If you have human children, I think it’s not a great idea to compare them — at least not often or obviously. But at the moment, we have under our roof 3 of the 5 CCI pups we’ve raised. The houseguest is Darby (#4), who’s visiting while her owners vacation in the East. Comparisons between her and #5 (Dionne) have been irresistible.


Our first thought when Darby arrived Sunday night was amazement at how similar she and Dionne look.  They’re almost the same size and shape and color — pitch black. But they feel very different. Although Dionne’s coat is not exactly bristly, Darby’s is much longer and silkier, almost as soft as I remember Brando’s being.

In the light of Monday morning, we were startled by how different their faces are. We’ve been trying to capture them well with our cameras ever since, but that’s surprisingly hard to do. Darby’s eyes are almost as round as Tuckers, and the color is a brown so warm it almost glows.  Her muzzle is shorter. When her ears are up, she looks cute, in comparison with Dionne seems to merit some other adjective. Maybe handsome.

We turned in Darby for Advanced Training less than a year and a half ago (in August of 2012), but somehow we’d forgotten so much. Within 5 minutes of going in the back yard, she plunged into the pool. Ah yes! we recalled. She was our only passionate swimmer. (Dionne and Tucker both looked at her paddling around in horror.)

We’d forgotten how Darby moans and emits other loud noises when she sees us first thing in the morning. Forgotten how she loves to walk around with something in her mouth — or her tendency to jump on us.

They’re all the sorts of things that give dogs very distinct personalities, things that non-dog owners can probably never understand (along with, maybe, single dog owners.)

This morning I took both girls for a walk. (Poor Tuck had to stay home. Three’s too much to handle.) With Darby on my left and Dionne on my right, it was shocking to see how much better Dionne walks on leash. Darb always liked to forge ahead, and she hasn’t lost this bad habit with age. Darby also bristled and lunged when we passed strange dogs. Dionne barely batted an eye.

They’re both hellions when it comes to playtime. But without sounding bitchy myself, I’d venture to say that seeing them side by side makes me feel maybe there IS hope for Dionne making it, after all.

Tuck says: life is REALLY rather stressful with two energetic female roommates.

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