have you signed up for resolve’s advocacy day yet? what are you waiting for? all the cool kids will be there!
one of the hardest transitions when Pignut was born was with our dog, Agatha. we adopted her from a local rescue group just over two years ago. it was actually the same weekend we bought our house. we stopped by a local adoption event to talk to the people from the agency about their requirements and adoption procedures. and then we saw our puppy girl, and it was love at first sight.
Ag is a boston terrier/pit bull mix. she has the personality of a boston (and is positive she’s a lap dog), but is 50 pounds of pure muscle. and a bundle of pure energy. she loves to cuddle, but also loves to play, and run in circles around the house, and chew the hell out of her toys. we knew that bringing home a baby would be as much as a shock for her as it was for us, so we made sure we did everything we could to get her ready. she was great with kids, but had never really been around an infant before.
we played baby sounds for her, and set up everything months before my due date. we bought a doll, and tried to teach her that she couldn’t sit with us when we were holding the “baby” (that one was a failure…she just wanted to chew the new toy). while i was in the hospital, Ralph brought home blankets that smelled like the baby for her to get used to. when it was time to come home, ralph took her for a long walk to tire her out before we got there. i came in, by myself, to see her.
only she wanted nothing to do with me. all she wanted was to get past me to the car seat and see what was inside. we kept her on her leash and tried to wait for her to relax, but she was just so excited. even when i took the baby upstairs while i showered, she still was going nuts downstairs with Ralph.
we were at a loss. we didn’t feel like the baby was safe. we cried, and talked about contacting the rescue agency to help us find her a new family. but we didn’t want to rush into any decisions quickly, while we were both exhausted and i was still pumped full of hormones (after all, it hadn’t even been 72 hours yet since i had given birth). so we tried to find somewhere to board her while we figured out our options.
and we found Shelly’s School for Dogs at The Green Leaf Pet Resort and Hotel. not only could we board her, they had a training program we could enroll her in. we toured the site and had her evaluated for the program. we figured, if nothing else, even if she still couldn’t stay with us, we would be giving her a better chance at adoption. because no one is going to want a pit mix who didn’t work with a kid.
one of the reasons we chose Shelly’s was that there was no firm end date for their program. we were planning on her being there about a month, but she would stay until we were all satisfied with her progress (with no increase in the cost).
dropping her off was one of the hardest things i’ve ever done. Ralph and i drove separately so the baby and the puppy weren’t in the same car. and i cried the whole way there, and the whole way home. we were confident in our choice of programs for her, and she was so excited to be there when we dropped her off, but i was sure she wouldn’t be able to come back home to us. i felt so guilty, that after all we had done to bring home this kid, it would mean losing her. it would mean asking Ralph to make yet another sacrifice. for quite a while, i would cry anytime we talked about her. i cried that first night we went to bed without her curled up at our feet. this wasn’t what our first few days as a family was supposed to be like.
there was a silver lining though – with Ag at her “boarding school,” it was a lot less to worry about as we figured out how to be parents. no walks, or barking at the garbage truck and waking the baby. it definitely made things a lot easier. we were able to visit her while she was there, which helped too.
after just over a month, someone from Shelly’s called, and she was ready to come home. as part of the program, we went there to a training session to make sure we were ready for her to come home. it was like a miracle. she was still our puppy girl, still the happy, energetic dog we loved. but she listened. she didn’t jump and freak out. she heeled, sat, laid down, stayed, and came on command.
and, she was ok with Pignut. she was still interested in him, and wanted to sniff and lick him, but she was calm about it. we weren’t scared seeing the two of them together.
she could come home.
this has gotten really long, and nap time is going to end any minute now, so i’ll write more later about how things have gone in the past month since Ag came home. spoiler alert: so far, so good!