Tuesday, May 2, 2017

I Flew The Coop

I had been obsessively searching Petfinder for weeks.

Hours.  I mean, to the point where I was probably spending more time scrolling mostly aimlessly at dogs I had no intention of adopting than doing much of anything else.  Addicted, maybe.

I had spoken with breeders, met and inquired about available 8-week olds, and honestly.. it didn't feel right.  Bawling and thinking about how Marge was going to hate me if I made an 8-week old come live with her outweighed any ounce of joy that I had about the thought of bringing home a second dog.  (Nothing against breeders at ALL, so please don't take it that way.  I just couldn't bring home an infant this time around.)

I finally mustered up the courage to submit an application for a Cattle Dog named Luke available through a rescue in NJ.  We met him, and I was lukewarm on him (no pun intended), but after literally two weeks of having the application open and filled out on my computer, I decided that I'd at least give a meet and greet between this dog and Marge a shot.

It wasn't meant to be.  The day I submitted my application, Luke was adopted.  And honestly, it was OK.  It wasn't the right dog for me, and I was trying too hard in my brain to think about why it was good and why it would work.

Still, I think the experience lit a fire under my butt because I knew I couldn't hem and haw and expect dogs to still be available several weeks later after no action from me.

The following day, I again went on Petfinder, keeping my search radius so large that I wound up looking at dogs three hours away in Connecticut.

I saw this.

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I said out loud, "What the [expletive] is THAT?!"  He was so cute.  A 7-month old Cattle Dog with a perfect description.

I submitted an application later that night.  That was a Sunday.

I e-mailed 24 hours later looking for a follow up. 

By Thursday, I was on the phone with the rescue coordinator setting up my 3-hour roadtrip with Marge and Louie to meet this little guy.

Fast forward to Saturday.  Six minutes from the foster's house - after a 3-hour drive in my new Ford Escape - I pulled in to a baseball field parking lot and bawled.  Why did I need another dog?  Marge is still young, still active in agility and picking up speed in obedience and Rally.  Would a new dog thwart our plans?

I went in to that foster's house thinking that there was no way I was coming home with another dog.  Not a chance.  This dog would have to be perfect, and I'd have to have basically no reservations about his behavior around Marge.

The rescue group deferred to me on how we'd do introductions.  I opted for a parallel walk with NO sniffing or interaction at first, gradually letting them get closer and get their sniffs in. It went fine.

After walking quite a bit, we turned them loose in a yard.  There was no more avoiding it.  If it didn't work now, it wouldn't work ever. 

One snark from Marge, then play bows, and then she ran around the foster's yard with this puppy like I haven't seen her do in years.

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We signed our papers, loaded two dogs in the car and started on our traffic-filled voyage home.

Fast forward a few weeks, after the new-dog equivalent of some kind of weird postpartum depression equivalent on my part (Marge never really had an adjustment period, other than maybe spending a little more time on her couch chair), and I finally introduced Red to the world.

After a lot of digging and a little stalking on the internet, long story short, Red was an approximately 7 month old Beagle/Cattle Dog mix from Mississippi whose owners sent him to the shelter after they were unable to curb his bad behavior around poultry.

Rescue put him on a transport truck to Connecticut, which is when I found his profile and decided I had to have him.

You'd think a leash may have helped with the whole eating birds thing, but hey.. I got an awesome dog out of the whole deal.

So, without further ado.. this is Northbound Flew The Coop, and he's part of our story now, too.

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But don't let that angelic face fool you.  This guy is a wild child.  He is well behaved in the house, amazing with Marge, and a blast while training.. but he's still got a lot to learn about life in the city.  Very different than training a fearful dog. Stay tuned for some training posts about him, particularly as I navigate an 8-week online mentorship with a trainer/behaviorist who I hold in VERY high regard.

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