One night with Winnie, the adorable dachshund (Friday, August 7th, 2020)

We started a trial adoption and brought a second dog to our home last night. Unfortunately this morning I drove her back to St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey. What fell awry was that our first and current dog, Yago, did not feel, so far as my wife and I could note, those wonderful sparks of friendship with sweet Winnie, a precious, adorable and tiny 9 year old lady Dachshund who, sadly, suffers from a troubled bladder—bladder stones—which she just recent had surgery for. (Little else is known about Winnie. She came from “down south” is about all we were told, and that she had the aforementioned health challenges.)

The rationale for bringing her home yesterday was this: she’s small, female, and very friendly… very sweet. To be honest I fell madly in love with her and wish very much that she was sitting on my lap as I type to you now.

…Among the things I have discovered about myself over the last year is that I am a helpless sucker for dogs. This was not always the case. I used to fear dogs as a result of a few bad experiences. When I was 21 I met a man’s Dalmatian and the Dalmatian immediately headbutted me and was aggressive. Two years later a person I lived with had a dog who I usually got along with but one time out of nowhere bit my finger. From that point on I wished I could shed my fear of dogs and have one but I lacked the confidence. It’s amusing how that changed, as a former employer and I have discussed, because a few years ago I was invited to dog sit but utterly afraid of dogs as I was then I declined  explaining that I was afraid. The fantasy of having the nerve to get on with a dog however never dissipated.

Ashley and I spent a couple of years talking about getting a dog and slowly researched breeds and animal shelters and how to care for one, et cetera. Then last October we decided we were ready and we adopted Yago. [1]Or, as I like to call him, Mr. Yago

Yago is a sweet dog. He’s an almost five year old lab mix… we believe he may be part Shibu Inu but as of now there is not sufficient information as to exactly what kind of dog he is. He loves to cuddle on the couch. He sleeps in bed with us. He’s as affectionate as we could ever hope for, in fact. It’s as though he has nothing but love…most of the time. He almost never barks…that is…unless he believes my wife and I are threatened by someone or if he for whatever reason does not like someone.

For me, Yago was love at first sight. I saw him and knew right away I wanted him and he got along with me perfectly. He and Ashley also got along amazingly.

Like he is with people, some dogs just “rub him the wrong way.” In almost every case, when the dog is smaller, and especially if the dog looks like him (gold fur) he likes the dog and is sweet. But he doesn’t get on with a few of the dogs in our neighborhood. This is why Winnie stood out. She seemed like the type he usually likes.

How did he react to Winnie. At first they were just sniffing each other as we walked them, first separately for awhile and then towards each other. But when Yago could detect that we had affection for Winnie he turned jealous, barked, showed his teeth a little.

We tried to take them on separate walks a couple of times and then ease them back towards each other. This didn’t work as Yago persisted with his jealousy and unfriendliness.

What made things especially upsetting was how upset Winnie got. It was bad enough for her already being stuck at the shelter for a month. And after 9 years! Who gets rid of a dog after 9 years? Maybe someone who didn’t have the money for her medical struggles? I don’t know. In any event, she was clearly upset both by Yago’s meanness and moving from place to place. She felt, understandably, insecure.

So I kept her in her crate but spent time playing her. Her tiny and precious face rubbed against my head, she rolled over and sought my petting, she licked me and my love for her was intensified. But the site of Yago brought her the shakes. She could not stop shaking. She would not go to the bathroom despite my taking her out every hour through midnight.

In the interest of her well-being and Yago’s Ashley and I agreed to defer to the pros as we are not so I drove Winnie back. A impressively outgoing and confident member of St. Hubert’s behavioralist team offered us the opportunity to bring Yago to them and see about how they might assist us in helping the two get on good terms. As I write to you the decision as to whether or not we’ll take them up on their offer is in the air.

I suppose some context complicates the way I have been processing this experience. Confined to our condo due to social distancing where I work remotely, it gets lonely and my wife works long hours sometimes. A second cute dog—or even just the thought of it– gives me those surges of warmth and happiness and admittedly the challenge of taking on the discord between Yago and Winnie…it strikes me as a worthwhile project, at least in theory.

But maybe YAGO is better off as an only dog.

He seems lonely sometimes so I fancy the prospect of adding a friend to his life. Also, because he does struggle with some dogs I enjoy the thought of addressing that by immersing Yago in a relationship with a dog, with the help of experts, to improve his sociability and….get him a friend.

Should that be a longer term goal however, instead of a shorter term one? But the lack of conviction—does that not say it all? A dog deserves a home where she or he is not prey to one’s indecision. Get a dog if you really want one and you’re up for it.

That shall be that. To my dismay, admittedly, for it hurts when one feels an attachment that must soon be severed but I do also believe one must look at the bigger, wider, more holistic picture.

In the meantime, where was I in my thoughts before planning for Winnie?

Making more money if only by cutting certain expenditures! In that sense then, it was never wise on my part to advocate for bringing Winnie to our home. She required a very special diet, and medicine. And I was also growing an interest in CBD oil. It continues to calm me down over-all in the evening when I take it. Yesterday was the fifth night I experimented with it. One small 8.326 mg drop made my mind and thoughts feel less negative. If I hadn’t been so consumed with Winnie and getting her and Yago to get along maybe I’d have taken better note of just how the oil made me feel and what it made me think.


1 Or, as I like to call him, Mr. Yago

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