Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Deciding On A Second Dog

When Greta joined the family back in 2005, we were committed to letting her be the "top dog" - or, in other words, an only child. Of course, this didn't stop us from looking at available dogs online on a regular basis. "Jawless Johnny" - a little Dachshund without a lower jawbone who had been abandoned in a public bathroom - was one who especially pulled at our heartstrings. We even went so far as to submit an application to Buffalo Pug & Small Breed Rescue to start the adoption process, but luckily for Johnny, he had already found a home!

When I began working at an animal shelter earlier this year, we were once again presented with the opportunity to add a second dog to our little clan. I started fostering dogs on a semi-regular basis, and although they were all great in different ways (Peanut was a cuddler, Freddy loved to play endless rounds of fetch, Dominic was feisty and amusing, Bianca adored being brushed), none of them seemed like just the right dog for our family.

Over the summer, a wonderful blind black lab named Otis showed up at the shelter. With his super sweet disposition, everyone promptly fell in love with him, including me. I have always been more of a small dog person, but 80 pound Otis promptly won me over! He had the endearing habit of "shaking" your hand with his paw and gently nuzzling to get belly scratches.

I went online to learn more about blind dogs and found some great information at sites like and The more I read, the more I was certain that a blind dog like Otis could do just fine with us. Convincing my husband, however, was another matter! With Otis in the back of my mind, we packed up and jetted off to California and Nevada (with Greta in tow) for a long-awaited family vacation.

During our trip, I had plenty of time to reflect. Although I felt a special connection with Otis, I could appreciate Michael's concerns about introducing a big lab into our relatively small apartment. As it turned out, Otis found a home while we were out of town and I was very happy for him. I accepted his good fortune as fate and returned home resolved to focus on Greta and stop thinking about a second dog...

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