We recently adopted another dog. A third dog! He was a long time coming but he’s here now, a jet black shadow of approximately six pounds.
We had talked about this third dog for years. I joked and joked and joked and joked. The third dog, I’d kid. The third dog would love me most. This was a projection of mind: the third dog would be obsessed with me, dependent on me in a way Scooter is not; but canine still, a wanderer, unlike Dottie who – in some ways – is human.
So we got him. We didn’t think we just did: it was a a bit of a whim. Olly, short for “Oliver,” Frenchified to “Olivier,” a translation of the shelterly “Ozzie.” He is a short haired Chihuahua mix and is a bit like a tiny black deer, in appearance but – in function – is an alien dog child, this being that doesn’t understand or trust or want the world. He instead sleeps and observes, sits on a lap and gazes at you before offering the littlest lick to the tip of the nose.
He is two. He came from a hoarding home in Downey. He was surrendered at one pound, a wet sock that someone dried. His being alive now is an attempt to unlock and understand this crowded view he had for two years. We don’t realize the human hand until we see its effect on a non-human.
But the third dog isn’t just a pet: he’s another figure in our canid family. Two dogs are cute, a duo, friends. Three is indeed a crowd, no matter how physically small that crowd is. Having three dogs is management. Who is eating what? Why is this one grump? How did that one vomit? Where is that one? Why won’t everyone take a shit already? It’s a different type of loving work. It recontexualizes both the owners and the dogs. Now we have a middle dog. There are different levels of height, of dogness. All is new again. A dynamic emerges.
We’re giventhis new context too. Not only does everyone have a new place but we all have a sort of life made real. We were all clouds then, when a small bit of heat entered us, we realized we all eventually evaporate, moving from state to state. Dottie, drifting to the end of life, took a step toward the unknown, but still unaware that another dog is in the mix. The lovely ignorance of the eldest child. Scooter, otherwise immortal, so tiny and full of life, vim and vigor, is now a giant. Then Olly. He’s now a big brother. His life was redefined. Scooter is now ancient. His fur is sand in my fingers. Someone placed an expiration date on him.
There’s always a feeling when you get a new dog that you are replacing an old dog, that you are preparing for exits. That wasn’t the plan but what happened. A byproduct of the management company we have. Who is coming and who is going? How do we feel about all this? The dog management company is less about ownership and more about seeing yourself in a new way. The third dog isn’t just a dog but a new way of looking.