INTRODUCING OUR NEWEST PACK MEMBER
At one point our pack consisted of three cats and two dogs. Some time after our reverse transition to two dogs and one cat, I tried to convince my husband that we should rescue another dog. Instead, we added a cat. Read Ricky’s story here.
Charlie was our sweet English rose and the first pet John and I rescued just before we were married.
As sad as it is, we all know there comes a time when we will have to say goodbye to our beloved companions. There was something more than sadness when we lost Charlie. She was an extraordinary cat – the matriarch of our pack from the day we rescued her. Her absence created a vast shift in the dynamics of our household, and the void did not pass with time.
When my heart healed enough to consider it, I began to review the adoption profiles of animals in need of loving homes.
Creating harmony within an existing pack is more of a challenge than making a love connection between people and their first animal companion. We had to create a list of requirements for our future family member.
Hypoallergenic: despite having cats and dogs, hubby is allergic to both. Hypoallergenic does not mean allergy free, but it does make a difference when you have multiple pets.
Age: with three senior companions in the pack we decided it best to avoid having to deal with the issues and expense that come with age, times four. We also felt that a puppy would be too much energy for our seniors. Plus, puppies are the first to find homes.
Size: It matters! My husband has commented, on several occasions that if we did adopt another, he would prefer a larger dog. A running companion. I was concerned that a larger dog might accidentally trample or knock over my itty bitty senior lady. Plus, I often walk the dogs by myself and had to consider how I would manage all the leashes.
Special: We wanted someone that might be considered, by others, to be less adoptable. We’ve never figured out why. In our experience, these are hidden gems and every bit as loving and loveable. As most of our followers know, Henry and Reese are both Puppy Mill rescues. These dogs tend to do best in homes with other dogs. We were aware of the work required to rehabilitate mill dogs and how rewarding it is to witness their transformation.
After nearly two years, we met Jack. He was worth the wait.
We filled in our application and were invited to bring Henry and Reese to meet him. I can’t stress enough how important it is for all family members to meet potential pack members.
The meeting went incredibly well. Reese was our concern. She has never expressed interest in any other dog except her Henry. In fact, Reese has always run away from their advances. However, she remained calm and not at all fearful when she met her new, larger brother. That said, Jack was taller but not much heavier than Henry. Although his foster parents had been working to improve his health, we could still feel his ribs through the frizzy, dark coat.
He was the one
The rescue organization implements a twenty-four-hour ‘cooling off’ period, in case potential adopters have a change of heart and to avoid spontaneous adoptions. We agreed that I would return the following afternoon to collect our boy.
To say our first night did not go well would be an understatement. In fact, if we had gone to sleep at all, it would have been referred to as a nightmare!
After learning that Jack was crated by his foster family, my husband and I decided it would be a good idea to keep up with that. We thought it would give him a sense of security in his new environment. I had researched how to crate train but when it came to implementation. Sigh. Suffice to say, we survived. Check back for our future post about crate training.
This poor guy was confused and didn’t understand why he was in yet another house. It wasn’t a puppy mill, but we had a lot of work ahead of us to gain his trust.
Jack followed Henry and Reese everywhere and took to his new papa fairly soon after arriving. He took much longer to warm to me. That’s okay; people have different levels of energy, and it is important to be patient and let them figure us out. Jack and I are now the best of friends.
When we first adopted Jack, he was a ‘Bucking Bronco’ when something frightened him while he was on a leash. Off leash, he would pace incessantly, tail down in new situations in which he was uncertain. The pacing and bucking have lessened.
His coat was dull and frizzy, and his skin was dry, and he had dandruff. As I have mentioned previously, our groomer is fabulous and worked patiently with him during his first grooming sessions. These plus a nutritious diet have made a huge difference already.
We still had to work on potty training. It was as much for us to figure out Jack’s schedule as it was for him to learn how to let us know he needs out. Jack does not ring the bells like his brother Henry, but will go and sit by the back door.
Initially, Jack was a pukey traveler, but after our first holiday with him (5000 km), he is a pro!
Jack did not know that dog beds were there for his comfort. With confidence, he started to lay next to the bed and rested his head on a corner. Now, he takes full advantage of this luxury.
We are introducing Jack to all kinds of new experiences, and he is learning to trust us and know that we are his people and will protect and care for him. He has attended level one puppy training (level two starts next week), and he has accompanied Henry to his agility training for socialization with other people and dogs.
I can’t believe how the time has flown by. Jack has been with us for over four months. It is incredible how quickly these companions make a mark on your heart.
Jack is a sweetheart with a goofy side. He is incredibly gentle. He does rolly-pollies and likes belly rubs. He has perfected the downward dog yoga pose even though he has long lamb legs and is still a bit clumsy.
In the mornings he is super excited when everyone wakes up. It’s like Christmas morning. He walks around the bed on his hind legs with his front paws working their way around the top of the mattress.
Until now, I had not witnessed the meaning of the term ‘the tail wags the dog.’ Jack’s tail forms a perfect circle over his back, and it wags most of the time – shaking the rest of his body at the same time. When I scratch his lower back, he folds himself completely in half and kisses my hand. When I rub his ears, he leans into the fuss entirely.
Jack likes long walks on the beach and frolicking in the sea. Oh, and cucumber and peanut butter.
Jack fits into our pack perfectly!