March 4, 2013

All Beginnings Are Hard

Years ago we considered adopting a second Pug as a companion for Nacho. Eventually we chickened out, but not before looking through a LOT of pet adoption sites.  During that process, I noticed there were so many elderly pugs who needed homes for their final years.  I told myself that when Nacho got old, we would adopt one of those older pugs.

So when I saw this picture on Facebook in January, I decided that it was time, now that Nacho is ten years old.  I contacted the Rescue organization, filled out forms, met the dog and her foster family, tried to get a feel for what this little girl was really like, and we took the leap.

I guess it should go without saying that nothing is ever exactly what you think it will be. Although the Rescue people and the foster family did their best to give us all the information they could, things were not as expected when Georgie moved in with us.  She's had a tough life, mostly spent in a cage, and mostly breeding. Her poor little body has a number of problems, and we were ready for that. But what couldn't be anticipated was her nervous reaction to Nacho, who is much bigger than she is.

The first few weeks were heart-wrenching, really not knowing if we could make this work. She's such a sweet little peanut, you just want to hold her and protect her.  But then, in an instant, she would attack Nacho, and it seemed grossly unfair to him. It broke my heart seeing him so sad and frightened, but at the same time I didn't want to give up on this poor little waif who needs a home.  We went through a roller-coaster of emotion, one day thinking it will work, and the next day certain that we'd made a terrible mistake.  A lot of soul-searching went on.

After 5 weeks we're still working on it, but things appear to be calming down. For one thing, we three humans have gotten better at preventing trouble between the two dogs. Georgie is getting used to the routines of our home.  And the two of them seem to be getting used to each other. This week Georgie will start a training class, which I think will really help her confidence.  Once she knows some of the commands that Nacho knows, we can play some games with them together; maybe they will bond. It will be a long time until I feel confident enough to leave them alone together, but for now we've worked out systems that allow me to leave the house safely without too much stress on them.

I think we're doing a good thing, and I wish I could explain it to Nacho.  I fervently hope this will grow to be a positive experience for him too.

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