Friday, January 20, 2012

Year 1, Part 2

Thanks for all the kind comments.  I hope the rest of the story lives up to the standard of the previous entry!

Part 2:  Coming Home

So, after work that evening we went to the foster mom's house as we had planned.  It was after dark when we got there, and she welcomed us in to her home.  She had several animals - 3 cats and 4 dogs.  Some were her family's and others were fosters.  Plus her young children were there.  Dogs were barking, cats running, kids was chaos.  After putting most of the dogs out to run in the yard, she called over the only dog she had left in the house.  He came trotting over, tongue hanging out and tail wagging.  And then he sat down in front of me.

The foster mom and my husband were talking, but I wasn't paying much attention to what they were saying.  Knowing my husband and his gift of gab, it was probably mostly small talk.  I was checking out the dog.  He WAS skinny.  I could feel his ribs.  He still seemed shy but the tail wouldn't stop wagging.  He was an affectionate little thing.  His coat was thin, too, and coarse.  He still avoided making eye contact, but he gladly rolled over for a belly rub.   Then it was my husband's turn to check him out.  As I talked to his foster mom, I remember hearing a wild hiss followed by a sharp yelp and rapidly retreating doggie feet.  One of the cats (thank goodness they were declawed!) had decided to "play" with him and had smacked him in the face.  Now that I know Thumper and how he "plays" with cats, I'm sure that one had been biding its time, waiting to get revenge.  That was its last chance, because by then, we had decided that we couldn't leave without him.  So we finished up busy and took our new boy home.  

I was surprised by how readily he left with us.  He jumped in the car to go and showed no sadness at leaving his foster home.  Once he got home, he and Lightning adapted to their new living arrangement well.  Lightning had been an only dog for 4 years, and while he wasn't thrilled with having to share the attention, pets, and food, he seemed to enjoy having another dog to play with.  

Our biggest problem - and one we still deal with - was Thumper's hoarding.  If he saw a toy, it was is.  If he saw a bone, it was his.  Lightning "lost" all of his balls and bones to Thumper, and being the not-alpha-dog that he is, he just tucked his ears and let him keep it.  That behavior really aggravates me, but as I thought about it, I realized that's probably how he survived when he was running loose.  So I saw this as the first of the challenges we would have with a dog whose background we did not really know:  we would have to make him feel safe so he could grow beyond the survival mode he had been living in.  

Next:  Dealing with health surprises of a rescue dog

Here are some pictures from Thumper's first days with us:

1 comment:

  1. Thumper was so lucky to be adopted by you and your family. He is so cute. Love those eyes. How fortunate for everyone that Thumper and Lightning got along so well during their first meeting.

    We also have a hoarder of all bones, balls, and toys!

    Nina, Myshka, Sasha, Betsy, Lucy, Phoebe and Lily