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Unbreakable Bond

It has been my experience that a deep bond with a dog is rarely an immediate development. I’m not talking love at first sight as this is not necessarily an unusual occurrence when a human and dog meet. And then for some there is an undeniable instant connection, a kind of knowing that you belong together. But what is not instant, what does not happen at first sight, is a deep unbreakable bond.

The bond between a dog and a human develops as the two get to know each other. When the excitement of the first few days together morphs into a more regular routine, the human and dog observe and learn each other’s habits and quirks. Pretty simple, standard fare in the scheme of things. But it’s what’s happening underneath the surface that really counts…the building of trust. An unbreakable bond is wrapped in trust.

If a dog is important to us we try and do all the right things. We buy the best dog food, the fluffiest bed, the most durable toys. We get them vet care and proper training. These are good things. Important things. But in and of themselves they don’t mean much if we ignore the core of the relationship and that is trust. A dog will forego a meal, abandon a toy and sleep on a concrete floor if it means they get to be with the one they trust. The one with which they have a bond like no other. Trust takes time.

I think we do new pet owners a disservice if we don’t teach them that it takes more than proper, textbook care to build an unbreakable bond. It takes many things like patience, effort and keen observation. Add in love, play and quiet time as well. Above all else it is respect for another living being sharing a place with us on this planet. Sharing each other’s lives, building trust and in return being blessed an unbreakable bond.

Perry waiting patiently for his favorite peep.

Perry waiting patiently for his favorite peep.

Willow Bean

Adjustment to life with a puppy continues. Willow is very sweet and far too smart for my own good. Just when I think I’ve got all my bases covered, she uncovers another base.

Flurry is not impressed with our new bundle of energy. Flurry isn’t impressed by much to begin with so I’m not surprised really. Willow seems to think Flurry is some kind of whippet anomaly due to her rather harsh opinion of Willow.

What...is it?

What…is that thing?

Perry isn’t sure what the hell this is all about. We had a good gig going here, he owned all the toys and life was quiet. I hang my head in shame when he looks at me like this.

We had it made.  What were you thinking??

We had it made. What were you thinking??

I have a habit (good or bad, depending on how you look at it) of nicknaming my dogs. In this case it’s Willow Bean. With a poorly executed British accent repeated frequently throughout the day. (Don’t judge.)

We got Willow a toy that was intended to make her think. It’s a fuzzy toy eagle that has a tummy stuffed with squeaky balls. It was her job to figure how to get the balls out of the eagle. It took all of about 10 seconds so now I have to spend part of each day shoving balls back inside the eagle so she can prove once again how much smarter she is than me. The other day she took a ball and hid it in my marigolds. I caught myself in the back yard hollering, “Willow! Willow Bean, where are your balls? What did you do with your balls?” (I said don’t judge.)

willow_12

Willow loves Fred. She talks to him. She gets all girly girl around him…coy you might say. She’s a player, that one is.

willow_nap

Life with dogs…never a dull moment. Thank goodness. 🙂

It’s Your Gut Calling

In March of 2012 we lost our sweet greyhound Razz to lymphoma. It was devastating and we miss him every day. A little over a year later in May of 2013 and we were crushed to have to say good-bye to Finn, our first whippet who was with us for twelve years.

Thankfully our home was still filled with canine companionship with Perry and Flurry but our hearts were shattered and we couldn’t imagine putting ourselves out there again with a new dog. Perry and Flurry are seniors now and time goes by so fast. We didn’t want to allow ourselves to think about another dog.

In July we went to the Grapehound Wine Tour event – a weekend celebration of retired racing greyhounds and their adoption near Watkins Glen, NY. We very much needed some time away. I could probably stop right here and everyone would know what happens next but it didn’t happen quite the way I would have expected.

While there I got a text and photo from a friend about a whippet that needed a home. At first I wasn’t going to show Fred the dog’s photo because I assumed (ahem) he wouldn’t want to get another dog. Even I wasn’t sure – I had more mixed emotions than I can describe.

Eventually I showed him the picture. He didn’t say much at first. To be honest neither of us said whole lot for a while. I think he had as many mixed emotions as I did. The way we initially maneuvered this conversation before getting to the heart of the matter was like watching two people play tennis with a delicate crystal ball ornament. Finally we decided to talk to the person who had the whippet in question.

Once we confirmed this was not a dog for sale we moved forward. Due to the previous owner’s circumstances the puppy needed to be placed in a new home. The only thing she wanted was for the dog to have a permanent loving home and we fit the bill. I believe wholeheartedly that with the way the entire thing happened from beginning to end, it was meant to be. So instead of leaving NY to come home we headed west to pick up our new addition.

Enter…Willow. A puppy. Did you hear me? A puppy! I don’t do puppies. Fred doesn’t do puppies. We knew she was a puppy before we agreed to take her but still…we adopt adult dogs. Willow is a PUPPY! Ack! What were we thinking???? We weren’t thinking, that’s what. We were going on instinct.

Willow

Thank goodness we listened to our gut – mine was telling me that this dog, this puppy, was meant to be with us. Due to human circumstances she was 9 months old and had already been in two homes. Three times a charm right? Damn straight.

It’s been a month and Willow has gotten the hang of stuff – lots and lots of stuff. She hasn’t chewed anything but she loves to shake shoes hard enough to bang herself on the head over and over. And over. She has our routine down pat and she has put Perry and Flurry on notice – they might be older but there is still a lot of living to do. I can’t say enough how proud I am of Perry and Flurry for how they’ve handled the transition.

I don’t particularly like to compare one dog to another because they are all unique but Willow has a number of Finn’s characteristics and facial expressions. She’s funny and snuggly. She is going through an independent streak right now. She’s smart and still a little clumsy like puppies can be.

Sometimes I look at her and wonder how the heck it all happened! She’s young and busy, not exactly what we are accustomed to, but she’s full of so much love and she’s brought a youthful spirit back to our home. I’m glad we followed our gut on this one. 🙂

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