One day last week, Dorothy woke up before I did and took the dogs down to go outside and eat breakfast. I turned over and was just about back asleep when I felt about 50 lbs land squarely on my chest. On top of me was a chocolate-lab mix, and before I could push her […]

One day last week, Dorothy woke up before I did and took the dogs down to go outside and eat breakfast. I turned over and was just about back asleep when I felt about 50 lbs land squarely on my chest.

On top of me was a chocolate-lab mix, and before I could push her off me, I was being licked on every square inch of exposed neck, face and arms. It was unexpected. It was a little unnerving. It was wet. And it was pretty great.

We've long been a two-dog household, and when we lost 16-year-old Radar more than a year ago, we were left with Muzzy, our 12-year-old puggle who gets into more trouble than any dog I've ever known. We thought getting a puppy would inject some energy into Muzzy, but we were wrong.

Last summer's addition of Daisy, a blue heeler puppy, didn't go as planned. She's a sweet and friendly dog, but she's still terrified of everything and a lot of people. Having been neglected for the first six months of her life, she's not letting most people close enough to pet her.

Slowly, over the last 10 or so months, some of the kids have gained her trust for short periods, but she's certainly not the type of dog to fetch a ball or cuddle on the couch. And Muzzy has decided that while Daisy is welcome in the house, she isn't going to expend any energy on playing with her.

Then the pandemic happened. We're all stuck at home and supposedly have lots of time on our hands.

Since the animal shelters are trying to clear out to keep workers home and safe, Dorothy decided it would be a great time to foster a dog. Hence my abrupt wakeup the other day.

Gibby is a ball of energy, and she never stops. She wants nothing more than to be on your lap, licking your face and generally getting ALL the attention.

After a few days " maybe even just a few hours "of watching the kids tug on toys with her and play fetch with a ball, we knew that 'fostering' wasn't the right word for what we were doing. So Friday, we adopted and became a three-dog household.

It's quite a bit of fun to see the kids enjoy a 10-month-old puppy. As long as they've been around our dogs, Ellie, 10, Katie, 8, and Charlie, 6, have never really had one that wanted to play much. They were old, tired and set in their ways " the dogs, that is.

As an added bonus, after a few days of being utterly terrified at this slobbering mass of brown fur, even Daisy has warmed up. The constant noise at our house, besides the kids fighting, is of two dogs rolling along the floor and chasing each other in the yard.

I wasn't excited about adopting another dog, but I'll admit that I was wrong. Just this once.

Everyone in the house is quite happy to have Gibby around. It's broken up the monotony quite a bit.

It's rarely an ideal time to shake up your life by adding a new pet, but if you're stuck at home and can help the pet organizations, now seems like a better time than most.

If nothing else, you might find one that doubles as an alarm clock.

Brian Wallheimer; brian.wallheimer@gmail.com