Sunday, January 17, 2010

Magic and Bingley

Magic is our fifth rescue dog. One of the rewards for a true dog person in rescuing adult dogs rather than buying puppies is working with the baggage that they bring with them and, over time, seeing them moderate their reactive defenses.

As sane adopters with a dog already in residence, we introduced Magic and Bingley before she came to live with us. There was no antipathy, but little sustained interaction. Bingley is a happy-go-lucky dog who loves to play with other (reasonably large) dogs and toys. Magic was clearly nervous, but we were confident that Bingley would be a safe companion for her. That has been confirmed in the past two months.

But Bingley does love to play, and his pal Portia, who chose him, was a Big Time Player. I knew when the play bows started and Portia did her helicopter tail,we were in for sustained romping.

So, not long after Magic arrived, Bingley did a play bow and tried to initiate some of the play that had been in his repertoire with Portia. Magic panicked and ran to me for reassurance. Bingley looked hurt and puzzled, as if to say, "What's the matter with that girl? I'm a good boy, and Portia just loved that."

But being the doggie dog he is, Bingley has persisted in trying to teach Magic to play. At first she would always run to me. In fact, she gave her first play bow to Me! Poor baby. Clearly, she had not been permitted a normal puppy-hood and had had no opportunity to learn the basics of doggie communication.

But very slowly, Magic is learning to play. She has discovered that toys can be fun--especially if you steal them from Bingley. And she has learned that chasing and being chased can be fun. When Bingley mouths her muzzle--something that terrified her at first--she rears up and gently boxes his muzzle.

Then, this morning, for the very first time, Magic gave Bingley a little play bow!!

I just had to share.

They are both resting now. But a major milestone has been achieved. Good girl, Magic!

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