I have no plans to ever again have a puppy as my canine companion. Of course, if a homeless puppy turned up on my doorstep and my resident canines showed no inclination to do it severe bodily harm, my plans could change in a hurry. But given the fact that John and I have made the decision to adopt rescues and given the fact that we have no inclination to train a puppy, our plans are likely to stand.
However, bringing an adult dog who has either never known a real home or has associated bad things with humans also requires loving patience and consistent re-training.
For many people, that process is too long and too demanding. But for some of us, helping an adult dog become a trusting member of a family is rewarding beyond words.
Nine days from today, Magic will have been with us for eighteen months. Her behavior patterns are dramatically different now from the way they were when she first arrived. She was a "Bolter", an "Escape Artist." She had to learn to walk on a leash. She had to learn that carpeting was NOT the place to relieve herself. She had to learn that she could trust men, most particularly John.
Magic and Bingley had to work out their relationship. Bingley is an easy going, get along kinda guy. But he was accustomed to pretty aggressive play with Portia, who always gave as good as she got. Bingley's overtures terrified Magic. His repeated play bows--his gentlemanly way of reassuring her--meant nothing to Magic.
And then, there was the First Out The Door Issue. Anytime John or I approached a door, Magic was there, ready to bolt. In her determination, she almost knocked me over more than once.
She had to learn that when returning from a walk, the human, not either dog, enters the house first. Then she had to learn to wait at the back sliding glass door until it was opened.
The very last lesson had to be taught by Bingley. With dogs, first in and out is an important expression of dominance. Bingley was clearly unhappy to have the new interloper blast past him when he was venturing into his kingdom--that is, the back yard--or returning from exploring his kingdom.
I felt sorry for Bingley, but I leave it to the dogs to tell each other what they can tolerate. It became routine to see Magic push her way out the kitchen door in front of Bingley.
Then, a few weeks ago, I opened the door to let the dogs in. Bingley was standing right by the door. But he did not come in. I called Magic. She ignored me. Bingley trotted over to where she was and transmitted some doggy signal. Magic came racing for the door. Bingley followed her in with great dignity.
The next time I let them out, I realized that it was Bingley, not Magic, who exited first. Without any help from me, Bingley had let Magic know that he would wait for her to be the first in, but she would have to defer to his being the first out.
At eighteen months, a puppy is adult size but still a puppy in behavior. At eighteen months, a frightened, insecure Magic has become an integral part of our human/canine family. Still a little quirky. Still sure of what she wants and doesn't want. But a loving companion to John and me and a reliable sidekick for Bingley. Nothing beats two middle aged dogs who get along with each other, love their humans, and fit themselves into the routines of the household.
And when both dogs are rescues, the rewards for their humans are indescribable.