Monday, March 14, 2011
Oh, my heart!
I'm thinking of adopting him.
I've been thinking about this for the past six months. Yes, we already have two dogs, Lenny and CoCo, whom I adore. But, at least for a little while longer, we are going to have to live apart from each other.
I hate it.
I really miss the morning ritual of feeding the pups, taking them for a walk, playing with them. I love having to come home - not being away too long during the day - because they have to be walked and played with.
I love coming home to them at the end of the day, feeding them, taking them for a walk, playing with them. I love snuggling and cuddling with them on the couch as I read or watch TV.
So, Ms. Conroy and I talked about it. Actually, she's the one who found Leo online at New England Poodle Rescue.
My biggest concern was allergies. Mine. I'm terribly allergic to cats and some breeds of dogs. I'm fine with dogs with "hair" vs. "fur". So, I'm limited to the kinds of pets I can have.
I had a "home visit" with Leo and his foster mom this morning. As you can see, he's really a cutie. He's very silky. I was with him for more than an hour. No wheeze. No sneeze. No harsh cough. Not even a scratchy throat.
He's very smart - given his genetic pool, his IQ is probably higher than mine. He has clearly bonded with his foster mom. Never barked once, although I understand that he doesn't do well with most men - especially big, adolescent young men. One can only imagine the story behind that anxiety.
Which is the thing. He's anxious. He wouldn't come to me. At. all. His foster mom and I tried two situations to see if it would change. She went into the bathroom and closed the door and stayed for a few minutes.
No dice. He just walked around the apartment, nervously looking for her.
So, we sat and visited for another 10 minutes or so. She told me that this is pretty much the way he is in all new situations - even when she visits her mom here in Cambridge. He's fine with other dogs, but when she takes him for a walk, he cowers and shivers if someone stops to visit with him.
After we chatted for a bit more, his foster mom then suggested she leave the apartment for about 10 minutes and leave us alone with each other.
Better. I kept him on his leash and walked around, talking to him in soothing tones. He did get up on the couch and sat with me. Even allowed me to pat him - a bit reluctantly and hesitantly but basically, he was okay. He didn't shiver or cower. Actually, he even seemed to enjoy it.
I know I did.
When his foster mom returned, he was obviously pleased, but then sat under the chair where she sat so no one could get to him. Wouldn't come when I called to him.
We've left it that I will think things over for a few days before considering taking him for a two week period of time. His foster mom thinks that, once I've fed him a few times, walked with him, slept with him, etc., he'll adjust.
I guess you can tell I'm a little disappointed. It's not that I thought there would be "instant bonding". If I'm honest, however, I guess I hoped there would be. You know - a sort of "Ah ha! Yes! This is the one!"
It's not that he isn't "the one". It's just that I don't know that right now. I guess I'm not only disappointed but a little anxious about investing two weeks - for him and for me - if it doesn't work out.
It's like dating someone, right? I was never good at the dating scene. Ever.
So, what do you think? Are first impressions really that important? Is he just "shy" or has he been permanently scarred by his first few months of life where he was so badly neglected? Will he ever "adjust" and "get better"? Can I expect other manifestations of his anxiety?
He's a good walker - doesn't tug or pull on the leash - but his foster mom says he does get skittish when other people stop to visit. No growling. No barking. No biting. He just shakes and cowers. Poor little guy.
Do I take the risk? What if, in two weeks, it doesn't work out? His foster mom says she'll take him back, of course, so he'll be okay, I suppose. But, will I?
I invite your prayers and wisdom and advice as I go through this time of discernment.