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It's official - we have crossed the line from animal/pet/companion animal advocates/lovers to full-blown, lost-our-minds, whack-a-doo, borderline-animal-hoarders crazy.
Mr. Bentley James Bailey, also known now as Bennie, BenBen, BeeJ, Benjamin, etc, joined the Bailey pack Saturday afternoon.
That link and picture does not do our Ben justice.
Bill and I had both walked Ben separately during our shifts at the shelter, but neither one of us talked about him to the other until this past Friday. There was a cute little Shih Tzu girl by the name of Mary Jane who was also available and looked a lot like our Maggie, and Bill was lobbying to bring her home.
I liked Mary Jane (who has also been adopted this weekend, just not by us) as she was very sweet and affectionate but having gotten to know her, knew she didn't have the right kind of energy or attitude to fit in with our kids.
Bill offered to take me out to dinner to a Mongolian Grill not far from the shelter and "talk about it" LOL In other words, he was going to take me to the shelter to see Mary Jane and work on me about her.
The man knows the way to my heart - puppies and grilled veggies prepared by someone else! LOL
Before we got to the shelter we agreed that Mary Jane was a bit of a princess and we already had one princess who would not put up with being dethroned.
Ms. Heavens To Maggatroid "Maggie" Bailey
"Go away, I'm getting my beauty sleep!"
Plus, white dogs are nothin' but trouble and we promised Millie that if we ever got another dog, it would ~not~ be a white dog.
Ms. Magnificent Moonlight Millicent "Millie" Bailey
"Mama, you promised! No. More. White. Dogs."
Bub, of course, is up for anything.
Mr. Zerbert Ray "Bubbie" Bailey
We decided to swing by the shelter anyway, just to check out the new batch of babies who had just arrived and become available. As we were driving to the shelter, Bill asked if I knew a dog by the name of Bentley.
Yep, I know him and like him a lot! He's a sweet older boy, a little chunky, very vocal and affectionate. Why?
Well, Bill had walked him and was struck by what a good boy Bentley is.
And you know, I said, he has a great playful personality and doesn't act like he's an old man of 7.
This is true. Let's go see him.
The rest, as they say, is history. Or almost.
We went in as volunteers and took Bentley out for a walk. He was very excited to see us (anyone, really) and eager to go walking. He's a great walker and listens very nicely. We then took him into a run to see how he did off-leash as well. That's when we learned he loves to give hugs!
He climbs up in your lap, face to face, and puts his front paws on your shoulders and wiggles as close as he can, then lays his head on your shoulder.
That was it. Bill knew then that this was his boy (Bill got the first of our many many hugs) but we had lots still to discuss, and I was still hungry for Mongolian!
We had dinner and discussed the pro's and con's of adding another dog.
He's cute and obviously loves us because he gave Bill hugs.
End of discussion.
There are a few cons, but the biggest hurdle really was going to be whether or not our dogs accepted another newbie. It's taken us a while to reach this point.
Bubbie has been working on learning how to greet dogs properly. When he's gone out with me for walks or runs, he's focused on what we're doing and listens to 'leave it' 95% of the time when a dog comes into a field of vision. If the other dog starts barking or trying to get to him, Bub can be a little harder to dissuade, but does leave off the distraction and keeps going.
Millie is much better about meeting other dogs on our walks when she's by herself. She's a pleasant little girl who may not be all happy-bouncy-let's-play right off the bat but she can greet appropriately.
Maggie is a cranky lil grump*ss and likely always will be. She doesn't like having her space invaded and must control everyone and everything within her kingdom (which exists anywhere within her hearing range). She is getting better about listening to 'leave it' about other dogs and is small enough I can drag her away from any incident.
I knew if our three were going to successfully meet Bentley, we had to set them up for success!
We walked their little paws off Saturday morning!
A tired dog is a happy, well-behaved dog. We walked them in familiar territory early in the day, then again in a new-to-them area so their noses and brains would get a workout as well. They were happy and engaged and curious.
The shelter at the best of times can be an intimidating place for animals and we have experience with how our kids act when we visit there. We were fortunate to get a staff member who was willing to make it the best meeting possible for everyone and helped us work it out so our kids weren't freaked out by all the sights and smells and sounds.
While it was not love-at-first-sight for Bub and Maggie with Bentley, Millie met him politely then went about her business sniffing out other things. Bentley was such a pleasant boy and nice and polite, either ignoring the others or sniffing them up and taking their queues to heart when told to 'back off'. We all felt the meeting went well and we got the stamp of approval from the staff!
Ben became our fourth kid, and we couldn't be happier.
We kept him leashed and attached to our hip, literally, all Saturday and most of Sunday, so we could monitor his location and keep an eye on everyone as they figured out how to get along. Ben has a big pillow to himself for now, and the girls huddled together on the other pillow, keeping an eye on him. Bub followed me around as I took the pictures, which is why he's not in these shots. I expect he will make himself at home with Ben on the round pillow soon enough and will endear himself to his big brother quickly!
We replaced the leash Sunday evening with a smaller softer 'grab' leash that doesn't make a racket as Ben moves around the house (his proper leash has a poo bag holder attached, and a swivel hook to attach to our pants as needed). It's just a soft white length of rope and as soon as we put it on Ben and let him move around, always within our sight, Bubbie figured out a new game to play.
It's hard to see, but Bub has figured out that he can grab Ben's grab leash and pull on it and Ben will follow him. He's walking his own brother!
The boys are getting along pretty well. There's boxing and wrasslin'.. always within our sight and always supervised.
Maggie, queen of the universe, does not like the wrasslin' and stalks around grumbling about it because
1) no one asked her permission to wrassle
2) they're making too much noise
3) they're not wrasslin' with HER
That's my girl!
Millie will bark because she hears Maggie fussin' and barkin' but seems to feel ok about Ben being a part of the family.
There's about a one month honeymoon period when you bring a new dog home where they are the bestest, sweetest, how-did-you-live-without-them-
before dog you ever did see. And then they get comfortable and like any relationship, things gets REAL LOL we'll see how that goes. For now, this is what we know:
Ben appears to be a terrier/poodle mix, and between 7 and 8 years old.
*We've decided his birthday is in October since we have no real date, so now his birthday is the same week as Maggie, Millie, and Bubbie.
Ben has chronic dry-eye and will likely be on cyclosporin the rest of his life.
* We are unfortunately familiar with this, as this is the same condition Millie has, and she's also on this medicine for the rest of her life.
**edited to add this link on chronic dry eye..**
Ben's a few pounds over-weight.
* Millie takes after her mama and is also fluffy, so we all three will work on our weight issue together!
Ben has been through the shelter system three different times now.
* We are his last forever family, with all the power of my being I swear it.