“I think Chancey is lonely." This was the second time this week my neighbor had told my parents this. I looked over at Chancey, our nine-year-old German Shepherd. She lay curled up like a ball on the front porch. Her ears pricked up when I said her name. I wanted to correct my neighbor—tell her that she was wrong and that Chancey was the happiest dog in the world. But as much as I hated to admit it, my neighbor was right; Chancey was lonely.
My family rescued Chancey eight years before at a German Shepherd adoption event. Before the event, I had dreamed of getting a puppy. Having watched all the Disney and Hallmark movies, I thought adopting a little puppy was the key to all happiness. I did not want an adult dog. I wrongly thought that an adult dog wouldn't be as affectionate as a puppy. I also believed that I wouldn't be able to bond with an adult dog. However, these misconceptions melted away when I met Chancey. I remember the moment so clearly; there were people and dogs everywhere. There were families fighting over a lethargic puppy and another anxious dog barking. Chancey walked up to me with her foster dad, and I reached forward to pet her. My brother Donald and I asked if we could take her for a walk. After several loops around the parking lot, I forgot about adopting a puppy. I knew Chancey was meant to be a part of my family. And all my fears of adopting an adult dog were instantly swept away with one happy swish of her tail.
While my siblings and I were growing up in the house, Chancey got plenty of love and attention. Someone in the family was always home to walk and play catch with her. But as the years passed, my brothers and I moved out and onto our own lives. My parents both worked full-time and some days Chancey was left alone. Over time, Chancey grew bored. Instead of playing with her vast collection of tennis balls, she would spend the day rotating between sleeping on the porch and barking at shadows. Something was missing in Chancey’s life. And we did not what it was until we brought home Pippin.
I can't recall the exact moment my parents decided to get another dog. But what I do know that in May 2020 they brought home Pippin, a carsick four-month-old German Shepherd puppy. Pippin was terrified of us. She cowered in the corner of her crate and refused to come out. During our attempts to extricate the puppy, my brother Charles held Chancey back at a distance. Prior to bringing Pippin home, my family was worried about how Chancey would react to Pippin. Chancey had been an only dog for most of her life and we had heard not so great stories of older dogs not taking well to new puppies.
To our relief, Chancey wanted to meet Pippin! She howled and whined in greeting when she saw the smaller German Shepherd. While Chancey cried I continued to try to to coax Pippin out of her crate. I tried treats and gentle tugging but nothing we did could persuade the puppy to budge. Chancey cried nonstop. To my surprise, it was her cry that finally convinced the clumsy pup to step out of the crate and into the yard. Charles released Chancey and the older dog bounded forward to meet her new sister—licking her from head to toe. We knew at once we had no reason to worry.
Chancey’s demeanor has changed since my parents adopted Pippin. The nine-year-old shepherd has become fit and strong from chasing her sister around the yard. Her appetite has increased, and she has started acting like a puppy again. Chancey has become more adventurous since Pippin’s arrival. The two dogs enjoy exploring together during long hikes and camping trips. Chancey spends her time wrestling and cuddling with her new sister. I don't think it is an exaggeration to say getting Pippin has added years to Chancey’s life.
From my own experience, I can say that there are definite advantages to having two dogs. We have all heard the rumor that getting two dogs will double the workload of the pet owner. I have not found that to be the case at all. Pippin has brought fun and companionship into Chancey’s life. For anyone thinking of adopting a second dog I would strongly recommend doing so if you have the space and a sociable dog. There is definitely a rescue dog out there who is destined to be you and your dog’s new best friend.
Emily Negus is a freelance writer, and avid trail runner. She currently resides in Northern California with her two troublesome German Shepherds, Pippin and Chancey