Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Five-Minute Blog: Dog Trails

One of the cutest things about living in this much snow is that everywhere I can see where dogs have been. Sometimes that is gross, but I don't mean the yellow snow. I mean their little footprints. There is an empty lot a few houses down from us, and it is criss-crossed with dog tracks. Some are so small the dogs must have been up to their bodies in snow (like our dog, Tula). Some are huge, and I think they come from the village's many big dogs.

Since this is a blog and I can ramble with impunity, let me get off on a side note: This village has really fancy dogs. I have never seen a dog here that I would call a "mutt." Some aren't purebred, but all are identifiable breeds. We even have some unusual ones: Near our old apartment was a house where three very cute French bulldogs lived. Someone around our neighborhood walks a Swiss Mountain Dog. There is a couple near the American Legion that has two Boxers. There's a house on the next block with two Westies. Our neighbor has a Pomeranian and a Labrador Retriever. Even we have a Cocker Spaniel. And the new people who just moved in at the end of the street and didn't even know about the Sackets Harbor Fancy Dog Rule just got a Springer Spaniel puppy.

But I guess you can expect this from a village that hosts a dog show.

We are thinking about getting a second dog. We've been thinking about it for a year. We do not make impulsive dog decisions. Our parents tell us we should not get a second dog, but we may ignore them. Joe's mother doesn't mind the idea of a second dog because she worries that Tula is lonely while we are at work. They have good, rational reasons for not wanting us to get a second dog: 1. It would be more expensive. 2. It would take up more room. 3. We'd have to board two dogs when we went anywhere. 4. Sometimes two dogs get into trouble. 5. The new dog may teach our good dog Tula bad habits.

Here are the reasons we may want the second dog, though:

1. It's kind of fun to spend money on a dog. I don't know why that is, but it's satisfying. We have good jobs, so we can afford it. Anyway, Tula doesn't cost that much, and she's a cocker spaniel, the most high maintenance dog there is. (In fact, I'm taking her to the vet today because I think she has an ear infection.)

2. It's fun to watch dogs interact. Unless we get our own dog, we will never see this because all my English-teaching friends have cats. (We'd have cats too if Joe wasn't allergic to them.) We barely like making friends as it is, much less making friends so our dogs could play.

3. A second dog might make Tula's weekdays more pleasant. She's alone for about eight hours while I'm at work. (Except for the middle of the day, when the dog walker -- yes, I said it -- dog walker comes to visit her.)

4. A second dog might make Tula's whole life more pleasant. Right now, she only has us, and we don't speak dog. We think about when we lived in Italy. I LOVED speaking Italian, but it was a struggle, even once I got relatively proficient. I couldn't ever say exactly what I meant, and I had to listen really hard to the other speaker. When Joe was gone and I spent a few days only speaking Italian, it was (I hate to admit) a relief to speak English on post or with the Nigerian peddlers who came around selling socks. Sometimes I think having a second dog would give Tula that feeling of speaking her own language, of being able to say entirely what she means.

5. Sleeping with Tula is my favorite part of having a dog. She is warm, and she is also very sweet to see first thing in the morning. It seems like two dogs to sleep with would be twice as warm and twice as sweet.

6. Tula may be a spoiled little pill. I'm not sure because we seldom have a dog with whom to compare her. It seems like a second dog would keep us from spoiling Dog 1 and making her bad. (For the record, we have different ways of spoiling Tula: Joe spoils her by giving her treats whenever she looks pitifully at him. I spoil her by carrying her to bed so she doesn't have to wake up.)

We are looking at a dog in Saratoga County. His name is Harris, and he is a pitiful black cocker spaniel. I'm going to e-mail his shelter today and ask more about him before we drive three hours to see a DOG. It's a scary thing to think about getting the second dog, though. What if we are wrong? What if the second dog makes us all miserable?

But what if he doesn't?

So, we may be making two sets of dog prints through the snow soon. We'll see.

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