My wife wants to get another dog, even though our current canine companion, Serena, is still very much alive at the age of twelve -- though admittedly slowing down. (But isn't that to be expected given that she's 80+ in dog years?)
Recently Serena helped me survive the Great Salem Snow-pocalypse of 2012, so I feel a lot of loyalty toward her. Plus, I believe in the adage that worked great during my child (singular)-raising years: don't allow you and your spouse to be out-numbered.
One little child, two large parents. That's a fair fight. Yet even then the kid often wins. Same deal with dogs, in my opinion. Let two or more of them into your house, and they'll form a pack. The humans are doomed. Whatever they want, they'll get.
Which admittedly, describes my Omega dominance position with both my only-child daughter and our current only-dog; but I imagine how much more Omega'y I'd have been with multiple children and dogs putting me in my place.
However, my wife sees things differently.
She's more canine-savvy than I am. Laurel sees benefits in getting a much younger dog while Old Dog is still alive -- sort of like the Big Love polygamous philosophy where a cuter, more attractive young thing comes into the household as a "sister wife" and learns how to handle herself from Senior Wife.
So Laurel has been dog-shopping both on the Internet and during her volunteer stints at the Willamette Humane Society here in Salem. Given how much my wife likes dogs, this is akin to an alcoholic volunteering to make whiskey at a Jack Daniels plant; in each case, there's going to be a huge desire to bring some stuff home.
A few days ago, a dog at the Florence Humane Society caught her online eye.
When Laurel asked me what I thought about Ginger, I resorted to thinly-disguised irony in an attempt to delay the introduction of another dog into our household.
"That dog doesn't look like a Shepherd/mix to me. I think it's almost purebred pit bull. Ginger is a killer, no doubt about it. We'll have our throats crushed by that animal if we bring it home, for sure."
Didn't work. Laurel persevered, asking if I wanted to go with her to Florence to see the dog. More irony sprang to mind.
"Florence? Isn't that way down on the coast, near the California border? Sure, I'll go with you. I haven't seen the redwoods for a long time. And maybe we could make a side trip to San Francisco, since we'll be in the neighborhood."
Laurel, though, irritatingly resorted to facts, pointing out that Florence was almost due west of Eugene, just a two hours drive or so from our house. Reluctantly, after firing up Google Maps, I had to admit that she had a point.
So today we drove to Florence to see Ginger, carting along a fold-up dog crate in the event we decided to bring Sister Dog #2 home. Serena, Senior Dog, came along, since we wanted to check out how she'd get along with Ginger.
As it turned out, not so well.
Ginger wasn't mean or aggressive, just barkingly fearful. Laurel and I appreciated all the time the Florence Humane Society staff spent with us in an outside dog yard as we did our best to begin to bond with Ginger.
The conclusion: Ginger would be high maintenance for whoever adopts her. She's got a lot of potential. Problem is, poor "parenting" by her previous owner(s) has caused her to not trust people. Ginger is high-strung and a barker. We could give her a few occasional pats, but treats were the only reliable way we could get her to come close to us.
Plus, it sure looks like I was sort of right: Ginger isn't a Shepherd mix, so far as Laurel and I could tell. She has much more of a Great Dane'ish appearance.
We came home without Ginger. Serena, our aging Wonder Dog (here she is, much more youthful), was calm, cool, and collected with frenetic Ginger, leading us to think "We need a younger version of the dog we already have."
So we'll keep looking for Shepherd/Lab mixes with a beautiful look and a great personality. Or similar sorts of dogs. Hopefully Ginger will be adopted soon. She'll be a terrific pet for someone who's willing to put some time and effort into relieving her fearfulness.
And Ginger does have a semi-German Shepherd/mix'ish look at times. This was one of her calmer moments.