When Someone Says ‘I Don’t Need Another Dog’ They Generally Do

I don’t need another dog. It’s more vet bills, additional grooming fees, extra food and treats, bedding, leashes, bowls and on and on. I don’t need another dog.

I repeated this like a mantra as I checked out shelters for a new friend for Mattie, our 7-year-old Cocker spaniel/poodle mix. She’s been depressed since Murphy, our 10-year-old Cockapoo, passed away a few months ago. I thought another buddy might make her feel less alone.

I don’t need another dog, I reminded myself, as I scanned the faces of puppies in need of rescuing. There were a few guys who caught my eye, but didn’t tug on my heart, which was just fine because I really didn’t need another dog.

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I resigned myself to the fact that Mattie would just need some extra love and attention to quell her loneliness. Decision made … until the next day, when I again looked at the rescue list and a King Charles Cavalier and poodle mix appeared. He sat regally on a wicker chair, looking at me with his big dark eyes, was almost the same age as Mattie, and was described as “very loving.” But, as you know, I didn’t need another dog.

Which I thought of as I hopped on the phone and chatted with a friendly woman who was keeping him since his owner went into a nursing home. Turned out, his name was Wilfred.

I could never have a dog named Wilfred, I told myself as I entered her address in my GPS. This was a bad idea, I knew it in my bones. We didn’t need another dog. I should just turn around right now, I thought as I parked in her driveway.

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When I knocked on the door, I heard a yappy, tiny dog bark and thought: Oh, this will not work. No yappy, little dogs for me. She opened the door and I was greeted by a 40-pound, curly tan and white pup with the most mournful eyes I’ve ever seen. She warned me he was very shy and to be patient. He’d had a lot of change in his life.

He was in my lap before I even sat down on the couch, looking at me eye to eye. He snuggled against me while the woman laughed and said, “This is so unusual. Really, he doesn’t act like this normally.”

I don’t need another dog, was now a faint whisper in the back of my mind, but I had to be sure Mattie and he would get alone. “Can I just see how he does for a few days with my other dog?” I asked. As if he understood what I’d said, he nuzzled further into my neck and whimpered. At that moment I knew—I needed another dog.

Mattie sort of tolerated him the first night, checking him out from afar. By morning, they were in the backyard and having breakfast side by side. We took a long walk and the two leashes twisted a few times, but they seemed to get along like long-lost brothers.

The only thing was his name. I could never have a dog named Wilfred. We tried Wilson and Willy. My daughter suggested Wilby, but none of those names stuck. So, we decided to not fix what ain’t broke; Wilfred it was, is and will always be.

Maybe one day I’ll take him to visit his first owner in the nursing home. I think she’d love to see him and I bet he’d feel likewise. He’ll probably want to stay with her, and that might break my heart, but after all, I really don’t need another dog.

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