When I was born our family dog (Toby) immediately decided I was his responsibility and much to my parent’s horror anytime he got the chance he would squeeze his way into the carrycot or pram to protect me. When he got the message that getting into the pram with me could seriously affect his living arrangements he settled for tossing slippers and shoes into me. I reckon it was thanks to Toby that I have always felt most at home as part of a pack (preferably populated by animals rather than humans).
I grew up and now I intend to grow old as a pack member. Over the years I’ve shared my life and my living space with a huge cast of animal pack mates and we always had a healthy respect for our individual positions in the pack and each other.
When our German Shepherd – Denver – had to be put down last October (2013) for health reasons – he was over 13 years old – I decided that was the end of the line and new dogs wouldn’t be added to the family.
That didn’t last and as a compromise I decided not to get another German Shepherd but to get a smaller breed instead. Two weeks ago Marian and I went to Kells in County Meath to look at a Chiweenie (Kaninchen Dachshund and Chihuahua crossbreed). He came home with us and invited his sister along too. Now I know getting two pups at the same time and especially litter mates is crazy, but they were the last two left from their litter and we just couldn’t leave one behind.
Our current pack now contains three humans (The Ban Chéile*, GUC#6 and me – GUC#6 has her own pack but spends so much time with us the animals have agreed she should have pack member status), Trigger (a 15 year old Pomeranian we inherited from my late father), Klaus & Dasha (our latest additions) and two bearded dragons Lucy & Oscar. There’s also another German Shepherd (Drako) and a cat (Tom) but they live in the little house in the country with GUC#4 and the whole pack only get together at weekends and during the summer months.
Pack life is the only one for me and our new additions will never replace any of their predecessors, but that isn’t the point anyway. I’m really looking forward to watching them grow and see their personalities develop. Potty training, on the other hand, I’m not having fun with!
* Ban-Cheile means Wife/Spouse/Life Partner in the Irish Language. A literal translation would be “woman I’m together with” or thereabouts. GUC = Grown Up Child 🙂