Friday, December 31, 2010

The “next dog” conundrum

It occurred to me yesterday that I’m worrying for nothing about what kind of dog to get after Tinky-Winky. Not that I won’t have to face that decision sooner or later, but most likely, it’s going to be much, much later.

Dogs in Tinky-Winky’s family tend to live about 16 years, short of violent death such as cars. Tinky-Winky is 11, but doesn’t look even close to that old, so I’m rather hopeful that she’ll have an exceptionally long life. Twenty is probably too much to ask, but 18 seems plausible enough to me. So that’s seven more years, praise be to God.

After she’s gone, I’ll have a few dog-less years. Partly to avoid the “rebound dog” thing, but much more because I have some projects I want to pursue in life that just aren’t compatible with having a dog. So for a few years, maybe, say, five years, I won’t be looking for another dog. And that makes twelve years.

So let’s say ten to fifteen years, plausibly, before I have to worry about finding a new dog.

But I still worry about it. Partly because I’m not sure whether the things that annoy me with Tinky-Winky are her own idiosyncrasies, or really “breed traits” that I’ll have to put up with again if I get another shiba. I can deal with the attitude (sometimes barely) because I love Tinky-Winky. I don’t think I’d tolerate it from any other dog. Of course I could argue that she was already six years old when I got her, and if I had had her from a puppy, I could have raised her differently.


Maybe not.

So should I take a chance on another shiba when the time comes, or am I better off to go with a less cute but “probably” more cooperative breed like a Norwegian buhund?

It’s not for another ten to fifteen years. Why am I worried about it now? Why don’t I let it go?

Who knows. Talk to The Brain about that.

Another thing that’s begun to nag at me in the Next Dog Conundrum is the realization that the next dog is probably the last dog I’ll ever have. Ten to fifteen years from now plus fifteen years of the next dog’s life means any subsequent dog would almost certainly outlive me, and I don’t want to do that to a dog. So the next dog is gonna be the last dog.

Again, why is this gnawing at me? Who cares? Why does it matter?

It shouldn’t matter. But I have several dog names in mind and I won’t have as many dogs as dog names. I don’t believe in imposing names on dogs anyway; I let the name come to me as I get to know the dog. So I’d like to name my future dogs WHMIS, Riddick, Satī, Shi Huangdi and Cheka, but realistically, at most one of those will happen. Which of these five dogs might cross my path? Each name evokes a specific personality in my mind. But at most one of the five will become real.

It really doesn’t matter. Not for ten to fifteen years. Right now my precious has stacked all her doggy beds and blankets in a neat pile and is sleeping peacefully curled up on top of the pile… with one ear toward the fridge and one ear toward me. The last thing I need to decide now is “shiba or buhund.”

But it keeps gnawing at me.

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