Approximately two years ago, my wife turned to me and said, "We need another dog."
As I often do when she says things like that, I sighed.
"We need another dog?" I asked, knowing what her response would be.
"Yes," she replied. "We need another dog." She then proceeded to repeat the comment at least once per day, every day. Sometimes, three or four times a day. Up until a few weeks ago. I think you see where I'm going with this.
The spotted belly with the pinkish hue that you see pictured above belongs to none other than Woofgang Amadeus Mozart. We call him Mozart for short, or Little One –– a name which seems as though it will be obsolete before we know it. But by that time, I'm quite certain he will have accumulated quite a few other nicknames. After all, his big brother, Copernicus is now known by many names, including but not limited to: Sir Barksalot, Mr. Barkie Pants, Mr. Boy, Happy Boy, just to name a few. And on very special occasions he is referred to by his regal title: The Royal Duke of Woofington. Lately, though, he has been referred to mostly by his newest nickname: Big One.
If you happened to read my blogpost from five years ago when we brought Copernicus home, you will likely remember that we learned all about how to be dog parents while walking around a PetSmart store with our brand new puppy in tow, asking everyone as many questions as we could. Not exactly the best time to be learning about puppy parenting, but we hadn't planned on being puppy parents when the day began. If you recall, I was tricked into getting a puppy. So questions like how many times a night does a two-month-old puppy need to get up to pee during the night didn't even come up.
This time, though, I wasn't tricked. We had roughly two years to learn all about bringing home a second dog. Yet somehow, when the moment arrived, we still seemed unready.
To be honest, we were pretty well-prepared. My wife was anyway. But there are always going to be some factors you didn't expect. Some factors you overlooked. Some factors that even the savviest of dog trainers neglected to tell you. And of course, there will also be some factors you already knew about, but chose to ignore anyway.
Little Mozart spent much of his first few days up on the couch with us. He was a tiny puppy, after all. We couldn't just leave him all alone on the floor to fend for himself against his giant brother (who does seem like a giant now, next to his fun-size brother). We knew it probably wasn't the best idea, since that had always been Copernicus's spot. But we didn't know what else to do. He was so tiny, and it seemed like the only way to get him to relax.
All the experts told us we would need to separate them at night, but we didn't want to do that. Not completely. My wife had the idea of putting a little elevated bed for him, right near her side of the bed, so he could sleep on that side and Copernicus could sleep on the other. Well, that arrangement didn't sit too well with Copernicus. Not at first anyway. But we worked on giving them both attention at the same time, keeping them close, but not forcing. And we made sure to keep the little one at a safe distance, giving Copernicus his space. After three days, they were both sleeping on the same bed.
They are sitting closer and closer to each other every day. They play a lot. Copernicus has been an amazing brother. And Mozart is looking up to his older brother.
Being a puppy parent takes a lot of energy. But being a puppy parent, a referee, a chaperone and a dog trainer all at the same time is even more challenging. But then there are moments when I'm sitting down with the both of them, giving them both lots of loves, the two of them only inches apart, it makes me think of the Buddha quote:
"Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases from being shared."
We were worried that we would be upsetting the applecart, tempting fate. We already had the perfect boy, the cutest pooch in the whole wide world. Why would we want to change that? But somehow, we ended up with not just the cutest boy, but the two cutest boys on the planet. It almost seems unfair. But who am I to complain?