And then there were two
Two, yep I have two dogs. Strange for me; I've had three dogs for as long as I can remember. I like having three dogs. You can take one out for their alone time and there are still two to keep each other company at home. Three seems to be a perfect number, I have three kids too and wouldn't want anymore or less. Having two has been an easy transition; it is the change of the pack that was a bit more of a struggle.
For eleven and a half years I had my three, Jessie, Tilley and Luke. It still rolls off my tongue very easily. They were the three musketeers for a very long time. I clearly remember last fall sitting in my family room and thinking "how can it change?" With Tilley and Jessie well into their very senior years I knew that it was only a matter of time. It was going to change and there was nothing I could do about it.
I thought about the pack that might be in my future. I couldn't imagine having a completely different pack. I felt that my pack was me and I was them, we were one. How could it change? What would life be like with a different pack? They were my pack, we were Sherri, Jessie, Tilley and Luke. How could it be any different?
We had added Elsa to the pack in September, this was a very strategic decision on our part. We knew that in the near future there was a chance that Luke may be left alone. I didn't like the idea of Luke being left alone. That thought was difficult enough, thinking that we could be at some point left with no dogs was unbearable. So enter Elsa. It was a bit of work at first. I'd already gotten use to all my old dog routine and then had to get use to that with the added puppy stuff. Yes it was work, but caring for my dogs is never bad work.
The decision to add Elsa when we did turned out to be a better thing than we had even hoped. She had a short time with the old dogs learning invaluable lessons. She brought a great deal of spark back into the old pack and got Luke off the couch, for a bit anyway. She learned how to just sit and take life in from the old dogs. Adult and older dogs have so much to share with puppies, it is such a fabulous combination.
With the loss of Jessie I was back to three, no more munchkin by my side. It was huge, a big shift in the pack. But because she had suffered with dementia for the year prior to her death the blow was less to the pack. She had already been removed from the pack somewhat so they were not quite as hard hit. There are many lessons ingrained in Luke that Jessie gave him. It is nice to see them once in a while and makes me smile. The biggest lesson he learned was that all food that dropped to the floor was hers. Touch it and you get a Jack Russell Terror in your face. He does not touch fallen food to this day.
We then lost Tilley only three weeks after Jessie. I always thought about them being so close in age as a bad thing but never considered they might both go so close together. After the very sad day at the vet when we said goodbye to our amazing Tilley; I clearly remembered walking into the house in CT and saying "and then there were two." I had a horrible nagging feeling of losing Luke, I couldn't shake it for sometime. I hovered a great deal, anything out of the ordinary had me worrying. But he's good and healthy as can be for an almost 12 year old.
So yes, I have two and although it is not a completely new pack it is new. I am enjoying taking both dogs to more places. Having two enables me to bring them along much more often. It doesn't seem like quite the circus when you just have two dogs along with you. I can devote much more time to the two of them and have been able to focus on Elsa when she has needed it. Elsa is lucky to benefit from living with old dogs. With Luke she has learned a great deal. In his younger years he would have had a lot of bad stuff to show her, now it is all good.
She will take her lessons and share them with the next youngster to enter our family. But for now I have two and I am very happy with my new and modified pack. Do I wish I could go back in time when I had all four? Most definitely. But life is ever changing and whether we like it or not it cannot remain the same and we cannot go back in time; not yet anyway. So with change comes the making of a new pack. Now I can proudly and happily say we are Sherri, Luke and Elsa.