After a long and eventful weekend, Murphy and I are back in Lamar with an additional guest: my childhood friend’s eight-year old blue heeler mix Gracie. My buddy is going to the beach with his wife and kid, and needed a place along the way to drop their pup.
As such, I’m now running an assisted care facility for elderly dogs. In all seriousness, the dog, Gracie, is a real sweetheart, and she and Murphy seem to get along well enough. Murphy quickly established dominance once we got back to the house the other day, but then I put Murphy on her back to remind her who is really in charge, and it’s been relative peace in the house ever since.
One salutary effect of Gracie’s presence is that Murphy is a bit more wary than she usually is. I mean, that’s not salutary for Murphy, but it does give me a bit of a break. I’ve spoiled old Murphy Girl, and she craves attention, especially when I sit down for a long session of work at the computer. We go on several short walks a night, often because she just wants to get my attention and go out and do something. I make a point of trying to snuggle with her after I first get home from work, talking to her and rubbing her belly, but she had been getting a bit restless last week when I was working so hard.
What I’m hoping is that she and Gracie will grow accustomed to each other over the next few days, and can help entertain one another. So far, their interactions have involved Murphy eating Gracie’s food, and Gracie retreating to a safe distance while I scold Murphy for being such a greedy little piglet. They walk well together, though, and Gracie has been very good about slotting into our schedule even after a day.
Gracie is far more energetic than Murphy, who shares more of my couch potato ethos. Murphy has a half-hour adrenaline rush around 8:30 PM every night, during which we play tug-of-war or wrestle (well, I try to put her in a hold, and she bolts away). After that, the old girl is wheezing through her prominent nose and panting like a locomotive—and I’m usually doing the same!
Gracie, on the other hand, seems always eager to do anything. When I pick up her leash she starts bounding up and down with excitement, making it quite difficult to get her leash affixed to her collar. But she is still an old girl, so isn’t totally insane. She spent most of her first night curled up on the floor next to me at my desk, with Murphy alternating between her crate and the couch.
It’s shaping up to be a fun experiment in seeing how Murphy does with another dog. She’s done well enough with Lily, my girlfriend’s German Shepherd, despite some snarling and fighting here and there, and loves most other dogs. I was concerned that I was in for four or five days of yapping noisiness, as when I took Murphy to meet Gracie at my friend’s apartment, Gracie was a yelping mess, but have been (so far) pleasantly surprised.
Still, I’m sure I will be relieved when my friend picks up his dog, sweet as she is. I know for certain Murphy will be.