Editorial January 2003 Issue

A Two-Dog Household

You knew this was going to happen, didnít you?

About four years ago, when my 10-year-old son, Eli, first started asking for a dog of his own, I told him that we couldnít possibly get another dog until Rupert died. Rupe has never been all that interested in other dogs, preferring by far to spend time with humans. Today I understand that this is due to my failure to do all I should have done to socialize him. Nevertheless, he doesnít like it when other dogs come over to our house, or worse, stay a few days. And Iíve always thought that, as a senior citizen, Rupe deserved to live as the undisputed canine king of his own home in his final years.

The problem (at least, as my son has seen it) is that Rupert has lived a lot longer than I originally thought he would! Four years ago, when I told Eli that he would have to wait for Rupert to pass before he could get a dog, I didnít think Rupe would last more than another year or so. Heís 13 now, and frankly, looking better now than he did four years ago.

Anyway, as Iíve mentioned before, my sisterís family dog came to stay with us for a few months last summer, as the family was cruising up the East Coast on a sailboat, and the long-haired Chihuahua was judged to be an unfit sailor. At the time, Mokie was just over a year old, and too full of energy (and too apt to chew on ropes and wires) to bring onto the boat. So they shipped him out here, and he got put to work testing training methods and products, modeling for photos, and, of course, winning my sonís heart. Oh yeah; mine, too.

So, that explains why sharp-eyed readers have seen a certain cute Chihuahua face in the pages of the most recent WDJ issues. Mokie never went home. As it turns out, only my sister (not her husband nor her two teenaged daughters) missed him, and even she didnít miss him a lot. Really, they are all too busy for such a busy little dog.

Fortunately, the engaging little scrap doesnít seem to register on Rupeís anti-dog radar. Could he be just too small (six pounds) for Rupert to really regard him as another dog? I donít know. For some reason, Mokie just doesnít set off Rupeís jealousy or need to assert himself as the dominant dog. The two of them mostly pretend not to see each other.

Happily, the two kids (Mokie and my son) get along famously. Eli enjoys teaching the quick little dog to do tricks, and Mokie loves sleeping under Eliís covers and wrestling over Beanie Babies. And, since Mokie is still apt to chew on things he finds on the floor, I no longer have to nag my son to keep his room picked up; I just say, ďHey Eli, Mokie just got something out of your room!Ē

Presto! The room gets cleaned.

-Nancy Kerns

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