Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Welcome, Willow!

"Each year, approximately 8 million stray and unwanted animals are taken in by shelters across the country. Tragically, about 3.7 million -- nearly half -- of these animals must be euthanized because good homes cannot be found for them. In fact, shelter euthanasia is the leading cause of death for both dogs and cats in the United States."

Wow. How shocking and sad. The above information comes from the American Humane Association site, and it's heartbreaking to read. What can we do to help this situation, short of each adopting a bazillion pets? 'More from the same site:

What you can do to combat pet overpopulation:
-- Always spay and neuter your pets.
-- Always adopt your pets from a legitimate shelter or nonprofit rescue group.
-- Consider all the responsibilities and consequences of pet ownership before deciding to get a pet and always make a lifetime commitment to your pet.
-- Educate your children, friends, family members and co-workers about pet overpopulation, adoption and the importance of spaying and neutering.

After much consideration, we have decided to adopt Willow from the Eastern Niagara Animal Welfare Alliance. YAYYYY! We are very excited, but we also know the challenges that are ahead of us. Yesterday's "date" between Bumble and Willow began rather roughly, but ended leaving us feeling optimistic about adding her to our pack. Here's how it went down:

I knew that Bum would be pretty wild as he was alone all day, so my first goal was to get him in the right frame of mind and to reduce his hyperactivity. We took a little walk by the Erie Canal in Lockport, but I wasn't dressed warmly enough so it was a short walk :) We then headed to the heated Petsmart where the meeting was to take place. We spent 20 minutes walking around the store, practicing our "heel" and "leave it" and getting used to the many smells and the energy. Bumble was eventually in a calm and submissive state (as much as a perky terrier can actually be "calm") and we felt ready. Then we heard crazy barking -- it was coming from the training room where we were going to meet Willow so of course I figured it must be her. And it was. 

Willow was in a halter and on a leash, and she was basically air born. Her energy level was through the roof, and I figured this wasn't going to go well. My concern for Bumble was that he was going to rise to her level rather than her calming to his, and at first it looked as if I was right. Both Willow's handler and I had full control of our dogs, and let them sniff and mouth and paw each other until it escalated, at which point we would pull them apart to calm a bit. I was so proud of my Bumble! He was very responsive to me, and he didn't try to eat this little crazy bitch (I just had to get that word in here, haha!) that was trying to run the show. We repeated this routine several times, and each successive time things were looking more like play and less like aggression. Both dogs were tiring out as they got to know each other, and eventually they were fairly calm and we gave them water. Willow licked water from Bummy's mouth and it was pretty sweet :)  

Willow is so little and cute but so feisty -- I know that we have a whole lot of work ahead of us. My main concern is my schedule: how can I spend enough time walking her and training her when I leave for work in the dark and soon will come home in the dark? I figure that I am able to give her a great shot at being a happy and well-adjusted dog, and I won't give up until that happens. Bumble will benefit as well, and continue to evolve just as he did when he joined our pack a couple of years ago. We are all works-in-progress, aren't we? Dogs and people alike. I feel like our WHOLE pack can afford some growth, and after all the hard work and dedication we will be better for it. Willow will join us on Friday afternoon - I am so excited!

My boyfriend, Bumble 

No comments:

Post a Comment