Category Archives: Mischief

The Joy of an Uncomplicated Dog

Mischief is an amazingly uncomplicated dog. This worried me when I adopted her. Would I be bored? Would the anxiety issues of my other two dogs create issues for her? Would living with Layla be fair to her? And again, would I be bored?

Photo by Laura Caldwell

I’m very used to fixing dogs. Putting together behavior plans, working on carefully structured protocols, and keeping track of triggers and threshold distance have become second nature for me. I love special dogs. Reactive dogs, fearful dogs, anxious dogs, excitable dogs, aggressive dogs, and misunderstood dogs of all sorts have a special place in my heart. An uncomplicated dog? A just-plain-doggy dog? Now that was confusing!

And yet, I’m kind of getting used to the idea of not fixing. Of just… being. This isn’t to say that Mischief is perfect. She can be environmentally sensitive, and still struggles with mild separation and light-chasing issues. However, these aren’t issues that require more than the tiniest bit of management and awareness. Issues that a normal pet owner could readily deal with. Issues that, well, aren’t really an issue.

Mischief is uncomplicated. She’s sweet and joyful. She likes dogs and people. She likes my other dogs. She likes me. And I kind of like all of this.

I just dropped her off at daycare. She was happy to go – she enjoys hanging out with the other dogs. We walked calmly into the building. She checked in with me every few steps, just a little glance, a wiggle, and a quick wag of her stump. She kept her leash loose after one reminder, a quiet “this way” on my part. When she was let in with the other dogs, she greeted everyone calmly and sweetly with polite sniffing, then settled beside an elderly Golden Retriever. No drama, no fuss. Just… easy.

I love Layla and Dobby with all my heart. I love them for who they are, flaws and all. But I’m finding that I also love Mischief for her simpleness. Everyone needs a little lightness and joy in their life. Not worrying is liberating. An uncomplicated dog isn’t boring after all, but rather relaxing. Like a cool breeze on a muggy summer day, Mischief is just what I need.

Photo by Clara Yori

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Filed under Choosing a Dog, Dog Selection, Mischief, Rescue

Listening to Your Heart

I recently adopted a puppy.

I wasn’t looking for a third dog. I have my hands full with Layla and Dobby, who both have behavioral issues that require a large amount of training and management. In fact, there were a lot of really great reasons why I shouldn’t have adopted this dog, and I argued with myself about them for weeks. And yet, somehow, she ended up staying.

That’s right. Not only is this puppy nothing like my other dogs in personality or appearance, she’s also a female. Layla doesn’t have a problem with female puppies, but often dislikes adult female dogs. And yet, somehow, I kept this puppy anyway. Where many, many foster puppies have come and gone, she came and stayed.

I’m not generally an impulsive person. I have a life plan, a careful budget, and definite “rules” about when I felt I would be ready to bring a third dog home (hint: it wasn’t for another five years or so). Mischief came home and turned all of this upside-down within a few short weeks. Suddenly, I couldn’t imagine life without her. She smoothed into our household as if she’d always been here.

Was keeping her the right choice? I don’t know. Only time will tell. However, I do know that I haven’t felt this depth of connection since I met Layla. I felt the same instant, inexplicable tug with baby Layla, and couldn’t imagine my life without her. Layla’s brought me on an incredible journey. It certainly hasn’t been easy, and there have been times where I’ve felt like I was in over my head. I cared for Dobby from the start, but it took nearly a year to develop that deeper connection with him that happened instantly with both girls. I can remember looking at Dobby as he snuggled in my arms one morning months after I’d adopted him and thinking, “You’re my dog now.”

So’s Mischief. She’s my dog now, and so far the four of us are getting along splendidly. Here’s hoping that my heart was as smart as my head. I’m not used to listening to it, but when it spoke up so strongly I could do nothing else.

Welcome home, puppy.

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Filed under Choosing a Dog, Dobby, Dog Selection, Layla, Mischief, Rescue