From 2000

Naturally it´s a big difference between having only one dog and having several. You have to spread your favours. Dogs can be really jealous. You have to tread carefully so that no-one feels left out.

Our five dogs live as pets in our home, so we have them around us all the time. They really are five individuals with different personalities, but it´s not as personal a relationship as when we only had one dog.

We had Dolly (Josal Dolly Mixture) as our only dog for nearly five years and that was an entirely different time. We´ve always had several dogs at a time, but to experience how close you can get to dogs when you only have one was both different and wonderful. Dolly took part in most of the things- always close to where the action was.

She renovated houses (loved to lie under the sawmill and enjoy the noise), was more than happy to help out with gardening, enjoyed it when you vacuum cleaned around her and so on. When the fireplace was being swept she would lie between the chimney sweeper´s legs while he was working. Wonder if he thought it was all that fun really. When we had visiters Dolly would bring all her toys and old bones and put them in front of the visitor. She wanted everyone to see what great things she had.

Dolly is pregnant

Dolly and I worked together for a few years, but eventually she got tired of it and resigned. One morning when I said the usual "It´s time to go to work", she crawled under the bed to hide herself. At first she was forced to come along, but finally I realised that she really had quit as a clerk. She was allowed to stay at home like she wanted, but this meant it become very hectic for me. Every break (lunch) I had to go home and take her out for a walk.

We felt a bit sorry for Dolly who had to be alone so much (by her own choice) so a dog friend seemed like a good idea. Wrote to Jo Harris, Dolly´s breeder, who had reservations about getting an unknown dog. Dandies could become very jealous if things went wrong and in that case you’d have two dogs not liking each other. It would be better, Jo thought, to let Dolly have puppies and keep one of them. I remember like it was just yesterday how doubtful I felt about it as dogs can change in the same way as us women do when we become mothers. But Dolly needed a friend , so puppies there were. From that litter we kept Märta (Wimlett´s Sabrina).

Märta and Dolly

Certainly, a lot of things were different:

The toys , for instance, Dolly wanted to have for herself and Märta didn´t understand this, so it was safest to put them away and that´s the way it was with a lot of things. They loved each other and had lots of fun together, but could quarrel about the peg they’d found in the garden. Of course everything was Dolly´s as long as she felt like it, but like most youngsters Märta tested the ranking order every now and then.

New youngsters have been added since then and new tests have been carried through. That the ranking order now is settled is no guarantee of continued peace. Anyone can at any given time feel like carrying trough a new test. That we two-legged beings are at the top of the order is understood by everyone, so usually a few firm words are enough to restore the order.

Ouch, what sharp teeth puppies have! 

     Here are some examples of how life can be in a family with several dogs

You cuddle with one of the gang stealthy = You cuddle with five a few seconds later. You sneak a titbit to the only one who is nearby = Immediately four more have appeared for titbits. You eat an apple and share it with one of them = Four more bits and only the core remains to yourself. If one feels like having a party in the middle of the night = Four more feel like joining the party and loudly expresses this. One feels like digging up a beetle in the lawn = Helping paws arrive instantly.

Former beetle residence

One thinks he is hearing something mysterious that needs warning about = Quintuple alarm break out. If one is going to the vet, strangely enough all the others want to come along as well.

They know what time it is and when "Husse" is due to come home from work. Half an hour or so before the scheduled arrival, they believe they hear "Husse´s" car all the time. They bounce around shouting of joy. Let´s not enter upon what it´s like being in the same house as these five when "Husse" is late.

Then there are some variations. You start bathing one = Four have vanished into thin air. The same thing happens when it´s time for grooming or cutting claws. Then you´re going to the country. Carry one out to the car = Four think they´ve been forgotten and say so. Dinner time = Panic time. "My food first, my bowl first".

No doubt we have slightly different experiences of dog life, but we share our love for dogs.

Margreth Wall  



© Margreth Wall 2005-2009