making any noise.  I found her laying in there later this morning too.  I laid down with her, talked to her, and petted her.  She just seemed sad.

I have been outside with them a lot today and Tippy is mostly ignoring Star, who just wants to be as close to me as possible.

Star at my feet
Star, laying at my feet.

Tippy has come by for some lovin’, but has mostly been standoff-ish.

If it were a question of just adopting Star and Tippy wasn’t involved, there would be no hesitation.  But, I’ve had Tippy for 3 years and part of my wanting to get another dog was to give her a companion when I’m gone.  If she is going to be unhappy, I will have to say no, as much as I hate to.  I wonder if Tippy will ever get over the jealousy, and, if so, how long it will take?

I am busy again all week next week, so the trainer is going to come this afternoon to take Star back to her house.  After that, I have already told the daycare I can’t work for two weeks because I have to do all the last minute things that need to be done before our Relay For Life event on June 11th. I will probably to a take three then and see if Tippy comes around.    (BTW, Tippy wanted in the house a few minutes ago.  So I let her in and Star and I stayed outside.  That is so unlike her.)

If you have gotten a second dog and had to deal with jealousy, I would love to hear your story.

MAKING ME A BETTER PERSON

Resting after a walk

One of the things I am working on with Tippy is to NOT pull when she is on the leash.  She weighs 65 pounds and is as strong as an ox.  If I let her pull, she could potentially pull me down or get away from me in a dangerous situation.  To keep this from happening, if she starts to pull, I will stop and call her to come back and sit beside me until she settles down.  We continue with our walk, and, if she pulls again, we repeat the process until she can walk with no pulling.

One day, a couple of weeks ago, I had taken her out for her morning constitution before getting ready for a day of substitute teaching at a local day care/preschool.  I was sort of in a hurry, but she started pulling.  I know that she had caught a whiff of something that had been out the night before, but that is no excuse. Being in a hurry, I was tempted to just let it go, but knew that I needed to be consistent.  We started the training session described above.  After the fifth time of calmly calling her back to sit by me, having only gone about 10 steps, I said to her:  “What are you doing?  Trying to teach me patience for my day with the children ?”

Then it hit me!  That was exactly what she was doing.  If I could be calm and patient with her, I could be calm and patient with the children. I don’t have to get frustrated when they don’t listen the first time.  I still need to get them to mind, but in a more calm, assertive way.  This is just one example of how Tippy has made me a better person and a better teacher.

Do you have a story of how your dog/pet has made you a better person?  If so, I’d love to hear it.