04 September 2021

'The dog ate my homework' and other true stories

We have been dog owners for five years now, and we cannot imagine life without our doggy boy, Clyde.

Back in 2016, while in the middle of a messy marriage breakup, I decided to get us a puppy. It was counterintuitive, and many people questioned my sanity - surely I had enough on my plate? Why add the stress of a baby dog to my to-do list?

But it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I went with my gut, and we never looked back.

Animals have such a therapeutic effect on people who are struggling with overwhelm or anxiety  - there is nothing like doggy kisses and snuggles to lift a drooping spirit. Dogs are fantastic medicine for the soul.

So if one dog is good, surely two dogs are even better?

Best Buds

A couple of months back, when a member of our household was struggling with horrible depression, I got that gut feeling again: let's get another puppy. 

I know the anchoring effect my children have had for me in my darkest moments and I had a sense that a new puppy would be like an anchor for this person. Something to care for, a creature depending on you to stick around. 

So we hit the DC Rescue Dogs page = the same place we found Clyde = and came across the cutest little girl. She looks like a black lab puppy, but her parents are a curious mix of Rottweiler (dad) and Daschund/Terrier cross (mum). Can you even imagine that picture?

Indie does not look like a weird mix of breeds

The result of that liaison could have resulted in a real mishmash, but somehow those odd ingredients combined to make the prettiest puppy we've ever seen.

With some trepidation we drove to Hamilton with Clyde, to introduce him to his potential new sister. If they didn't hit it off, we wouldn't be allowed to take her home, so we really hoped Clyde would be a good boy. Our hearts were in our mouths just a bit because Clyde sometimes takes against other dogs for no apparent reason (remember Buddy?). We were crossing our fingers that this girl puppy would find favour.

But phew, Clyde was a good lad, the puppy's foster mum gave us the thumbs up, and all of a sudden we were a two-dog family.

Bringing Indie home - the world's happiest puppy

Her name is Indie and she is the happiest puppy in the world. Every morning she bounces awake and does the rounds of the family, kissing everyone and wagging her tail. That tail never stops wagging.

She took a while to get the hang of toileting - she's a bit of a princess and didn't like squatting on the cold ground. Thankfully she is Clyde's biggest fangirl and has to do everything he does - eventually that extended to using the backyard for her business instead of leaving surprises dotted around the house.

Canine Security Squad

Clyde has not only taught her toiletiquette, but also how to Guard Dog. Together they take up their surveillance positions - on my bed or on the couch, monitoring the front windows. Anyone walking past gets a low-throated growl followed by a frenzy of barking from two doggies now. Couriers think twice about approaching the house, which means we are pretty safe from burglars thanks to our canine security detail.

Indie is a high-energy, super-happy pup who weirdly loves to chew sticks, rocks and paper.

I never understood the reason for the "my dog ate my homework" excuse until I met Indie - she's a menace with paper. Toilet paper is her favourite. Many's the morning we have awoken to trails of white stuff strewn around the lounge. But if she can't get hold of toilet paper, any paper will do. I came home from work one day to find that she had selected one of my spiral-bound journals for a snack. Argh!

The cushions in this picture did not survive

She also has a thing for cushions. Sigh. So many cushions have met their end on the mornings Indie wakes up early and there's nobody to play with. Along with charger cables and spectacles. She really is a menace when it comes to chewing stuff.

But apart from the chewing, Indie is a total blessing.

She is super obedient, has great recall and loves to play fetch (unlike certain older dogs we could name).  She also has the silkiest softest fur.

Her joy at life is contagious. She has completely filled the role of 'emotional support animal'

I don't know how we would be surviving this lockdown without our happy little Indie.

Indie lights up the place with her endlessly waving flag of a tail, her enthusiastic kisses, and general awesomeness. She greets every return from the store as if she'd been parted from us for months. Dogs give so much love, and Indie gives even more than most.

Having one dog was good but having two dogs? It's the best.

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