Get New Dogs, But Keep the Old


Taking into consideration my two kids, four jobs, 1 dog, beta fish, and husband who is home every other Saturday; I decided what I really needed was another dog.  Because nothing brings peace to chaos like a 100 pound Weimaraner.  Lucky for me, Weimaraner Rescue of Oregon had just the dog I needed.  According to the website new dog was the perfect dog who did not bark, dig, nor chew.  They explained that he burned through two owners and a third potential simply because he outsmarted them all.  I bought in, requested an adoption, completed the rigorous screening process, and was approved for a meet and greet.

Really the Rescue didn’t want me to meet new dog — they wanted my old dog to meet new dog to ensure the two could live in harmony.  Taking the term “meet” literally; I piled old dog, husband, two kids, and myself into the sedan (to save on gas) and travelled 100 miles in hopes of doggy bliss.   Next thing I knew I was travelling 100 miles back home with old dog in my lap and new dog nestled between the kids in the back seat (did I mention old dog is 70 pounds and my car is really small).

I don’t think at any point in the meet-n-greet did old dog and new dog even acknowledge one another.  Whether or not the two could survive under the same roof was still yet undetermined . . . also undetermined was whether or not new dog would outsmart us as well.

Now, three weeks into owning two dogs, a few things are very clear.  First and foremost new dog is not perfect.  He in fact is a really good, bad dog.  So far he chewed two blankets, ate a leather belt, dug a tunnel to the neighbors, barked at the doorbell on the television, and ate my son’s dinner twice in one night.  Secondly,  he proved more cunning than my husband who thought it would be nice to let him on the bed for a bit.  A bit has turned into husband sleeping on the couch for three weeks.  And counting.

Most importantly, though, old dog and new dog are finding a way to get along.

They spent the first 24 hours taking turns peeing on the same bush in the back yard.  Followed by two days of seeing who could drink all the water in the water dish so the other didn’t get any.  Followed by three more days of peeing on the same spot on the fence.  New dog always aiming for a spot just above old dogs. Another couple of days of bickering over crumbs dropping from the table and they were well on their way to a peace treaty (or a frat party).

Now, on daily trail runs, they leap-frog fighting for first dog status.  New dog has a length-of-stride advantage, but old dog uses brute force to push old dog off the trail with his rear end.  Old dog barks to tattle on new dog when he is up to no good, and new dog barks when old dog crosses the imaginary line on the bed.  On a few occasions minor spats have turned into 30 seconds of deep barking and a quick nip.  Though these intense moments are short-lived, they leave me nervous.  Wondering if the two really will find peace.

I have questioned friends, experts, and veterinarians.  All of whom have said the same: “give it time, when old dog realizes new dog isn’t going anywhere they will each find their place in the family.” I see that happening now.  They wrestle with one another, bicker, fight . . . and then find where they belong.  Old dog rides in the back seat of the Sedan, new dog takes the passenger seat.  Old dog leads on the trails new dog doesn’t know yet, new dog leads on the steep downhills and over the big logs. Old dog gets my husbands pillow, new dog gets his blanket.

It reminds me of when Jacob wrestled with God.

I’ve always balked at that story a bit.  Imagining God in one of those spandex wrestling suits taking poor old Jacob to the mat.  I think maybe, it wasn’t like that at all.  Perhaps God just wanted to prove to Jacob that He wasn’t going anywhere.

Jacob struggled against the God of the universe, and the God of the universe remained with him.  He allowed Jacob to fight, until Jacob understood his true identity: a man ruled by God.

Think about that for a second:  God isn’t going anywhere.

He is a persistent and pursuant God; desperately in love with you.  Desperate for you to know your identity and place with Him.  He’s even willing to put on spandex and take you to the mat when necessary.

And remember the prodigal son.  He pursues the good dogs and the good,bad dogs just the same.