When I told my parents we were getting a third Australian shepherd right after my surgery in June, my mom shook her head and couldn’t believe it. She thought we were nuts. But Lorri and I have long since given up hope others will understand our love for our ridiculous dogs. But, no kids at home, and no grandchildren on the horizon means our furry friends provide companionship we might get other places.
Rusty and Amos are just a part of the family. As different from one another as any two children in a family can be, they are incredibly special. I don’t know which is more endearing, Rusty rushing across the room to propel his 37 pound self into my lap to wash my face with all the intensity of a carpet cleaner, or waking up to find Amos lying on his back asleep with all four feet in the air. Alas, while they get along fine, they don’t play a lot together, and with Lorri missing Lucy, we thought the time might be right to bring a little female into the mix.
Yesterday (July 27) we picked up our little girl from our friends Marilyn and Randie Gadberry in Sand Point, Idaho. We were vacationing with friends in Sand Point, and it was the perfect exclamation point to end our trip. Named Glory for her birthdate on the fourth of July 2013, we plopped her into a soft crate in the backseat of our Mazda 3, and drove the frightened baby home seven hours to Puyallup. Though we stopped several times, the red twenty pounder wasn’t too happy about walking across busy traffic in the rest areas to go potty.
When we finally arrived in Puyallup, it was sixish and we knew we had about twenty hours to size up Lo before the boys came home from being boarded and groomed. Lo, short for Lola, is the name we chose. We felt Glory wouldn’t work, because it was too much like Lorri. We went round and round about names for weeks-Violet, Maeve, Gidget and endless alternatives before, finally settling on Lola on the way home with little the punkin in the car.
Lo was happy to be out of her crate. We learned we had a bouncy, energetic, happy Aussie puppy on our hands. She immediately ran outside to make a number two and spent Sunday evening running back and forth between Lorri and myself for reassurance. I devoted most of Monday to spending time at home getting to know her. She loves to explore, has a bad habit of putting anything in her mouth that seems interesting, and jumped in my lap for momentary reassurance before running off to do puppy stuff. Had a few accidents in the house, but we’re working on those.
Lorri ran off to do a bunch of errands, and picked up the boys at the Purdy Women’s Correctional Institute (where we boarded and groomed them at a very affordable rate.) Lola (also known as Punkin, Peanut and Squeak, with all due affection,) and i carted some stuff out to the storage shed, cleaned up the kitchen and watched several episodes of The Leftovers and Orange is the New Black. All the while, I was desperately hoping Lorri would arrive before I had to depart at 5:00 for a game in Gig Harbor.
At 4:00 I heard something bounce off the front door, checked out the window and sure enough it was my Rusty dog. I quickly ran Lo out the back door thinking a meeting would be best in the big back yard, rather than in the confines of the house. Good choice. There was the initial Amos barkathon, which was brief, but expected, but Lo let it rip for a good five minutes, as my poor boys looked helplessly in disbelief as this little Aussie girl half their size ran behind me and through my legs barking loudly and fearfully. Eventually it all stopped, but when I left there was still a trust factor that was lacking. Poor Rusty looked at me accusingly in that doggie way as i went out the door.
We woke up this morning at about 5:00. Lola, of course, forgot who the boys were, and aired them out for 15-20 seconds–about as much time as it took to feed her in her crate. The boys, with better bathroom habits ate as usual and all went outside to take care of business. I took all three out on a walk and laughed almost all the way as Amos and Rusty stuck to the task at hand and Lo weaved in an out of traffic like a drunken driver.
Before I left for my early doctor’s appointment Rusty and Lola were outside giving each other that knowing, I-think-I-might-want-to-play-with-you stare and then the slightest bit of chasing. We’re not quite where we want to be yet, but there’s some good will building. When I went outside to mow the lawn after I returned, Rusty and Lo were together outside helping until neither much liked the noise or the approaching heat.
It’s only day two and less than twenty-four hours since the Dynamic Duo became the Terrific Trio. We’ve never had three dogs this young before, and we thought long and hard about whether it was the right thing, but so far so good.