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D.L. Stewart: A tale of two tails decides dogged debate

In a clinical trial, I’ve settled the debate about whether it is better to have one dog or two.

Two-dog advocates say having a pair of dogs is good because they’ll keep each other company. One-dog fans figure two dogs just mean twice as many vet bills to pay, twice as much food to buy and twice as much food byproducts to clean up.

So last weekend we put it to the test when my son and his family drop their two puppies at our house for us to dog-sit.

“You’ll have fun,” my son assures me.

On the first morning, my fun begins when I accidentally leave the front door open and both dogs race out to explore the neighborhood. I race out after them, shouting for them to come back.

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Unfortunately, the dogs are litter-mates and look pretty much alike (although one is a bit bigger than the other) and I can’t remember which is which. So all I can shout is, “Bigger dog … come. Other dog … come.” Both dogs clearly are deaf, so by the time the chase ends we’re just short of the state line and I’m just short of coronary occlusion. But plenty of neighbors get to see the new pajamas I received for Christmas.

After the chase, it’s time for breakfast. The other dog is a picky eater and has to be fed by hand, while the bigger dog will inhale anything, including the other dog’s food. So I have to hold off the bigger dog with one hand while I hand-feed the other dog with the other hand.

Following breakfast they need to be walked, which means me getting down on the floor to put on their harnesses. Trying to get a wriggling dog into a harness is like wrestling a hairy alligator. And not made any easier by the other one jumping on my back.

When they’re finally harnessed we walk, which mostly involves them seeing how many times they can crisscross before their leashes tangle like a string of Christmas tree lights.

Back home, the big dog hops onto a bench so he can look out the window and bark at whatever he sees, which could be anything from a passing semi to a gnat. The other dog is too small to look out the window and see anything, but he figures he should bark, too, just in case.

After a full day of doggie duets, it’s time for bed. Or, as both dogs think of it, Wrestlemania on our mattress.

So now I’m convinced: One dog’s clearly better than two dogs.

And even better than one dog is a goldfish.

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