Dylan: Advantages of a Single Dog
Our dog situation is pretty unique. And as I’ve said before, its not for everyone. Reigning over the multi-multi-dog household for the last decade, has certainly colored the way we interact with our dogs, individually and collectively. Some of that I love. Most of it. By and large. Wouldn’t trade our merry band of muttly misfits for much of anything. Then I spend some time with an only dog and his owners. Maybe many of my rules don’t apply to such arrangements. Arrangements that are a heck of a lot more common than my own.
Enter Dylan. Twelve years old. Mixed breed extraordinaire (more on that later). Experienced traveler. Snow dog. Water dog. Co-pilot. Life long only child.
I’ve known the Dylan Dog for most of those twelve years. I’ve walked him. He’s stayed at my house. We may have taken a nap or two together over the years. Not only is he the only dog in his parent’s life, he is often the only dog to accompany us on adventures. One dog tagging along? Easy. No brainer. Pack o’ hounds? Less convenient. Even choosing which one of mine to bring is harder than just automatically knowing the dog that will be at your side. Because he’s the only option.
Dylan is my anti-dog. He goes leash-less when he shouldn’t. In places where he shouldn’t. He follows no set schedule. He gets away with it. Somehow, I still find him remarkably pleasant. All my best advice, basically it does not apply.
On those rare occasions when he does have to be left at home, finding a sitter is easy. Any number of his dog-less fan club members will volunteer to be a pet owner for a week. Barring that, one dog melds in with an existing pack easier than two or three or… my household. Scheduling Dylan’s sitter can be done in days. Ours are scheduled months in advance.
Then there’s the food. This dog is the quintessential picky eater. In times of stress or change, hunger strink. He’s been known to skip meals for days on end. Very little danger of this dog getting fat. While I still think I could win a battle of the tummies, for his owners it no big thing. Its easy to keep tabs on his bowl. To leave his food out all the time. It’s easy to pick up something new for him to try. They are happy to cook for him or do a little kibble enhancement. And when it’s one dog, there isn’t even much impact on your dog spending.
Heck, this dog has had the same collar for most of his life. And I gave it to him.
It could be this easy. A dog to accompany you to Alaska, to the Oregon Coast. A dog to go kayaking. To tour wine country. A dog to fly with you in your small plane (if you are this family). A wonder mutt. Half Australian Shepherd, one quarter Dachshund, one quarter Curly Coated Retriever. An unlikely combination? It’s been scientifically certified.
The one dog is an interesting juxtaposition to my group. It’s a dog lifestyle. But a very different one. My dogs certainly aren’t suffering for their numbers. Although, I’m unlikely to take everyone camping at once. I’m not sure the park rangers would approve, even if I wanted to.
How many dogs do you have? What are the other advantages to one dog? How are the concerns for your canine household different than my own?