Hamilton is dirty. I’d never been before and I know now I’ll likely never go back. But a trip to Hamilton was required in order to meet our new dog. It was a very strange evening and not entirely how I thought a dog adoption would go. You see…I had this vision in my head of how it would be. I often do that. Prepare myself by creating an idea of how something should be…only to set myself up for dissapointment or at the very least…an anxious moment. I figured we would go and meet our new dog in the quiet city backyard of her foster parents, perhaps throw the ball around a while, watch her interact with the other family pets and take her for a little walk to get to know her a little better. After that, I thought we would likely go home and sleep on it. And like with some shelters, I figured the shelter staff would want to meet us, maybe check out our home, and sit down to fill out a formal adoption agreement. And after, we would pick a good day with plenty of time to pick her up and introduce her to her new home.
Instead, we were greeted by a growling pup who loves to bite hands in a sketchy apartment in quite possibly the dirtiest part of Hamilton. She was out of control, her foster guy seemed not quite there, and the cat he claimed was in love with this dog…well, she seemed completely terrified. He handed us the leash and let us take her for a walk. On the quiet streets she was good. On the noisy street she was all over the place. We headed back to the foster guys apartment knowing that he was waiting for us to make a decision about this strange new dog right away. We checked over her vet records, signed a one page agreement and he asked for the money. And here’s where it go real strange. We had to pay in cash. No cheque and the paypal site was down. We walked down to the corner store to go to the atm and when we returned he was waiting for us outside with the dog on the leash and the vet records. I don’t know what was happening in that apartment, but for whatever reason, he’d decided not to let us back up there. So in the late evening, on a creepy busy street in Hamilton, we were handed one end of a leash while we handed over the cash. He counted the bills and was gone.
We drove back home. It was late. We had to work early the next day. The pup and the cat didn’t see eye to eye and our new dog slept out in the garden room. Nobody got any sleep. Mr. Tig was the problem. He wanted in that garden room real bad. He wanted to show that dog who was boss. He wanted one more chance to clock her in the face and he would stop at nothing. He whined and scratched and banged against the door. I had thought the puppy would be the noisy one, but instead it was the 7 year old orange tabby. We laid there thinking “what just happened?”.
A couple days later I got a generic e-mail from the shelter thanking us for adopting ‘daisy”…now named Sadie. That’s about the most contact we’ve had with the volunteers of this particular rescue group.
But strange adoption aside, Sadie is now on Day 4 in her new home and getting more and more settled every day. We think she is somewhere between 10 months to a year old. She still has a lot of puppy in her. She likes to chew hands, she paws a lot (and loves to box) and she has a bad habit of jumping…but mostly just the usual puppy problems. She’s a busy girl and has adjusted to country life like a pro. She doesn’t seem interested in chasing birds or squirrels or chipmunks…which gives us hope as there are a ton of porcupines here. She loves her walks around the horse paddocks and trail runs or lounging under the trees while we work outside. She’s house trained and has had no accidents. She’s very excitable, but after she calms down she is very good with commands. We think Sadie is such a smart girl. Every day with some new structure and routine, she is getting calmer, jumping less, chewing our hands less and cuddling more.
And as for Mr. Tig. He still thinks Sadie is the pits. I can’t blame him. He’s had the run of the roost for quite some time. Plus, Sadie does make a lot of fast movements, loud sounds and looks like a tough cookie. We are introducing them slowly. Letting Mr. Tig have his usual daytime nap spots and a safe space with us to cuddle at night. He is showing less and less interest in the dog behind the garden room door. In the evening, Sadie comes in to hang out with us and the two are allowed to check each other out for a while and get used to each other’s habits. Sadie is still pretty excited when Tig jumps, runs or rolls to have his tummy rubbed. And Tig still wants to hit her every time she goes to sniff him or makes too sudden of a movement. But the growling and hissing have for the most part stopped.
And Tig, thankfully, is letting everybody sleep at night.