Over the July 4th holiday, my first chance to have a dog in our home again came true. Thanks to my well known love for dogs, and past two years volunteering at Muttville Senior Dog Rescue, a friend of my husband’s let her older dog stay with us for several days. I don’t know who had a better time, the woman at her family reunion, or me spending hours trying to make sure a sweet corgi-lab was content.
First of all, I honestly believe part of the reason Miss Pickles (is that a great name?!) came to stay with us was due to my recent senior dog experiences. I believe that regular volunteer work gave Candy a feeling of confidence in my ability to care for her dog. She had lost her previous French Bulldog in December, and had only gotten Miss Pickles in March so she wanted to make sure she was in good hands.
Not only did I reassure Candy with lots of Muttville stories, but we made sure to have a visit with Miss Pickles at her home, and again in ours before we sealed the deal. I also regaled her with stories of how I cared for our dog during her golden years — starting with brushing parties and ending with sardines. I have a feeling those were more influential than the story of examining in close detail my dog’s poop or the one about cooking edamame for her. Those probably just came off as a little strange.
What I did unapologetically was write down everything I could learn about Miss Pickles from Candy, and then keep a detailed log of how often we went out, when did she poop, and have her meals. I took lots of photos in anticipation of getting a text or call though that didn’t happen. My only presumptive decision was getting waterless non-fragrant hypoallergenic shampoo for Miss Pickles. She seemed quite dusty and with her Labrador hair in need of a bath. I wanted her to feel comfortable and she smelled a little ripe. I didn’t want to make her mom feel bad so I didn’t say anything about it until she commented on how nice Miss Pickles looked when picked her up. I gave her the rest of the bottle to take home.
The dog sitting experience was a success for everyone!
The results of our taking care of this little chocolate pumpkin are surprising because I think my husband had the positive memories of life with a dog brought to the forefront of his heart. Over the hours and days, meals and walks, I watched him get more involved. He took more interest in her happiness and needs. He played guitar for her, and by last day he took her for a couple of walks and started sneaking her treats.
Now that she had returned home, my fingers are crossed that we made a big step forward toward welcoming a new dog into our home and hearts. I have been ready for a couple of years but have tried hard to let my husband arrive at the same place naturally. It’s equally important not to force a relationship and to have a good match before person and dog.
Remembering her snorts
Miss Pickles and her little grunts and snorts may be gone but they are not forgotten! Each time my husband mentions a moment he had with her fondly, I am encouraged. Having a dog at home is life-changing and a responsibility not to be taken lightly. I don’t think he’s there yet but after all the positive moments we had with Miss Pickles, even the difficult navigation of our stairs, a big step forward has been taken in my quest to bring dogs back into our home.
If not through adoption, my other tactic will be fostering!
Please leave any and all of your ideas on this in the comments below, thanks!