It’s been four years since I lost my soul-dog, the beloved Bossy Little Dog, Murphy.
I still had Sophie of course, and she adjusted pretty well to being an only dog. Murphy wasn’t much company for her in the last months of his life.
So she was an only dog for almost a year, until I woke up one day with an urge to get a kitten. (Spoiler alert: I did not get a kitten.) Ellie fit into the household like she was meant to be; she’s smart, affectionate, well behaved, and everything a cat should be. She is the Finest Cat Who Ever Catted. But, she’s not a dog. She is good company for Sophie, but it’s not the same.
My downstairs neighbor had her adult daughter staying with her temporarily; her daughter has a precious little Yorkie mix (she was told it was purebred, but naah) and Sophie fell in love with her. They moved out a couple of weeks ago, and Sophie still pauses in the courtyard to see if her little friend is there. She’d love to have another small doggie friend, and I think it would be good for her health.
Sophie is now 10 and a half, she’s had some health issues and is now starting to develop cataracts. She’s basically at the stage Murphy was in when I brought Sophie into the family – he was around 9 and just starting his battle with lymphangiectasia, and she was a year old, given up by a show breeder who just had too many Bostons. They felt she wasn’t getting enough attention in the crowd, so she became mine. It was a great match from day one, and Murphy went from acting like a droopy old man focused on his digestive troubles to his fun, bossy self overnight. I swear she added years to his life with her companionship.
So I’ve had great luck with blending new animals into the family so far, and I want to do it again. I’ve been looking, but damn, it’s hard! I know it’s hard because I’m somewhat picky: I want a young adult, preferably 5 years or younger, with no chronic health issues right off the bat, because I already have an expensive health issues dog. It needs to get along with dogs, cats and kids, and be 20 lbs or under (preferably 15 lbs or under) so they’re compatible on walks. And it needs to have that – indefinable spark – that I see when I meet a dog that will be sympatico, and blend with the household.
Yeah. EVERY TIME a dog that fits appears in a search, it gets snatched up before I can finish filling out the inquiry form. The rest, while I’m sure would be the right dog for someone else, wouldn’t work for me:
Must be on a strict medication schedule for chronic issues;
can’t walk on a leash so must have a fenced yard;
must have someone at home all day because of severe separation anxiety (boy, there’s a lot of that)
and the far too frequent refrain: Must be an Only Dog. No Cats, No Kids please.
So, apparently a lot of small dogs are given up for adoption because they are high maintenance assholes. One of the bios of an otherwise suitable-sounding shih tzu mix actually described him as high maintenance, and said he’ll be aggressive with other dogs while demanding all of your attention. They didn’t use the word “asshole,” but I could read between the lines.
Yesterday alone, two very promising little candidates were snatched out from under me in hours. It’s challenging and depressing, especially when my own cousin who had a Yorkie was just GIVEN another one by a friend who couldn’t keep her, and now has two happy little dogs whose pictures are all over Facebook. Grrr. I’m willing to drive all over the state for the right dog. There should be a matchmaking service.