Reading another great blog today wherein Oilfield Trash referenced his 10% Theory, made me recall our "Two Dog Theory."
As some of you may know, we have a 9 year old rescue dog named Hank. He is of the most handsome persuasion (he made me write that) and we loves him much. Since we got Hank right after we moved to the country with lots of extra acres to spare, we didn't hesitate to rescue another pup from our local shelter. Roger was of the very sweet and lovable, though particularly dim, persuasion. Roger was with us for several months when one evening he and Hank went venturing off our property. Now, what two 50+ lb. dogs could not accomplish on our multiple acres that they had to actually travel an extended amount of time to just get clear of, we have no idea. But they did and in the wee hours of the morning Hank came home. Alone.
After an extensive search and even a lost pet notice published in the local newspaper, we never saw Roger Dog again. It was a very sad time at our house. Even Hank seemed a somewhat forlorn that his little buddy was missing. He had to chase squirrels and Joe Kitty all by himself. And we all know how un-fun that can be.
Fast forward to the next year. Big Daddy's brother in the next county had a yellow Lab momma with a litter of pups. They had found homes for all but one. Afterwards we figured out why. But by that time I was in lurve with Cecil and there was no way I wasn't going to take him home with me.
Cecil was of the solid like concrete persuasion and only slighter smarter. He was BIG for a pup and we wondered if we could afford to feed him and Hank plus the horses. But he was very very lovable and he LOVED riding in the truck. We had to park the truck outside the fence when he was out so he wouldn't tackle the truck trying to jump in the back. We knew we couldn't afford to add auto body bills to an already ginormous dog food bill.
When Cecil was about 10 months old (and 80+ lbs), he had a terrible seizure. We rushed him to the vet and after a very close brush with death and several IVs of medicine, he was stablized after two days and had a positive prognosis. The vet speculated that it was either poison (set out by neighboring ranchers to kill ground hogs) or a genetic condition that would require daily medication. It was a wait and see situation. After a couple of restful days at home, Cecil perked up and ate his breakfast for the first time in 4 days. We thought he was going to make it. The next night, he suffered another really bad seizure. It only lasted a couple of minutes and when he came to, he seemed exhausted. We decided to take him back to the vet. He walked himself to a corner of the yard and laid down. He wouldn't come to us when we beckoned him. So we left him alone and checked on him periodically through the night. He was breathing and sleeping so we thought getting to the vet the next morning would be okay. Hank was by his side the whole time.
The next morning dawned and before I got out of my pajamas I went to check on Cecil. He was gone. As in left the property. Hank was, too. Part of me was hoping Cecil was fine and they went off on an adventure (which they knew they weren't supposed to do) but it still made me feel relief that he was going to be okay after all.
Hank came home the next day. Alone. We never saw Cecil again.
Some time after that I picked up a scared, skinny little yellow Lab female in the middle of the highway. I brought her home and fed her. Posted a notice in the newpaper about a found dog. No responders. So she became Macy. About 3 weeks later Macy went off with Hank.
Hank came back home later. Alone.
September 2008: a friend's Mastiff had 9 pups and not enough dinner plates. So "Bart" got kicked out of the kitchen. We bottle fed him and got him nice and fat and happy. The best thing about Bart was that you could not talk him out of the house or yard away from the food bowl if your life depended on it. We were confident that Bart would not be persuaded to follow Hank out on one of his "two go out, one comes back" excursions.
December 2008: We came home to one dog in the yard. Hank.
So, along with witnessing the fun (?) our friends have with multiple children and our own luck with multiple dogs, we are true believers of the One Dog Theory. We judiciously applied it to our family plan. One kid also.
We have made it abundantly clear to Hank that he is NOT considered an adequate supervisor for the child.