Kali’s getting a “playmate” for a couple of weeks. Piper is an Australian Shepherd about a year old with similar anxiety issues as Kali has when around other dogs. Hmmm, this could be a disaster in the making… But I think it will be fine.
Piper’s mom Stephanie, is a beautiful young lady in her twenties who we’ve had the pleasure of watching grow up since she was five years old. Her parents are some of our dearest friends. Stephanie recently married Dillip, a fine young man, who we’ve come to know over the past year since they were married. When we learned Steph and Dillip were traveling to India for a vacation and that Piper would be staying at different places while they were gone we immediately volunteered to take her for the entire two weeks. Besides offering some stability for Piper we thought it would be good for Kali, who misses Smokey since he and my daughter moved out, to hang out with another dog for a while. Based on our experience with how quickly Kali and Smokey adapted we are confident that the same will happen with Piper within a couple of days.
Over the past week or so we’ve had Piper over for “meet and greets” a couple of times. Both visits lasted about an hour. The first visit was fairly intense and a little stressful on both dogs. Lots of teeth gnashing, Kali barking, and Piper taking coverage under chairs in the back yard. The second visit was a lot calmer and both dogs settled down quickly and were mostly willing to co-habitate while keeping their distance as the four of us observed sitting in the yard with them. Kali even laid down next to Piper at one point for a few moments and seemed to relax.
Piper arrives on Saturday and will be with us for two weeks. She is crate trained, respectful of the indoors, and very smart. She loves to play fetch so I’m hoping to do this a lot and who knows, maybe Kali will catch on to the concept of me throwing a a ball and her running to get it and bring it back to me… Holly and I, as are Steph and Dillip, are optimistic that both dogs will do well and have an enriching experience. I’ve predicted that by the end of day one I’ll be texting Steph and Dillip with pictures of Kali and Piper playing kissy-face or at the least laying down and relaxing peacefully with each other.
Stay tuned for regular updates, pictures, and assessments of what I hope is not just dog-sitting but a great experience for my Golden Kali.
I had a rescue GR years ago named Tess. At first she was an unknown entity around other dogs; I was very tense around her as she mingled in and around other dogs. We had two misfortunes interactions early on, one involved a puppy, and the other was my own cat, Newton. For most of Tess’s life I was nervous and edgy while we made our way amid the small pet community. I avoided parks and crossed streets countless times. Together we were great, yet, in my own home I still was cautious around Newton and did my best to keep an eye out for triggers, i.e., food and treats. Tess lived a long life, cut somewhat short by cancer. It would be over twenty years before I would get another dog. The thing I think I learned most about that experience was how much of a role I played in Tess’s anxiety – She could perceive my fear and uneasiness. With Bing!, I had to trust she knew better than me how to socialize and be among her own. I worked really hard to keep my spirits up and be positive around new encounters. As a small dog, I am impressed with her intuition and poise. Granted, I had the advantage of raising a pup and pursuing structured social situations from an early stage. I still fear when he is surround by a group of much bigger dogs, but I’m conscious of my vibe and look to him for guidance. Dogs know better than we do; I’ve come to trust that. I’m looking forward to a good outcome for you and Kali. There’s nothing better than having a good friend, for life. Cheers ol’ buddy.
Thanks for your insights Marty. Kali is definitely tuned into my body language and early on I tensed up if we were going to approach another dog. Like you and Tess we crossed streets and taken detours to avoid certain situations. We’ve progressed a lot of the past year and now simply taking a wide berth or just making sure she is focused more on me than the approaching dog is all it takes. I now find myself looking for opportunities along our walks to have Kali pass by or be passed by other dogs to reinforce her good behavior. Thanks for your well wishes for Kali and I. I’ll keep you “posted” (pun intended)
Sounds very promising. Looking forward to hearing all about it. 🙂