Well, just a year after adding Chief to the family, we're beginning to think of what we want when we add another.
No, we don't want five dogs (okay, Jason doesn't want five dogs, LOL), but Tootsie & Buddy are really showing their age / health.
Tootsie has a growth on her belly that is growing rapidly. We're both thinking tumor. Due to her age & other health issues, plus considering that she doesn't appear to be suffering, we are in agreement to not have it treated. If she begins to show signs of suffering, we will most likely have her euthanized. Honestly, we didn't expect her to live this long. The primary motivator for getting Chief a year ago was that we thought she would only last another few months. Yet here we are a year later, and other than this new tumor, she's no worse off than she was then.
Buddy has also slowed down greatly this year. He's been to the vet for an injury plus an illness. He's also been exceptionally cold this Winter. To help you understand, his breed was made for the cold. He has a triple coat, which is usually thick & fluffy in the Winter. He loves the snow. Sleeps in it. Plays in it. Eats it. Loves it. It's the weather he was bred for. In the past, even when we have brought him in for whatever reason, in less than an hour he's begging to go out. Being outside patrolling "his" land is in his blood.
But not this year. He shivers if it gets below 40 degrees. He's moving slower than normal. And when we bring him in? He's content to stay in the house all day and all night. Very unlike him. The vet finds nothing wrong with him, so it is most likely his age setting in. We don't know his exact age, but are estimating his age to be nearing the end of his approximate lifespan for his breed. And yes, he's got a lot of gray in that muzzle.
And so, with both of our big dogs showing their impending fates at the same time, talk has turned to adding another to our pack. Probably not until one of them has passed, but still, the discussion has started.
Chief is a great dog. He works well with Buddy, and shows many of the same traits. The shepherd side of him, I suppose. However... it ends up that he seems to have a good deal of hunting dog in him as well. He tracks... everything. Trees squirrels. He hunts. Something I was specifically hoping to avoid.
He's also a bit smaller than we were hoping, weighing in at around 70 lbs. Close, but we'd really like our dogs to be 80 lbs or more. We like big dogs. Especially for working dogs.
And so, I've expressed to Jason that I'd like our next pup to be either an Anatolian or a Great Pyrenees (or similar). Rescue would be preferred, of course, but since I would like to ensure certain characteristics in at least one of our dogs, I'd be willing to buy from a reputable breeder.
So, this is where we are with the dogs. It's sad, but a fact of life.