|*Image found here|
You can see why I really wouldn't want to deal with a puppy. Already having a seven year old "puppy" in the house is enough to deal with, and I know the headaches that come with a truly young dog. Because I work from home, I knew that I would be the one dealing with the madness throughout the day. Still, in a moment of weakness, I thought that perhaps it was time to add a family member. After all, we have a 7.5 year old Labrador, and a nearly 12 year old terrier... perhaps a little additional energy would do us some good. Or not.
I believe wholeheartedly in adopting from shelters because there are far too many animals given up and there simply aren't enough homes for all of them. However, we realized quickly that having a "new" adult dog come into the house wasn't likely to work with our girl. So, we started looking for adoptable puppies. Our shelter didn't have any available that seemed suitable for our home, so we started checking other possibilities within the state. One day, while perusing Craigslist, we found a family who had some "accidental" puppies that they needed to adopt out to other families. Sometimes adoptions come from the most interesting situations, but we thought it was worth a look.
We ended up with a week(ish) to wait for our little Golden Retriever puppy to make her way home to us. In the interim, I started having doubts... started questioning the decision to bring home a third dog. It had worked in the past, but I kept finding myself asking Sam, "Do you still want to adopt the puppy?" To which he continually responded, "Yes. Why? Are you changing your mind?" I was never really sure how to answer. I know we can handle a puppy, but I was worried about how our Lab was going to handle it. Our terrier... I knew he would adapt... but the Lab - Ohhh... the Lab... she's just, well, very much her own dog who likes things her way.
|Chablis and Gandolf check out the "fresh meat."|
|Bernadette's wound healing - the knot was actually quite large at one point.|
As a side note, I swear I have a better collar for her (You know, so she doesn't look like a sad orphan dog, but it doesn't quite fit her yet).
|An increasingly rare nap - it was a good break.|
We had our first animal-related emergency room visit that evening. I was shaking, stressed, and unsure of what to do. Frankly, I wasn't sure if the wound was life-ending or not because I couldn't tell where Chablis had taken out her hostility. The puppy was spitting blood and not breathing well. It just didn't look good. After talking with the veterinarian, she assured us that we weren't doing anything wrong, but just needed to figure out a way to help them co-exist. She also said that Bernadette would be fine and that there was no permanent damage. Even her eye was fine - simply swollen from the trauma to her nose (again).
|Sassing the Rat Terrier|
After a nearly sleepless night and lots of talking about what to do, we decided to see if someone could help. I went to the Humane Society and they suggested a puppy training course for Bernadette. In the interim (the classes still haven't started, but will soon), they reminded me to back up the older, resident dogs when they (politely and nicely) ask Bernadette to leave them alone. I was also encouraged to spend at least 15 minutes alone with each of the dogs so that no one feels left out or as though they are being replaced.
|A good sign?|
Our Lab isn't a mean girl (crazy as she may be at times). In fact, she's really quite sweet and loyal, particularly to me. Even as I type this, she's right here with me, waiting for our next adventure. She loves people and is acutely aware of my emotions, so I am learning that I have to relax a little bit and not let the stress of a puppy take over every aspect of life. She may not love having to share my time with the other dogs, but she's slowly learning to accept this reality (I think - I hope).