From a Teen’s Perspective: The double dog debate

by Dylan Lanier on August 1, 2023

My family got a dog, who we named Tucker, eight years ago. It was love at first sight for all of us. In fact, I wrote an earlier column about all the lessons I’ve learned from him.
When Tucker was about two years old, I started to petition my parents for another dog. I wanted a puppy for him to play with (and for me to cuddle). In my mind, the only thing better than one canine companion was two.

I figured that Tucker could teach the puppy everything we had to teach him the first time around. I also secretly hoped that his spunky and happy-go-lucky personality would rub off on the puppy. I wanted to get a new dog before Tucker began to lose his youthful energy. I felt that if we waited too long, he wouldn’t be able to handle a rambunctious younger sibling.

Unfortunately, my pleas were dismissed. According to my parents, between school, sports, playdates, and still training Tucker, life was just a little too crazy for a new addition to the family. I rested my case and continued to love Tucker with the entirety of my little heart. I thought it was the end of the conversation.

Then, a year or two ago, my mom brought it up once more. “Tucker needs a brother or sister,” she decided.

Initially, I was resistant. First of all, hadn’t I already given my parents a window of time that they had ignored. Now Tucker was too old and wouldn’t want a yappy newcomer! Should he really be spending his sunset years putting up with a fluffy ball of energy?
My aversion was rooted in my love for Tucker. I wanted what was best for him, which I assumed would be spending the rest of his life with the same routine, one where he was (rightfully) at the center of our universe.

My mom and sister argued that he would be way happier with a sibling. They imagined the two dogs snuggling and playing and keeping each other company when we left the house. My dad and I imagined Tucker jealous of our redirected attention and tired of a high-energy, 24/7 companion.

For a long time, we have maintained a tentative ceasefire on the subject besides the occasional Instagram reel my mom sends me of cuddly puppies.

However, I am dog sitting an adorable puppy this week and I brought her over to our house multiple times. She and Tucker spent hours at a time together and their interactions have made me rethink my position.

Whenever she comes over, both their tails start wagging profusely and they greet each other with tender nuzzles before running off to chew on Tucker’s toys. When they’re together, they seem attached at the hip. Not because they’re always right next to each other, but because they always want to do the same thing. If one wants to go for a walk, so does the other. If one wants to go in the backyard, the other is right behind them.

Tucker seems perfectly happy to hang out with a dog way younger than himself. I’ve even caught him curled up with her, sleeping on the couch. The other dog understands her place in the relationship: she always lets Tucker take the first treat or the best toy. But she too seems overjoyed to spend time with a fellow canine pal.

I used to think Tucker would eventually get annoyed with a new puppy, but so far he seems more excited with every visit from his temporary little sis. I’m (reluctantly) starting to side with my mom and sister. Maybe Tucker would benefit from a furry friend. Is it time to introduce a new member of the family? It looks like the case for a second dog has been re-opened.

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Dylan Lanier is a rising senior at Menlo-Atherton High School

Illustration by Ashley Trail (c) 2023; Ashley graduated from Menlo-Atherton High School and is currently attending Otis College of Art and Design. 

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