Emmie with Ben Arffleck and Luke
The kids are out of school again today, for an unprecedented five days in a little over a week. This snow and ice mix is definitely giving North Texas some Three Dog Nights (for those of you that don’t know, that’s Australian slang meaning, it’s so cold you’ll need three dogs to keep you warm—and yes, the 70’s pop band took their name from that as well). But in our house, we’re actually having Two Dog Nights. A few days ago, our adoption was completed for a shelter dog, a “senior” apricot poodle named Ben Arffleck.
Okay, friends and family, get back in the chair you have just fallen out of—we know you probably think it’s crazy to bring a second dog into our family, but sometimes the “crazy” thing is the right thing to do, and so far it’s turned out to be a very good decision. First, this has been in the works for awhile– we had always thought it would be nice for Luke to have a playmate, considering he spent his first six months of life surrounded by dogs on a “breeding farm” and is so much happier when he’s with dogs. He’s lonely in the house all day with just me, and Ben has been a good companion for him. They want to be near each other all the time.
Second, we fell in love with Ben’s photo when we saw it in the newspaper three weeks ago, and with his name, and with the fact that he was a “senior”. The Richardson Humane Society has been promoting senior adoption lately, since older pets are often the ones left behind in shelters, not readily adopted and euthanized as a result. RHS rescues and fosters as many as possible until they are adopted, and by adopting Ben, we’ve not only helped him find a permanent home, we free up a spot in a foster home so that they can rescue yet another pet.
Ben, being about half the size of Luke but sometimes more active, actually reminds us more of a puppy than a senior (I think he could have also been named Benjamin Button!). Maybe “you can’t teach on old dog new tricks”, but an old dog can teach a young dog, and Ben has already taught Luke some new things. Luke has always been a bit skittish and “stand-offish” and took awhile to warm up to us (typical of puppy farm dogs, I have learned) but around Ben, he’s acting like a normal dog. Jumping up and down and wagging his tail like crazy, just like Ben, when we come in the house. Jumping up on the sofa to curl up next to us, just like Ben.
An added bonus is how all the kids love Ben and want to take care of him, and their shared affection for him just may be a bridge over troubled waters. With yet another day of everyone cooped up in the house, we need that bridge.
But I’m not kidding myself. After everyone’s eagerness to walk, feed and hold Ben fades, there will probably be one person left “holding the leash” and that will be me. We’ve had too many “Mom’s pets” through the years not to know that from the start. But I love dogs, and I’m fine with that. And I’m thrilled with all the sweetness that this tiny senior baby has brought with him. True, a senior pet (RHS thinks he’s 8 or 9) won’t be around as long as a puppy, but that makes the time with him all the more precious.