Quinn and Levi keep each other company. (Courtesy of Cara Emily Krantz)
Dear Pet Talk: Should a dog have another dog for companionship? Should a cat be a friend? What are your thoughts on multiple pets? – Forever pet lover
Dear FUR-EVER PET LOVER: We put this query out to our Be PAWSitive community, and many respondents had multiple pets rather than just one dog or cat. The first question is: Can you afford the extra food, supplies and doctor’s care? The ASPCA estimates that the first year of pet ownership is $1,500, which seems high – an annual vet visit is necessary, but vaccination/dental/medical costs can be lower if you go to a clinic, e.g. That Second Chance Animal Services Runs at the Fitchburg Fire Department in the spring and fall.
Well, you can afford another dog. But first talk to everyone in the house. Does everyone agree? Will everyone participate in feeding, watering, supervised play and walks? Who is shedding all the extra dog hair!
Next: What Kind of Dog Are You Planning to Get? Recently, good friends of mine adopted a pair of long-haired Chihuahua sisters who support each other and keep each other playful and happy. I think if there was a small five-pound dog, everyone would worry about him being lonely!
Playwright Cara Emily Krantz has long advocated two dogs versus one. “I used to work off the Mass. Pike, selling sunglasses, so I would see everyone stopping by the rest area with their dogs,” she said. “Even as a 17-year-old, I noticed a difference in dogs’ behaviors, attitudes and general behavior when they had a friend. They were happier! They were more grounded, more well-behaved and generally But they looked happier.
Krantz currently has two Shih Tzus, Quinn, age 12, and Levi, 1. “I often find them hanging out together,” she said. “When they are apart they miss each other, and when they meet again they find each other, and they go on all their adventures together.” The age difference didn’t matter, Krantz added, as Levi “put an extra pep in Quinn’s step, while Levi learned a lot from his older brother.
As for cats – that’s a lot more complicated, and a topic we’ll take up in the next “Pet Talk”. But for now – it looks like you’re keen to add to your firmness, and to that we say, Happy New Year, and enjoy!
Sally Cragin is the director of Be PAWSitive: Therapy Pets and Community Education. Direct questions to 978-320-1335.