The Blessing of a Small Dog

Merle and Ras in a typical game of chase the squirrel. 

I have been meaning to blog about this for a while and talk a little about our trans formative small dog experience. We moved to the city of Reedley in the valley of California just a little over three months ago. With this move came a new place to live that has a very large fenced yard (!), a luxury we did not have for the three years we lived in an avocado orchard. Raising two large Ridgebacks in a 700 sq ft unfenced house was huge challenge. It certainly developed odd traits in them, and us, namely a large dependence on one another. They needed us around to let them in and out. We needed them around to well…feel normal I suppose.

We became a pretty tight knit pack, two dogs, two humans and (at the time) three cats living in such tight quarters. With this new move came more space, and more freedom for the dogs. I have always thought about adding a third dog to our pack. Never did I think it would be a small, scruffy, rascal of a terrier. Ras came into our life just about the time we moved into our new place.  A fenced yard meant we weren’t limited to only two dogs, and it meant we weren’t limited on space for two dogs only.

We found Ras through a local rescue group Bandit’s Buddies, while we were shopping at Petsmart one day. My husband spotted him and took a liking to him immediately. We spent a few minutes playing with him, he instantly cuddled up in my lap and I was hooked, but I just wasn’t sure he would fit in with our rowdy pack. So we left. After a week of tormented thoughts (how could I leave that poor animal without a loving, comfortable home. He was SO sweet, SO gentle, everything I wanted in a lap dog. A LAP DOG…I am NOT a lap dog person… THREE DOGS…we can’t have THREE dogs…and so on). Finally, I gave in and we went back to the pet store the following week.

As soon as the lady who ran the adoption agency saw us she said, “YOU’RE BACK! I knew you would be back for him. He is perfect for you.”  Little did I know how right she was. This little terrier, who’s name was Petey (who we later renamed Ras -which is a whole other story) was not just right for us, he was the right dog for our dogs.

Here’s why:

Kaya our female RR has never been good with little dogs. She doesn’t seem to understand that little dogs don’t equal toys. She also doesn’t seem to understand that not all dogs play like Ridgebacks and not all dogs like to be tackled and have their butts bitten.

Merle our male RR is the exact opposite. He is fabulous with all living creatures big and small. The dog doesn’t have a bad bone in is body, but he suffers from typical Ridgeback insecurity. He is basically a HUGE chicken trapped in a 100lb impressive dog’s body.

Ras came into our life and completely transformed both of our RRs. Ras and Merle are attached at the hip best friends, and Merle finally has a play partner for tug, exploring, general running around and getting into mischief. He is SO much more confident now, and he will even snuggle with me occasionally (something he would never do before).

Ras is also slowly teaching Kaya the appropriate way to play with a small dog. He will climb all over her and roughhouse till her heart’s content, he will let her chase him around the house, and they will sleep side by side. Most importantly however, he also teaches her that *SQUEAL* = no good. I am not sure that these things could have every been accomplished if we didn’t get a third dog.

I never in my right mind would have imagined that such a small, timid, snuggly little lap dog terrier would transform this entire household top to bottom but he has. We kind of like to think we have changed him too. He is less of a little timid terrier, and more of a small, honorary Ridgeback. Either way, he is one of our pack.


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