Saturday, May 25, 2013

Meet Mr. McDougal

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
― Jim Butcher

Our family story just grew one chapter.  Meet Mr. McDougal.  (OK, his name is ACTUALLY Mr. O'Dougal but I just keep saying Mr. McDougal so I think he's going to end up with a slight name change because he just LOOKS like McDougal more than an O'Dougal.)  The only thing that matters is he's Irish.  Or Scottish.  But definitely cute-ish.

Mr. McDougal wonders what he's stumbled into
I told the boys last weekend that we were expanding our family.  Thing 1, ever pragmatic, questioned me about the additional responsibilities and expense a new pet would bring to our household.  At almost 13, he's pretty aware of his mother's impulsive nature and tendency to leap first and look on the way down. Thing 2 simply smiled and shook his head and said, "Oh, Mom."

All week long, I have mentally prepared myself for another furry family member.  ALMOST every person I've told has not been a big fan of the idea.  But I did my research and I think I have a firm grasp on the power struggle that may ensue in my house over the next few days.  But we're a pack.  And I am Alpha.

So, we've installed a baby gate in the kitchen and, for the first week, will cordon off areas of the house while I'm away so Charlie, Sparky and Mr. McDougal can learn to slowly live with one another.  Mr. McDougal is much smaller than I remembered him (the boys laughed when I called him "portable" on our way home) and it will be an odd balancing act having such a BIG dog with such a LITTLE dog.

We picked him up from his former home last night and I remembered how much I fell in love with him the first time I saw him.  My heart grew three sizes that day, just like the Grinch.  We collected his things, said goodbye to my aunt (Mr. McDougal's most recent mom) and hit the highway.  About 15 minutes into the drive, Thing 2 spoke up from the back seat.  "I LOVE HIM SO MUCH!"  I smiled and laughed and exclaimed, "I KNEW IT!"  Thing 1 looked at both of us like we were off our rockers.

"It's not really possible to love him that much when you've basically just MET him.  Love doesn't quite work that way," he explained.

I reached over and ruffled his hair.  "Oh, Thing 1.  It works that way for ME!"

We had a plan of action upon coming home.  The boys took Mr. McDougal around to the back yard on a leash.  I went in and put on Sparky's harness and leash ("Oh boy! Oh boy!  A WALK!") and took him out to meet his new brother.  They sniffed each other through the fence.  McDougal barked and then we let him in.

The dogs sniffed each other once or twice...and then COMPLETELY IGNORED EACH OTHER.

It was the oddest thing.  I took them both on a long walk around the neighborhood with Mr. McDougal running on his tiny legs alongside Sparky's giant steps.  They walked side-by-side without complaint and without incident like they'd been walking together forever.

Last night was a little more challenging.  In order to keep the small dog safe overnight in his new environment (because I still wasn't sure what they would do alone together and I sleep like a dead person), I put his bed in a soft-sided crate I use for travel.  I slept on the side of my bed where he could see me all night.   So did Sparky. They both settled in quickly.
Charlie is not excited.

This morning has been an even greater challenge.  I think they're both becoming aware that this is a new thing.  They're currently sitting about 15 feet away from each other, each keeping one eye open.  Sparky is viewing Mr. McDougal as an exciting playmate.  Mr. McDougal is viewing Sparky as one big-ass dog.  Charlie is sitting high on the counter next to his food, watching the proceedings with elderly catlike disdain.

Welcome to the jungle, kids.

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  1. Congrats on your new family member! - Stephen Dean

    1. Thanks, Stephen! :) I just read about SORRY about that. :(