Lulu listened intently as Jasper and Blondie told her about the luxuriant life of a House Dog. In fact, Lulu knew what it was like to be a house dog, she herself had been one before. But it was a different life from what they were describing. She was having a hard time comprehending what they told her. Jasper talked about racing around the house chasing a ball or hoofie. Blondie talked about lounging around on an assortment of beds – some in every room – that were there just for the dogs. Eating delicious foods. Getting special treats. Having the undivided attention of a People almost any time she wanted it.
Lulu’s life had been much different. Almost always confined to a crate. Play times tended to be antagonistic, even cruel toward her. She became fearful and started fighting back by nipping and acting out. So she ended up being dumped off at a place with HUNDREDS of dogs, all barking and carrying on. It was so scary. Then HairyFace and NiceLady came and took her out. They took her to a place out on a mountain where it’s quiet.
That’s where I live, along with Blondie, and Jasper – and, of course, my Peoples: HairyFace and NiceLandy. Blondie is my adopted sister, Jasper is a foster: like Lulu.
We scared Lulu at first because we are all bigger than her. Blondie and I are much bigger. But we welcomed her and were nice to her. Even Jasper was okay once she got to know him, as long as he was the other side of a fence. He can be kind of rowdy.
Lulu was jealous of us because we were house dogs. She lived in her pen – which was big and comfortable. She got fed twice a day, always had lots of clean, fresh water, and had a shelter she could go into when she wanted to get out of the weather. But there was a roof on her pen, so she rarely needed more shelter than that. She’s a Labrador mix, she doesn’t mind a little rain when it’s hot. She preferred sleeping out in the open, not in her doghouse. That was too much like the crate at her former home. The Peoples visited with her many times a day and she got to come out and play in the big play yard at least three times a day usually more like five times. She really liked that!
But when our yard time was over, we got to go back in the house. Lulu went back to her pen.
Blondie started telling her that if she learns to get along with Blondie and me, she would get to come in the house too. We have to share the house, so we have to get along. Lulu tried harder to get past her mistrust. We made it easy, because we’re both exceptionally good dogs, and quite gentle. Except when I’m being Guardian of the Realm, then I have to act real tough and scary. I’m good at being scary … when I want to be.
On Tuesday, HairyFace took Jasper’s crate out to the workshop and stored it. He brought a different crate back and set it up with pillows, a blanket, and several chew treats. Blondie stole over to Lulu’s pen and said, “That’s for you. You’re going to be a house dog!” They were both excited.
That afternoon, when HairyFace let Lulu out for her play time, she raced past him, up the chute, and onto the back porch to wait at the door.
Hairy laughed and said, “I see you’ve been tipped off! Well, that’s not going to happen yet. Later: when Marie gets home.”
Marie is what HairyFace calls NiceLady. I’m not sure why; we’ve all agreed on her name, I don’t know why he has to be different.
Later on, NiceLady came home and fixed dinner. We all ate. When that was done, Hairy went to get Lulu. They stayed in the yard for a bit to give her a chance to empty out. She’s on Prednisone, so she has to pee often.
Lulu spent the whole evening inside with us, except for when Hairy or Lady took her outside for a potty break. She was very good about it. Twice Hairy spotted her “seeking” and led her to the door, outside, and to the yard. She gratefully relieved herself then galloped back up to the door.
The last time, Lulu was getting sleepy. She peed, then wandered over to say goodnight to Jasper. Then wandered into her kennel. She stood there, drowsily, while Hairy came around to see what she was up to. He was prepared to let her stay there if she preferred her familiar surroundings this time. But she came to her senses as he approached and shot out the door, past Hairy, and up toward the house door.
Hairy tossed a hotdog bit into the crate to bait her into going inside willingly. It’s always better to get a dog to go in willingly than to shove her inside against her will. Once inside and the door was closed, she settled in on her pillows and watched as Blondie and I snoozed in the living room, Lady browsed the internet nearby, and Hairy disappeared in back to take a shower. It looked like it was all going to work out fine.
Not all first visits end with an over-nighter. Most are an evening visit only. But she seemed happy with where she was – until we all went into the bedroom to go to sleep.
Lulu wanted to come with us and started whining. That escalated into shameless crying. That spurred Hairy out of bed to get a leash and take her (gently) back to her kennel for the night.
She complained about that too. Jasper told her “Shut up! I’m trying to sleep here.” and she did.
We’ll try the overnight again once she’s more settled with her crate and the idea that we may not always be right next to her.
Early the next morning, Hairy went outside to let Lulu out into the yard. She took care of her business and they came back inside for breakfast. Blondie was SO happy to see Lulu again!
I think she’s going to do just fine.
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