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Ask AKC: Canine Companionship

American Kennel Club, Inc. (c) 2011

Dear Lisa: I have a 2-year-old Boston Terrier. She is wonderful. However, three months ago, my wife passed away. I am at work most of the day and am considering another dog, especially to keep my girl company. Obviously, I would need a dog which is already housebroken, similar in size and age. Do you recommend another Boston or another breed? --Seeking Canine Companionship
I'm sorry to hear of the passing of your wife and I'm sure you and your Boston Terrier have lost a great companion. My congratulations to you for recognizing how this life-altering event will affect the whole family, including your dog.

Let's look at the Boston Terrier as a breed for a moment. According to the official standard of the Boston Terrier, written by the parent club the Boston Terrier Club of America, "The Boston Terrier is a lively, highly intelligent, smooth-coated, short-headed, compactly built, short-tailed, well balanced dog, brindle, seal or black in color and evenly marked with white. The head is in proportion to the size of the dog and the expression indicates a high degree of intelligence."
Additionally, according to the parent club's website, "Bostons require a lot of time and attention. They are and have been bred to be companions. They will languish without human contact. They are not "outside" dogs!"

Armed with this knowledge about Bostons let's look at your options. If your dog spent a fair amount of time with your wife during the day, I would suggest that you first hire a professional dog walker or pet sitter to come and visit your pet during the long hours that you are at work in order to satisfy the Boston's need of human companionship.

I had a friend once that had one Boston and then got a rescue Boston as a companion and it did wonders for both of them. These lively, intelligent breeds do need to have either canine or human companionship throughout the day. I would recommend that you get an older, adult dog. These are usually already housebroken and will not require the vast amount of time that a puppy would in terms of training and acclimating to a new household. There are a variety of rescue organizations for Bostons that you can research here. Good luck!

 

If you have a question, send it to Lisa at AskLisa@AKC.org and she may select it for a future column. Due to the high volume of questions she cannot offer individual responses.