My Three Dog Life

In case you’ve forgotten, we have three dogs. No, that’s not true. we have two dogs, and Ruger has one. But, as with most family pets, only one person cares for all of them, Rebel is Ruger’s dog, but I feed her and pet her and let her outside and…well, you get the idea.


Recently, John found seven puppies wandering around Firetower Road. I won’t go into the irresponsibility of the action. It happens everywhere and it’s beyond contempt. But one puppy stole John’s heart, and he named the dog on the way to Animal Services. He even texted me pictures, and told the lady at the shelter if no one claimed the puppy she should let him know.


My first reaction was, “We have three dogs—we don’t need a fourth!” John shoved the photo of the brown and black tiny bit of a thing into my face, but I stayed strong. Well, I repeated my words but with less assurance.


My mind tossed out a memory from last July, when my mantra had been “Two dogs is enough.” And yet we’d made room for Rebel (the most accurately named dog of any I’ve ever owned.) The paint just below the knob on our back door is completely gone, along with all my plants. But when that silky chocolate head rests upon my leg every night, and those dark eyes gaze upon me with adoration, I know we made the right decision. 


Why does the world dictate our choices? Three’s a crowd, three’s company and four’s a crowd—the world can’t even make up its mind. Why do we insist on following the world? Oh, and don’t forget the phrase odd man out…well, that’s just mean.


One of my friends got married, bringing one dog into the home. Her husband brought two, and they think their blended family is perfect. Another friend currently has eight dogs. “Seven of them live outside, so that doesn’t really count.” But to the dogs it definitely counts, because they are wanted and they are loved. I have another friend with five inside dogs and two outside dogs. “But each of the inside dogs weighs less than five pounds. That’s just twenty-five pounds, it’s more like having one inside dog.” Again, why do we justify our pet choices to the world?


You probably remember my friends Savannah and Jordan, and their beautiful, wonderful six kids. Five were adopted through the Texas foster care system and one is theirs biologically. The world judges them in the same way—six kids are too many. Who’d want six kids? That’s just crazy. Maybe…or maybe it’s just a crazy kind of perfect. The Loy family certainly thinks so, and so do their two dogs.


My thought for 2024 is to judge less and love more. And in the pet and kid departments, that goes double. Hmmm, maybe I’ll tell John to call Animal Services and check on that puppy.


Jann Goar Franklin graduated Russellville High School in 1989. You can reach her at