Of all the parks we have had the opportunity to explore over the years, Lake Superior Provincial Park in Ontario has got to be one of my favourites. There’s just something about Lake Superior that appeals to me; from the wide-open waters to the towering rock, I just love this place. Lake Superior comes byRead More
So there I was, diligently working on my computer (which means I was online shopping for stuff I don’t need) when my phone rang. “We have a beagle-pug puppy that needs a home.” What? I’m on my way. And that my friends (in summary) was how I came to meet Lilly.
I drove to her location steeling myself to say no to this dog. Yes it was an eight month-old puppy that needed a home but I have two dogs already and one with confirmed aggression issues. I was not about to bring another dog into the mix if I was setting us all up for failure. Then I met Lilly.
As soon as I saw her, I knew she would fit right in. She had a good energy about her, no signs of fear, and gave me kisses almost right off the bat. I learned that she had been surrendered because the owner had become overwhelmed by her care. Wow what a concept: a puppy that needed work. And work she did need but after working with the meathead, almost anything is doable.
I said that I would pick her up in a couple of days when I was off work and could devote all my attention to introducing her to the pack. I mulled everything over in my brain and came up with a plan: I would pick her up, take her to visit the brewery, go to the pet store, take a long walk around the local trails to drain some energy, then pick up the rest of the pack and go for a walk so everyone could get to know each other in a non-confrontational way. I mentally prepared for everything that could happen and how I would respond. My brain became a giant flowchart.
I wanted to introduce her to places that she would visit on her own to see how she handled new situations and make them positive as well. During our visits it became apparent that she had zero leash manners and she was all over the trail barking at everyone she saw while we were out. That beagle bark sounds like she’s either going to tear you apart or she’s being torn apart. For such a little thing it’s kind of disturbing. I’m sure people thought I was doing something to hurt her when all I was doing was holding her leash.
Finally we got home. I'm not sure how much of the trip she remembers because at some point she fell asleep. OK here was the moment of truth. I left her in the car and put King and Leo on their leashes, stopping just long enough to top up the treat pouch. As I brought them outside, they heard barking from inside the car and when I opened the door, King tried to climb in. There wasn’t any growling or snapping but I quickly got tangled up in a bunch of leashes while trying to stretch my arms wide to keep everyone apart. It was like an entire shoulder and arm workout. Finally I was able to muscle everyone back and we set out for our walk.
I will say that it was not pretty at first. Between Lilly waterskiing at the end of her leash, King trying to duck behind me to check her out, and Leo keeping back because of all the commotion, it’s a wonder we made it anywhere. Oh and the road was icy and I didn’t wear spikes because I was afraid of stepping on crazy little puppy feet. But then something remarkable happened: nothing. Nothing at all. The dogs started walking like dogs in a pack. The only issue we had was at one stop for a pee when King would not leave Lilly alone. Not in an aggressive way but in his “I’m going to bowl you over with my massive chest” kind of way while he sniffed her. I was stunned. Lilly was still trying to yank my arm out of the socket but King just sauntered along and Leo stuck next to King. Wait...who are these dogs?!?!
When we got home, I released my hounds but left the leash on King in case I needed to get control of him in a hurry and took Lilly on a tour of the house before I dropped her leash. There were a few moments when King decided he wanted to be a bit of a bully but nothing like the dogfight I had envisioned in my head. Maybe that whole “expect the worst but hope for the best” had me over-prepped for carnage.
After Lilly had checked out the house, I took them into the backyard and let Lilly go. In short order, she and King were wrestling in the snow. A few times I stepped in because she was yelping and I thought that he was hurting her until I realized that was just what her play vocalizations sounded like. Great. Between Leo who sounds like he wants to kill everything when he’s not smoking five packs a day, King with his "hounds from hell" bark, and now Lilly who sounded like she's being murdered, my neighbours are going to love me.
I brought them inside and after a bit more play time, they were sleeping. When it was time for bed, they all jumped in with me and were soon out.
Now I can imagine what you’re saying: "Yeah right it was that smooth. You’ve glossed it over and are trying to make it sound better than it was." No. Not at all. I was fully ready to have to wrestle the dogs apart and having to break up fights and be inundated with the growls and howls of angry dogs. No. Lilly did have one little accident in the house the first night after a wrestling match and I did have to implement some time outs between her and King up when they got a bit rough a few times but it has gone better than I had any reason to hope.
I will say that she is a cheeky one. There were a few times when they were playing and she would come to me. I stop the play when that happens so they know that I’m a safe place. As I was pushing King back, she would jump out from behind me and ambush him. The first time I thought I was seeing things and then I realized that was her strategy the entire time! What a sassy girl.
Lilly has a long way to go. Her door manners are downright dangerous and she tries to bolt as soon as the door opens so that is something we're working on every time we go for a walk. She also has a ton of energy so after we wear out the boys, she and I go out for more walks. I have to be careful not to overtax her young muscles since she did come from a sedentary life. Yes she's not exactly a puppy at eight months but the last thing I want to do is overdo the walks and risk injuring her. Once she gets fitter she can add walks to her exercise regime and at months, I'll look at getting her a backpack but for now, walks. Lots and lots of walks.
Leo is tolerating the new addition and has even initiated play a few times but he takes a little bit longer to accept young ones. Sometimes Leo and Lilly will be playing and King will come barrelling at them, crashing into them and sending them flying like a pair of bowling pins. Hopefully the two littles can get more playtime without Mr. Insecurity and his raging case of FOMO (fear of missing out).
While King has been more than happy to oblige with some vigorous games of chase, I also found this article by our friends at IggySays great for some ideas to get Lilly's little brain working too.
I can't wait to share more of her journey as she joins us with all our adventures.
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