I've been thinking a lot about dogs lately. As you probably know if you've been reading this for a while, the household has been dogless since mid-December, when Jessie died. Jessie was a Black Labrador who lived to be nearly 15. Her sister Nellie, a Yellow Labrador, had died a year beforehand. I'd had the same dogs for nearly half my life.
Mom and I have been kicking around the idea of getting another dog, but there are a lot of things to consider. I like dogs, when they are well behaved. I'm not wild on being jumped on or otherwise mauled by dogs (Yes, I willingly confess I am more of a cat person, but I do like dogs!). Puppies, though adorable, can be incredibly annoying and destructive. A dog that lives here HAS TO BE good with cats and chickens. That's a very black and white area, it simply cannot have an inclination to chase or kill either of those critters, or it won't stay here. Calm is good.
I don't want to a "buy" a dog. There are so many out there in shelters, I don't see that being a good option for someone who isn't looking for a purebred/show dog/something with papers/something from particular bloodlines or for a particular purpose (all of which are valid reasons to breed dogs, though I'm pretty down on backyard puppy-producers otherwise).
Yet, the idea of bringing an adult or young adult dog into this house, with no knowledge of its background, is pretty daunting. We have had dogs in the past who could not stay because they were much too predatory, and they were sent onward to homes without other pets, where they were a much better fit.
Jessie and Nellie were fabulous with the birds, at least in their older years. Jessie slipped a few times with the ducks when she was young, but I do think it was because she was an actively-used retriever for my duck-hunting brother at the time. We got those dogs when they were little puppies, and I took them right into the coops from the very start so they learned that chickens were not on the menu, and the cats were to be left alone. Probably the best way to ensure that kind of personality again is to start with a puppy. But that makes me go "aaaaack! Noooooo!"
Do I even want another dog? Yes, but there are a lot of things I'm potentially really not looking forward to. Next dog will be allowed in the house, which brings up all sorts of other training issues. The cats are neurotic enough already! Would there have to be baby gates all over the place? I can't take a chance on having a new (unknown, not trusted yet) dog in the studio unless I am there. (Ha ha, this same issue comes up as Mom is starting to babyproof the house for when my niece visits, I say "she can't come in here by herself! I can't babyproof this equipment!")
I dunno. Any advice, all you doggie people out there? I feel like bringing in an unknown adult dog may be a really bad thing (or it could be fine). I don't relish the idea of doing the puppy thing again, but I would if it's the best way to make sure the dog is ideally trained and suited to living with small furry and feathery things. Probably looking for another Lab or Lab mix. Mom will veto anything with Pit Bull in it.
I just want Jessie back. :-( Or Nellie. Or Gio (best dog ever, no offense to the others here). Or Annie. Or Aku. Or Duke.