Growing up, we always had cats as pets. Cats are pretty low maintenance they don't mind being left alone all day, they clean themselves and they poop in a box. If you don't mind sharing your yogurt and having your Christmas tree knocked over regularly, they are pretty easy to have around.
But last weekend, we went from a "no dog household" to a "two dog household" in a matter of 24 hours. One dog, Channing, is temporary; we are looking after him for my niece and her wife while they are down south for a week. But the other dog, Pippa, is ours for good.
People told me that dogs are a lot of work, and they were 100% right on that. Dogs need way more of your time and attention than cats. But, oh my God, do they ever give it back....I've had many a cat tell me in it's cat way that they love me, but I don't think I've ever had anyone gaze at me with quite the adoration of a dog.
Channing is a Golden retriever/border collie cross. Which means he is pretty smart, has lots of energy and likes plenty of treats. Since retrievers are the frat boys of the dog world, and border collies are no dummies, this means that Channing is a big goof with enough sense to stay on the right side of the law. . He likes to get in on my side of the bed when I get up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, which is a big surprise when you come back to bed and forget you have a dog temporarily. On Sunday morning, when the Mister and I usually sleep in late, Channing HAD to get up on the bed with me, so I was sandwiched in between he and the Mister, and since they both give off enough heat to power a hospital, I got so sweaty I thought I was going to throw up. Channing is an excellent dog.
Pippa, our newest family member is a 2 year old corgi/terrier mix. Thing 1 got her from a rescue organization, which means that Pip didn't get the best start in life (we think she was used as a breeder in a puppy mill), but she's landed with us, and I think she's going to enjoy her life very much from now on. She is just the loveliest dog; sweet tempered, cuddly and incredibly quiet. She's like a cat in dog form. She has tragically short little legs and a corkscrew tail, and could not be any cuter if she tried.
Unlike cats, dogs need to be walked. And these dogs would prefer it if I walked them every hour or so, and I understand why, because this is their very favorite time of the day. Channing is so excited to be out in the world that he has to see it all at once and preferably right now. This means that he would pull your arm right out of your socket and not care one ounce. The first part of any walk with Chan requires that I be dragged to the school yard a block away, where I take him off his leash and let him catch his frisbee for 10 minutes, so that he burns off some energy and I can walk him without danger of being pulled off my feet and hauled along the sidewalk behind him. I haven't been to the gym in a week.
Pippa of the Short Legs requires about 1/3 of the walk that Channing does, because her little self has to work three times as fast to keep up. And keeping up is the most important thing in the universe for that dog. God forbid we fall behind Channing. (It does occur to me that little dogs have NO IDEA they are little. They don't look in a mirror and they just think they are as big as they want to think they are. ) She will also yank your arm out of your socket, but for a much shorter length of time.
One thing I have to thank these dog for is that they have made me go outside about 100 times more than I would have, had they not been here. I am an unabashed cold-weather wimp, and chose to mainly go from the car to my destination in as short a time as possible in the winter. But these guys have required that I bundle up and go out a couple of times a day, and for a good while, too. To my surprise, I've enjoyed it....the cold, clear morning that I watched the sun come up, the snowy evening when it was so quiet I could hear the flakes hit the ground, the bright, sunny, bitterly cold afternoon, they have all been pleasant reminder that winter can be something more than a season to be endured and ridden out.
The cat has gotten used to the dogs; she and Channing have come to an understanding and she ignores Pippa completely. I wonder if she is enjoying not having the laser-like focus of our collective attention off of her, or if she's pissed that there is now a dog on my bed when it used to be solely hers.
Channing goes home today; I will take him to the dog park before we leave, where he will run in circles and bark his fool head off and sniff all the other dog bums there are to sniff, and I will thank him for all he has done for me this week: now one dog will seem like no dogs. And my floors have never been so clean.