It’s been about 5 months since Georgia left us, and Belle has been out of sorts ever since. For the first month, she seemed depressed and pretty lethargic. She now seems more like her usual herself, but every morning as I head to work she forlornly watches me from her dog pen. I have decided it’s time to find a companion for her.
A week ago, I went to the Humane Society shelter “just to look.” I had some criteria for the new dog. It needed to be male, submissive, young enough to walk long distances, and less than 45 pounds. This dog would be the right fit for Belle who is female, 14-year-old, 35 pounds, and (can be) dog-aggressive.
I met a couple of members of the board that weekend and spent some time with one particularly friendly dog.
Testing The Dog’s Temperament
While I didn’t spend a lot of time with this dog, I did test him out a bit. He was on a leash, but in a foreign environment with a bunch of people walking around as well as several other dogs. He seemed pretty calm.
I wanted to see how docile he was. I picked up his paws, which a lot of dogs don’t like. I checked his ears, and I even opened up his mouth to check his teeth. He let me do all of these things without flinching. I also took him for a very short walk to see how well he paid attention to me and whether he had any training. It is obvious that he has not been trained, but he is very alert and attentive to people, so there is hope he will be relatively easy to train.
He’s about 4 years old, around 40 pounds, and showed no signs of people or dog aggression. (yay!)
The Good News About the New Dog
I gave it a trial run this weekend and brought him home. The dogs did so well together. I first took Belle to meet him at the shelter in a fenced in area. They were both on leashes, I was tense, and it was very noisy. Belle did not do well and snapped at him. Not a good start.
I brought him home Saturday morning and he has stayed with us for three days now. In the open pen (with him on a leash), Belle reacted much more favorably to him. He marked a whole lot, but showed no signs of aggression. I kept them separated part of the day and in the afternoon just turned him loose in the pen.
Sunday morning and Monday morning I caught them playing with each other! Success! I just went home at lunch to find them both laying side by side in the sun. They seem to be enjoying each others company.
The Bad News About The New Dog
Now for the bad news – this dog has heartworms. I wasn’t sure what to think about this, so I called my vet, I spoke with the director of the shelter, and I asked a lot of questions.
The shelter is willing to treat him and my vet recommends what he calls a “two-pronged” approach to treatment. One treatment with another treatment 30 days later. He will have to be kept calm and still for the first weeks after his treatment. I’m hoping the shelter can help me out for the first week and then I’ll take him home after that.
I really have thought long and hard about this, but he and Belle get along so well, I really would like to give it a good go. So tomorrow I will go and sign the adoption papers and determine when and how he will get heartworm treatment.
Wish us luck!