I have a reputation in my town. I don't know what it is but I know it exists because when I walk my dogs, people will frequently make comments like "Oh, you're the lady with three Tollers" or "Ah yes. I've heard of Cricket".
I imagine my reputation is something akin to Crazy Dog Lady. After all, people have a tendency to be intimidated by things en masse. One little ladybug is cute, but a hundred? Get out the bug spray. So goes the reaction to multiple dogs, especially of the same breed. Last year we had four of Daintree's dogs and suddenly we weren't walking three Tollers; we had seven. The looks. The whispers. The straight up comments: "Are you guys insane?"
If you’re thinking of adding another dog to your home, you aren’t crazy. It’s normal to want to give your dog a buddy, especially if you’re away for long stretches of time. But before you rush out and get that extra dog bed, consider a few things:
Be honest. How much do you actually walk your first dog? If he’s a senior and sleeps 23.5 hours of the day, you’ll have to find more time in your schedule for the new pup.
Be realistic. How old is your first dog? Does he get along better with girls or boys? Has he ever met another pup? All dogs get fed up of manic puppy energy but if your dog has no tolerance for a pup you should consider a mature dog instead.
Be patient. You’ll be introducing another personality to your home so stow the frustration if the dogs aren’t besties right away. You’ll have to guide them through the process of sharing, especially around food and toys.
Most importantly, be faithful. Your first dog was your first so never let him feel second. Jealousy brings out the worst in everyone.
Now ignore the comments about your sanity. Laugh at the raised eyebrows. Be confident you've got this.
Because you do.
Brigitte Mah is a dog collector, recovering vegetarian, and a confessed cheese addict. She has written for numerous newspapers and magazines, both local and national. When she's not correcting everyone's grammar on Facebook, she is tossing her dogs in the car and heading out to the nearest crag.