We’re hearing the pitter-patter of little feet around our house now. (Yes, this phrase was specifically deployed here because a lot of people ask when we’re going to have kids.) No, we are not adding a tiny human to our family, but a large dog instead. Meet Captain (the name could potentially change, but it really is growing on us and we haven’t come up with the perfect alternative yet), our newly-adopted 2-year-old Weimeraner mix.
Those of you who know me well are aware that I will stop whatever I am doing to make googly-eyes at passing dogs. I was riding the Metro once with my friend Greg, when a police officer came through with a bomb-sniffing dog and my immediate reaction was all “ooooh, PUPPY,” to which Greg shook his head and sighed. (This was a random check, not something specific to the train I was on. Dear relatives, don’t freak out.) I always get permission from the owner before I make contact, but there ends my interaction with the human as I get all friendly with the four-legged cuties. At my in-laws, I almost always spend 20 minutes flopped on the floor, finding their dog’s itchy spots and giving her a belly rub. Tim knows this about me, and after a few months of “I can’t believe we’ve lived in this house with a fenced yard for almost a year and you haven’t insisted on getting a dog yet” he finally gave me a nudge as a birthday present.
We went around to a few shelters on Saturday, with a list of dogs we’d put together from the websites. We met Captain at the first shelter we were at, the Franklin County Dog Shelter, and he was pretty special. Though his bio warned that he was very high energy and needed some training, we were able to get him to focus on us and he was much calmer out in the yard where he was away from all of the distractions of the shelter. I wanted to meet more dogs, so we kept moving, but we ended back there at the end of the day and took him home.
Captain seems VERY smart and ready to learn. We’re going to try to teach him good dog manners that establish ourselves as his leader, because everything we are reading says it helps control the dog’s behavior in the long run if they know they are not the boss. We’re working on having him wait at the door, heel on a leash, and stopping him from barking (I think that one might be a challenge, though he doesn’t keep it up for long even when he gets going). Even though he was found on the street and is awfully skinny, we think that he must have been someone’s pet before, because he’s already fairly well-mannered, if just really exuberant.
Molly and Michi have yet to come face-to-face with him, since we’ve been keeping them separated and are trying to gradually ease all of the pets together. We’ve let them come down from the upstairs while we’re holding Captain’s collar firmly, and he is very eager to go over to them, but hasn’t gotten so excited that he’s barked at them. Molly was so desparate for petting that she stayed in the room a few minutes (though as far from Captain as possible), while Michi stared daggers from the doorway and ate treats that Tim offered, but wouldn’t come into the room. We’ll take it one step at a time, because the cats were our pets first, and getting a dog doesn’t mean we have ANY less room in our hearts for them, so we want to make the living arrangement as trauma-free as possible. (Any suggestions?)
Captain is a wonderful addition to our household, Tim has already run with him a few times, and he curls up and sleeps at our feet while we watch TV (he wasn’t even disturbed by shouting during the football game Saturday night). He’s a real charmer and I look forward to watching him grow into a well-mannered, delightful dog. Welcome, Captain!