Should We Get a Second Dog? If so, from a Breeder or a Shelter?


Dear Ask DesCamp:

My husband and I disagree about what type of second dog to get and even whether to get a second dog at all. I think we should get another dog, because I worry that our one dog gets lonely during the day. We both work and I hate the thought of our girl Sam being alone for 8-9 hours each day.

I think another dog would be a great solution because they could keep each other company while we are away, plus it’s good practice for having kids! As for what type of dog to get, my husband says if he caves in on the idea of another dog, he wants to get another purebred lab from the breeder we got Sam from, but I think we should get a dog from a shelter. I’ve been looking on the websites of different shelters and there are so many doggies who need a home!

We have reached  a standstill. Any thoughts on how we can figure this out?

Guilty Mommy in Portland

Dear Guilty Mommy:

You claim to have two problems here: one is whether to get a second dog, the other is from where and what type.  I would posit a third problem presents from your email, in that you are a guilt-ridden and somewhat naive woman prone to feelings of anthropomorphism and unreasonable optimism.

Let me explain, lest you think I am being harsh.  Do you know what I found myself doing this morning?  Get your dirty mind out of the gutter – nothing that fun.

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This morning, after Archie the Asshole Chihuahua escaped from his LOCKED crate and ran out the front door for what seems like the millionth time, I found myself googling “how many Ambien does it take to kill a small dog?”

The answer is still unclear because I’m not good at math.  Here is the formula I found:

Take the weight of the dog divided by how many ounces of your lube he digested yesterday and subtract the number of children and old people he bit and pissed on the last time he escaped.  Multiply by how much you hate the little fucker and add how much you love him.  Finally, subtract the square root of WHAT THE FUCK WAS I THINKING and you will know how many pills it will take.

My equation looked like this:

13/16-4XALOT+ALOT-?= Are you kidding me?  I don’t know, 30?


The answer to this difficult math question may be moot, as he has been gone for several hours and may not return home.*  I’d like to think the mailman did me a favor but all he ever brings me are bills I can’t pay, so I doubt very much Archie is stuck to the front of his truck and no longer my problem.  He’s probably fucking a coyote, setting up a meth lab in the empty house next door and shitting in my neighbor’s bed.

That’s OK, I hate my neighbors.


OK, this has become the most epic of tangents.  My point is, one should never enter lightly into the decision to add another pet (or human, or houseplant for that matter) to their family.

Before Mr. Patience and Understanding had what must have been an aneurism of benevolence in mid-December last year, he never wanted a second dog. Why bother with another dog when we won the lottery with Margot, the Perfect Australian Labradoodle?


Once we starting noodling with the idea of Dog #2 I pled for another Australian Labradoodle from our Margot breeder, but he argued competently for a rescue dog and we had one in our house that very evening.  This is why they call him TFS in his office (Tom Fucking Sand); he can talk anyone into anything and is a top-notch litigator.  Mad props to my hubster!


We should have taken our time.  We should have actually discussed it.  And we most certainly should have done some research on Chihuahua mix mutts who ran feral for Goddess knows how long in the barrios of K-Falls.

Instead we charged ahead, drunk on the spirit of Christmas and probably just drunk, and came home with this:

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Yes, he poops while balanced on his two front legs.  That’s when he poops outside, because as it turns out when the Humane Society writes “house trained” on the “Please Adopt this Asshole” form, “house trained” means he is trained to shit in your house.  What a neat trick!

OK, back to you.  Now that I have already used up almost 800 words on talking about myself, I’ll give you short shrift and deliver my wisdom in the AskDesCamp Advice by Numbers format (patent pending):

1. You and your husband need to be on the same page when it comes to adopting another dog and from where.  While I could bullshit you and spin a line about how important it is to make major decisions together and with one voice, the truth is neither one of you should have the Upper Hand of Doom that is created by one partner talking the other one into something that turns out to be a total disaster.

For example, you don’t want him to be able to come at you with:

“God damn it, I TOLD you I didn’t want another dog, or at least not one from a shelter!  This little prick is vicious and just attacked our neighbor’s baby!!!  Where are we going to bury the body?”


2. Your comparison of human children to dogs is ridiculous.  Children are much easier than dogs, because if you neglect and abuse two-legged children (except kangaroos) the state may take them away.  If you do the same to dogs, they won’t intervene until you reach “hoarder” status and become known around your neighborhood for woking the dog.

Regardless of which type of child is easier, neither can prepare you for the other so your quest to become prepared for homo sapien parenthood by having canis lupus familiaris babies is way off-base, to say the least.  In addition, I hope to Goddess you don’t plan to keep pumping out babies to keep each other company.  That’s why they are supposed to make friends.  You aren’t supposed to literally make friends for them.**


The planet’s resources are stressed enough as it is, Octomom.

3. I suspect you think too much about what Sam is thinking about when you are gone, and you are projecting your own unhappiness about leaving her all day onto her, instead of driving those emotions inward and suppressing them until you explode in a road rage incident like a normal person.

The phenomenon you are experiencing is called “anthropomorphism,” which is a fancy way of saying “I can read my dog’s mind and she thinks exactly like I do!”

I don’t want to burst your self-important bubble, but I’m guessing Sam has a little party every time you leave.  Here is what I came home to a couple years ago when I told Margot I’d be out for five hours but returned unexpectedly because I forgot my Spanx…


The only reason Sam treats you with as much enthusiasm as a heroin-addicted hooker two days past a fix is because she knows you need some love after working at your shitty job.  It’s not because she was pining away for you all day.  Remember, she can lick her own privates but she won’t do it when you are home!

4. Like I said before, you have a bit of a guilt problem.  You don’t need a second dog, you need a therapist.  If you plan to work after having human babies the guilt you feel now will seem like nothing when you leave your baby at a daycare center each morning.  You must learn how to deal with that issue before you yank out your IUD in a drunken, “let’s make a baby” moment brought on by an episode of “Baby Story,” Grey Goose and Xanex.

My advice is that you not get doggie #2 until you and your husband are absolutely sure you both want one.  As for whether to go to a breeder or a shelter, I’m not going to give my advice on that because although I relish opining on those issues near and dear to my heart, my prejudice on this particular matter may be so deep that it renders my words meaningless.

Then again, he’s kind of a cute little asshole, and Margot sure loves him.



*I wrote this yesterday.  He came back.  Fucking asshole.

**Isn’t it nice to see someone use the word “literally” correctly!  Two pats on the back and a vodka tonic for me!


This Post Has One Comment

  1. echinachea

    Admit it, advice lady. You love Archie! However, i know from personal experience that a second dog will not necessarily entertain Dog No. 1. Guess what ours did when we spied on them after leaving the casa–they slept soundly, side by side. Having 2 (or more) dogs can be fun, but it is also a hell of a lot more work, more food, more poop, more doggie hair (unless you have a nonshedder like BoBama or the doodleydogs. As Robin says, leave it at one until you are really sure, and even if you think you are sure, think about it some more until you talk yourself back into a saner frame of mind:)

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