Before we got Jujube, a question I posed to other owners of multiple dogs was, “Is it worth it to have two dogs?” On the one hand, it seemed that the cost of having a second dog could be less than two times the cost of having one dog. It’s true that you need to buy twice as much dog food, but the time and effort cost was surely marginal. If you spend the time to feed one dog, feeding the second dog wouldn’t be much more trouble. Similarly, if you spend the time to walk one dog, walking a second dog at the same time doesn’t take any more time or effort.
My original reason in getting a second dog was to provide a daytime companion for Loki. I had read from a self-proclaimed dog expert that dogs are social animals and thus it was cruel to leave them in isolation for 8-9 hours a day. This expert believed so much in his message that in the absence of a human or second dog, he recommended getting another species, like a cat, or even a turtle, to be part of the canine’s pack. A turtle? Really? In all seriousness, I don’t think leaving a dog while you go to work counts as animal cruelty, but I still thought that it might be nice to get Loki a companion. Humans are really bizarre creatures, aren’t we? I got Loki to be my companion, and now I was going to get a second dog to be a companion to my companion.
As it turned out, nothing worked out as I had planned or envisioned, but little in life does. Sure, Loki and Jujube sometimes play and they can tolerate one another, but they most definitely do not cuddle or even hang out with one another. Given the number of times Loki has snapped at Jujube, she has learned to avoid him and he seems happy to have his space. I suspect that while we are at work, the two of them don’t even share the same floor. Despite our best efforts to keep them off the couch and bed while we are present, I’m pretty sure that Loki takes over the couch on the main floor and Jujube takes over the bed upstairs when we are away.
Through all of the dog fights, the money spent on a behaviorist, and bite wounds, I have never once regretted getting Jujube. She is an absolute sweetheart and has changed my perception of the shiba breed. It’s funny how first impressions really do matter. My experience with Loki has formed my main impression of the shiba breed, but had I gotten Jujube first, my impression would be entirely different. I view Loki’s characteristics to be what a shiba is. He’s mostly standoff-ish, very responsive to food as a motivator, skittish at times, apprehensive about being handled, sometimes aggressive, and does not follow you around the house like most dogs. And I see Jujube as the exception to the shiba breed. She is aloof, but always close. She does follow you around the house like a regular dog. She’s not at all skittish; in fact she’s fearless. She’s great about being handled in any way and never aggressive.
Because my initial impression of the shiba breed comes from Loki, I often hesitate to recommend shibas to others. I only actively recommend shibas if they are experienced with other primitive breeds like Akitas or Chows. But I imagine that if I got Jujube first, then I’d be much more inclined to recommend shibas to everyone I met.
I didn’t know what to expect when we got Jujube. I wanted to get a companion for Loki. But as it turns out, I got a sweetheart of a companion for me. So, if someone were to ask me today, “Is it worth it to have two dogs?” I’d say, I don’t know. I don’t think of us as owning two dogs. I think of us as owning one Loki and one Jujube. And I don’t regret getting either.