Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Really Want this Dog...

...but I know I can't have him. Not only can I not add another dog to my family - I have 4 large dogs already - but they probably would not allow me to adopt him anyway, because like my other four, he would be hookd out to a run M-F from 8 am until 3 pm, and although my dogs have each other for companionship, ample runs which allow them to get plenty of exercise during the day, and sturdy, tight dog houses with small doors and fresh straw all winter long, I'm sure to someplace looking to adopt him out, that would not be deemed good enough.
Which is really too bad, because I know, deep in my heart, I could provide for this little guy pretty much everything he needs for his life. (Wait, I just looked it up, and it IS ok to be gone more than 4 hours IF you have another animal for companionship. How about 4 other dogs? Would that count? Maybe!)
The ad reads like this:

MUTLEY: A 14 month old Border Collie, possibly Aussie m...ix, Mutley is the sweetest guy, super friendly and easy going. He is a doll and everyone who meets him, agrees...he is one very special boy. Mutley loves taking walks and loves to play with other dogs, too. An all around wonderful dog, he is need of a special home where someone is not gone many hours. Mutley has under-sized kidneys that mean he has to go outside often and while he is totally housetrained, he can't hold his urine for long stretches. He would do great with a doggie-door or with someone around since he gives the perfect cue to go out. Mutley has lived in one home since a puppy but now, both guardians work too long outside the home so are hoping he can find a new life better suited to his situation. They will provide $250 toward his medical care as well as his current meds which help his kidneys work better. Mutley's vet would also be happy to provide the medications to any new family and would be happy to explain his situation further. He will not have a long life since his kidneys are congenitally deformed but he sure could have a happy life with someone who is up for all the fun he has to offer! Mutley is about 45 pounds and good with cats. He lives with a 6 yr old child now and is very tolerant of all the hugging!"
By:Glen Highland Farm http://www.glenhighlandfarm.com/  (Great site if you are a BC lover )

I have a Border Collie, Bramble, who is the love of my life. I waited more than 22 years to get a Border Collie, wanted one ever since I saw a shepherd and his border collie in a Dewar's ad in a Newsweek that many years ago.

(This ad is one from the same series that I saw back in about 1987 that had a shepherd in a tweed coat and cap, walking across a Scottish glen or field with sheep and a Border Collie. I have searched the past few years and can find this, and others from that ad series, but not the exact ad that I remember. It was that one specific ad that lit the match of desire in me to someday own my own BC)
 She is a high, high, high energy dog, and seriously deranged when it comes to "resting."  She doesn't "get" resting. It is a challenge, and admittedly a huge pain in the ass even, sometimes, to keep her busy. She gets a Kong toy filled, several times a day, just to keep her busy for a few minutes emptying it out. She gets a bone, or occasionally a rawhide chew, though I don't like them much, every day to keep her busy chewing for awhile. We play tug of war inside with dog rope things. We play tug of war outside with large chunks of branches, sometimes even a piece of firewood she tries to run around with. I throw a ball for her over and over and over. I chase her. She chases me. She chases and plays with the husky sometimes, but not as often as I would wish. The husky annoys her, because while Annie is chasing and tackling her, her main goal is to get away from Annie so that she can get back to ME, to continue playing with ME.  Annie would prefer to play with another dog - Bramble prefers to play with me. 24/7. 
     One of the things that has been difficult for me to deal with, with Bramble, though, is her incessant need to pee, constantly, it seems.   Housebreaking her was NOT an easy task, and I can't even say that she IS completely housebroken. She is fairly trustworthy IF I follow a strict and unvarying schedule. This includes making sure that she sleeps upstairs with us at night, and putting a baby gate across the top of the stairs. If she can't get downstairs when she has to go out, she will come to my side of the bed and give a muffled half of a "woof" to let me know she has to go out. Most nights it is twice, usually early-ish around 11:30, (I go to bed on the early side, and would go even earlier to read, and possibly to sleep really early some nights, if it weren't for trying to stay up later for the dogs' sake) and then again between 2 and 3:30 sometime. Then she will bark around 6:30 if we are not up, on weekends, because that is usually when ALL the dogs go out in the morning.My other three dogs could easily go out at 8 pm, and then be fine until 6:30 or 7 every morning, so it baffles me that Bramble needs to go so often, still.  And it's not just a "habit" as it has been said that I have "indulged" her in, because if she sleeps downstairs in her chair, which she actually prefers, she leaves several wet spots on the rug letting me know that she truly DOES have to go out at night. Letting her sleep downstairs gives me my beauty sleep, but ruins the carpet, so I'm just used to getting up to let her out every night. I also happened to hear from another BC owner today, randomly, who saw my post of Muttley's ad on my FB page, and she said her BC has the same kidney issue as Muttley. NOW I'm beginning to wonder if that might not be Bramble's problem, too. Maybe it is a breed tendency that I wasn't aware of. I need to talk to my vet about this at some point.
     Now, before you question why ANYONE would feel it necessary to write an entire post on the urination habits of a dog, let me just say, it's the WHOLE reason, or most of it, for feeling so deeply pulled by Muttley's plight.  I feel like "hey, I'm up anyway a couple times a night. I bet he doesn't have to pee anymore frequently than Bramble does, so if I'm up with her, why not get up with him, too?"  As opposed to someone else taking him in, and then getting annoyed to have their sleep interrupted in ways that they aren't used to, or weren't necessarily planning on. I don't want someone to get disgusted with him, and since I've been doing this for a year and a half now, I am used to it, and wouldn't mind adding one more to the mix. Bramble exhausts me, and I know I was not prepared for her energy level, and I know I often let her down. I feel like getting her was a bad thing for her, like she got a bad deal in me, because I don't have sheep for her to herd, and I'm not even very reliable about taking her for a long walk every day. Granted, she does have the back yard to race and tear around in after I get home for work, and I do TRY to make sure she has an outlet every day for some of her energy, both mental and physical, but I KNOW I fall short, and that makes me feel so very guilty. So why would I even dream of taking in another Border Collie? I. DON'T. KNOW.
     I wish I could explain it. I wasn't looking for another dog. I don't even skim rescue sites, or Petfinder, or Craig's List EVER, because I am at my limit with 4 large dogs. My children do not love the fact that we, I, have a house full of animals. They LOVE the animals, but do NOT love the hair, the noise, the chaos, the mess. Our house is a difficult one to bring friends home to for, say, movie watching, or hanging out - because the dogs just make this house always feel so ... full. They are just always there, in your way, at your feet, in the same room. I do feel a bit guilty for shortchanging the kids a bit, too, in this regard, although they do, as I say, love the individual dogs and cats.  Adding one more would not only be a bad idea but would make them pretty unhappy, I think. (Though I do only have 2 left at home for another 8 months, and then only 1 for a year and 8 months, and after that, none)  I have less time left at home for my kids than the life expectancy of this new dog, however limited.
     Which brings me to another thought I've had. If his life expectancy is shortened due to the kidney issues, then it wouldn't really be like taking on the lifetime responsibility for another dog with a normal lifespan. It wouldn't be like adding the responsibility of another 12-15 years of dog care to our life. It seems as though his life span might be more in line with that of my older three dogs, who, at the moment, are about 8 or 9,  7, and about 5.I think it is likely, if Bramble DOESN"T have this same kidney issue, but is just a peeing kind of girl, that her life span could reasonably and far exceed that of the other three, and Muttley, too. I just feel this deep, nearly inexplicable need to take in Muttley, love him, care for him, maybe have Bramble as a playmate, and take as good care of him as I can for the lifetime he does have.
     But I don't DARE bring it up around here. I just KNOW it wouldn't fly, and it makes me sad, because this isn't a dog I want for ME, but because I could be good for HIM. I could be Muttley's best chance. If someone else could give him an even better home, I would be ecstatic. I don't need the stress and hassle of another dog, just for the fun of it. But I would be more than willing to take him in and do the right thing for him because I know I could. And he's adorable. Who could not love that face?  A Border Collie's face is one of it's most endearing qualities. Those eyes.  Sigh. I love and adore BC's.
     The other thing that always worries me, though, too, is that I wonder when you reach that actual "animal hoarder" stage, where you think you're doing the right thing, and you truly love the animals  you take in, but your intentions are very misguided.  I don't know when you get there, and I'm pretty sure that you don't recognize it in yourself, but I think it's pretty clear to other people. I don't think 5 dogs (and 7 cats -indoor/outdoor, and  a dozen chickens - NOT house pets...) qualifies me just yet, but I do worry. I think you have to be unable or unwilling to provide proper medical care, proper food, etc. and live in kinda gross conditions, and that 's not me. Given enough warning, I'd still invite almost anyone to my house... but then, like I said, maybe you just think you're normal and the way you live is normal, still, and so maybe adding another dog, even out of the best of intentions, would put me more into that hoarder category? Or, maybe if you're worried about it, then it CAN"T be you (much like when I was having panic attacks, and was deathly afraid I was going crazy, but was reassured that if you are truly "going crazy" you're usually not worrying about it, and if you're really worried that you are losing your mind, you're not...)  SO does that mean that if I'm worried that I might be an animal hoarder, then I'm really not, and I COULD adopt Muttley?
     I really wish I didn't feel these compulsions, these convictions, to SAVE everything under the sun. I spend a lot of time wondering what my life will be like when I can get back down to ONE dog and ONE cat, you know, a NORMAL kind of life. But then, I sort of chuckle, because I really don't think that's probably ever likely to happen, for real. A girl can dream, can't she? Of both fewer animals in this house, and, perhaps, one more - a dog who really needs her.
Gosh, I want this dog.


Peruby said...

Oh, that's a tough one. You have many good points and just as many reasons not to adopt. It is a constant struggle with us, isn't it? Good luck and no matter which choice you make - remember that we all do the best that we can given any situation.

Northmoon said...

Seems like a good fit with your other border collie. They do need a lot of attention though. Good luck with your choice either way.

Tough call when enough animals becomes too many. I love animals and would have lots and lots if I had space. However, I lost one of my cats this year and my house feels less pressured with only six. So I think I had too many to give my best attention to each, but as you said it wasn't clear until after the number was reduced.