We got to the meeting place an hour early on purpose, just so we wouldn't be late. We were to meet her transporter, Peter, in the Pier 1 parking lot next to the mall, at 4:25 pm. Being so early, we went into the store to kill time. At 4:00, we figured we'd sit in the lot and wait but Lloyd spotted the driver's car (we were told ahead of time what kind of car he'd be driving -- believe it or not, a BMW sedan!), and Peter, with the two dogs on leashes ... He was early! Cricket and Gray (a cool-looking blue heeler mix that had been at the same rescue home as Phoebe Cricket, was her good friend, and was making his way to Ipswich, MA by way of Nashua, NH), and both were straining like mad on their leashes. When we came over, I said, "Hi Cricket! Hi Gray!"
We tried to "meet" Cricket but she was so wild-ish and really unhappy on the leash, straining and pulling and doing the crazy circle-in-the-air-I'm-going-to-choke-myself thing. And she was shy and backed away, even from a hand under her chin. Peter gave us the manila envelope with all her papers in it and by that time, the next driver who was taking Gray to the next stopping point had arrived. Peter took Gray to the other driver and Phoebe Cricket went wild, trying to get to Gray! I wanted to cry I felt so badly for her. So Lloyd and I quickly got her to our car and she hopped into the back seat. I went in next to her instead of staying in the front seat because I wanted her to feel secure and Lloyd thought it was a good idea because we weren't sure how she'd be in the back seat alone ... Would she try to jump in the front? She lay down and within a short time, put her head on my knee. So sweet.
We got home 45 minutes later and I went into the house to get Jet, our small black and tan, on her leash. I also got the Gentle Leader for Phoebe because we saw how not-very-good she was with the collar and leash and didn't want her to hurt her neck or throat. I was a little worried that the Gentle Leader would be too much for her to take all at once -- you know, two days in 15 different cars and an overnight stay in a strange place, new people-owners, new dog friend, new place, and now a thing around her face? -- but I was worried about the way she was on the leash and regular collar, so I put it on her. It only took about 2½ minutes for her to stop fighting the band across her nose and like magic, she walked like a lady on the leash!! Then we brought Jet out and they sniffed each other just a little ... Jet is laid back and seemed kind of disinterested and Phoebe just wanted to lick Jet's rear end. So Lloyd and I set off with the two dogs on leashes and Gentle Leader collars and we had a great walk!
Phoebe did best when she was walking right next to Jet. They didn't interact much but there was no aggression whatsoever, none at all. We came back to our house and without going inside, went to the backyard with the dogs. Then they ran around a bit but Jet was still very separate, like she usually is. Then the neighbors let their 6-month-old Golden Retriever in the yard and it was crazy because she's verrrrry active. Jet, Phoebe, and Ruby were running like crazy and were having a great time, all of them together. That went on for about half an hour. Ruby went back home and then it was time for Jet and Phoebes to eat dinner.
Although we have the crate all set up, we thought, "Let's see what happens if we just feed them in two different places." Up to this point, Phoebe wouldn't accept any treats, not dog biscuits, not peanut butter biscuits, not beef snacks. Nothing. Poor girl. I got the kibble into the bowls but Phoebe wouldn't eat and I remembered that Jet had been the same way for about a week when we'd just found her. I think it's an issue of trust and/or nervous stomach -- newness, too much traveling, too many people. So I put some wet food in the bowls and both dogs ate everything. It was so good to see! Then it was relaxation time and Phoebe sure knows how to relax! She jumped right on the couch and sprawled all over. Jet gave her quite a once over, as if to say, "Who the heck do you think you are?" but she took the club chair and lay down, too. After Lloyd and I had dinner, we sat with the dogs and watched TV and petted them both and everyone was happy.
Bedtime. We wondered what would happen but we were game for the experiment. Jet always sleeps in our room, either on her dog bed or on the bed with us and we had bought Phoebe her own gigantic dog bed and thought she'd sleep there. Wrong. Right up on the bed! That was fine, except she'd rested quite enough between the yard time and bedtime and she was in play mode. Sorry, pup ... gotta do what the family is doing. Jet knows the drill and settled herself in the crook of Lloyd's knees. When Phoebe jumped on the bed and bumped into Jet, I heard Jet with a low growl in her throat for the very first time! I yelled at her, "NO, Jet. NO growling," and I petted her instantly and hugged her. Phoebe settled elsewhere on the bed and all was well. It didn't take long and she settled down and slept most of the night at my feet, changing position once or twice and even jumping down to nest on her dog bed once or twice.
In the morning, same thing happened with a Jet growl because Phoebe got too close to her when Jet was snuggled next to me. But it was momentary, no problems. It seems Jet doesn't like to be touched by Phoebe when Jet is sleeping right next to either of us, otherwise, she's fine. We haven't seen this when they're playing outside or even elsewhere in the house, only on the bed.
We all got up, leashes went on the dogs, and the four of us took a walk. Good girls. Good Lloyd and Stacy. Came back and repeated the yard exercise and they ran with each other like mad, play fighting -- no growls, just play-mouthing each other -- and wandering. Both girls go into the little "woods" of the yard to "do their business." They're really great! Then they had breakfast and I was happy to see Phoebe ate almost all of her kibble without wet food. Good! She doesn't seem to want snacks yet, but she needs time.
Right now, after all their playing, Jet is sleeping on the cool ceramic tile floor and Phoebe is outside on the deck in the sun, near-ish to Lloyd. It's beautiful weather here, not hot, sunny and breezy. And we have two beautiful dogs who are, oddly, the same exact size. Weird for two hounds who belong to breeds that are usually larger than 40-45 pounds. Although Phoebe weighs a little less than Jet's 44 pounds, I'm sure it's because she's so skinny. She's actually a heavier-boned dog than Jet and I'm sure she'll fill out to be the larger (heavier) of the two. But since she's older than a year, I don't think she'll grow much bigger.
I think she's pretty close to a year or just a bit older because she's very puppyish still, mouthy, lively, going after toys. Jet, who we figure is also just over a year and a half, has lost some of that. She chewed my couches (!) and was a lot like Phoebe is now just until a couple of months ago. Could be she also finally realized this is really home and we know Phoebe will take some time to come to the same conclusion. In all, we think she's a beautiful dog and she'll be just fine with her new home and new sister. I love the way they play ... and then they separate. It's all going to work out just fine.
And by the way, Phoebe never noticed kitty yesterday, today being the first time she even realized Saidar was in the house. Nothing happened. Nothing. She just walked right by. Kitty, on the other hand, ran behind the door to stay on the steps to the basement in case she needed a quick getaway.
I think it's going to be great and she was quite a bargain! We've got a new little girl. Her soft brown eyes are superb and in all, we think she's a sweetie.
By Stacy Stableford