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Bringing a new puppy home is exciting, and also nerve-wracking, especially as one considers the other canine friends in the house.
When we pulled into our street with our new puppy ready to get out of her crate and the car, we made a plan about how we'd introduce her to Okie, our three year-old lab. We were sure he'd like her, but we weren't so sure of his initial reaction.
"I'll go in first," I said. "He can sniff me."
It reminded me of bringing a new baby home to older siblings. I always wanted my older girls to know I still loved them.
Okie sniffed me. A lot. And then Julia followed, and he sniffed her a lot, too. Cecily got the same reaction. Maybe by the time Clare walked in with the puppy, he was sick of sniffing, although that's never happened before. He wasn't nearly as interested as we thought he'd be.
After some supervised facetime (in real life, that is...), we brought the two dogs out on to the driveway. It was still warm enough to sit outside, and four of us sat down in a circle as the puppy (whose name is now Winnie) got bolder and bolder with her new housemate, Okie.
We describe Okie as the dog who'd be the captain of the hockey team if he were a person. He's always up for anything, sometimes a little rough, usually somewhat over-enthusiastic. He loves other dogs, but his first reaction is hackles up. He's not one to relinquish alpha status. Therefore we were all surprised at his apparent indifference to Winnie's overtures. He was much more needy of our attention, which we gave him.
I was proud of Okie. He was dealing really well with a surprise, and just as I started to relax, he gave us all a surprise of his own. Okie walked over to Julia and lifted his leg on her, just like she was a fire hydrant.
Julia can move fast, and she did. Her sweatshirt was off in a split second. And we all had a good laugh. And now it's been a few days and the two dogs are hilarious together...
But here's the thing-- Okie has NEVER peed on a person in his life. He is not a marker. He's neutered, and takes care of his business outside and he has since he was about Winnie's size.
Sometimes even when dogs look okay, when they are trying to present as if they're dealing and holding their own, they might be more stressed on the inside than we realize. They don't always act like themselves in those situations. They might even say or do things they'd never, ever normally do.
We can learn a lot from dogs. Just saying.
Hang in there, everyone. We'll get through this.