It’s amazing how much fear of the unknown can hold us back. For years, I didn’t run a marathon because I had heard that long-distance runners sometimes lose control of their bladders – or worse – during a marathon. That image kept me far away from the starting line of any race. When finally I got an incredible training book and went for it, incontinence was never a problem.
In the same way, for years I was afraid to get a dog, let alone a second one. My #1 issue was: “I am not going to stoop down and scrape dog crap off the sidewalk every day.”
I didn’t know it was more like three times a day. In any event, like new parents not minding changing diapers, I was amazed how much of a non-issue this turned out to be. And to think that before, it had practically stopped me from getting a dog! Silly.
Then my fear became getting a second dog. Things were so good with just C-Biscuit, I worried about upsetting our happy, well-functioning household. Mostly I worried that they would fight.
So I read everything I could about choosing a second dog. The main advice was not to get a second dog of the same sex, especially not two females, who were likely to fight. One article said to get a smaller dog. The vet said to get a younger dog. Much advice centered on dominance, a pecking order between the dogs that would need to be established (by them) and reinforced (by you). I didn’t really like that idea, so I worried about that, too.
Then, as happens in life, the angels showed up: People appeared and gave advice and reassurances I needed. A friend said that 99% of 2nd whippets work out and she was nearly sure getting a second would be okay. A woman I knew only online gave me a guarantee: If this little girl didn’t work out, the woman, who already has five whippets, would take her. (The breeder also would have taken her back.) A couple I met in the park just before going to meet Picchu (a second female) said they had two females who got along great, even though “everyone had told them that two females would kill each other.” Huh.
Even though Picchu is the same age as Biski and the same sex, we brought her home and hoped for the best. Biski gets jealous when we cuddle Picchu, and for two days wrestled every toy out of Picchu’s mouth. But they’re doing no more than play-fighting, and we’re happy treating them the same.
Maybe it’s that whippets are a pretty laid-back breed, or maybe we got especially lucky with our two. What I’m most sure of is that the best way to learn is by facing fear of the unknown and doing.