I know it’s been pretty quite around these parts. I blame it on the fact that I want to spend every waking minute outside in the humid, muggy days. Everyone need to stop talking about scarves and Halloween. There’s also another reason why. It’s because we’ve fostered a dog!
You know about Starla, she was an angel to adopt and has been bringing me and my family smiles since day one. In DC, we had many friends to play with and places to take Starla but here in Chicago it’s slightly different. Often we take the L to get into the city, which doesn’t allow dogs. We’re a lot further out of the city than we were before. There’s dog parks and dog beaches, but they’re crowded and hard to make friends in when you’re a loud, noisy player. She also picked up a full routine of doggy pouting when we leave the house. She hangs her head then walks over to
her room the guest room where she waits for us to leave. I’d like to think she was a crazy head-banging dog as soon as I leave but I’m pretty sure she gets bored. Especially because our view from our apartment is just a pool and a couple trees, not lots of excitement like I had at my old apartment.
So we thought, maybe she’d like a buddy. So say hello to Mila (formerly Xeon). We found Mila at an amazing shelter in Chicago called Felines & Canines. I’d highly recommend if you’re looking for a new addition to your family. They responded quickly, gave me a great recommendation of dogs that would fit our situation and what we were looking for, and immediately put me in ease. I stopped by for a quick first visit and on first sight knew Mila would be a great addition. We came by later that week with Starla to do a meet and greet and as much as I’d love to say things went swimmingly, they didn’t. Starla is very high energy and extremely curious. So getting her into a new situation causes her to be a bit wild and all over the place. On our side-by-side walk to introduce the two, Starla couldn’t care about Mila and insisted on dragging Andy down the sidewalk to explore. Mila casually walked, loose leashed by my side (I got the easy job). When we brought them back inside to do a face-to-face meeting, Starla immediately became overly-excited and anxious. She couldn’t focus and didn’t want to pay attention to Mila. However, didn’t mind that Mila was checking her out. Mila was sniffing, play bowing, and even tried to do a quick paw to Starla’s back to get Starla to play with her. Starla didn’t mind, which is great because Starla is the queen of corrections. At the dog park, if a male dog sniffs her too long she’ll do a quick snap to tell him to leave her alone.
We were feeling pretty good about the situation since they seemed to not mind being in each other’s company. The women at the shelter kindly suggest that we could do a “foster-to-adopt” to see if they work well in a home together. So now, we’re fostering Mila and seeing how she does in the house. The first night, after a long walk, they were playing within 10 minutes being at home. Both Mila and Starla were pooped after playing for at least 30 minutes straight. It made my heart so happy to see both dogs joyfully playing (and getting out lots of energy!). I honestly have never seen Starla play with a dog so long. She usually gets bored and goes off exploring elsewhere.
We’re still working on a few things with Mila. We think this is the first time that she’s ever lived inside. Andy keeps calling her a country bumpkin. She’s a bit wary about loud trucks that pass by when we walk, the elevator is confusing for her, and the TV! She has never seen a TV before! She was initially really scared of the TV and startled when we turned on a movie, then she backed up, sat next to Starla and watched almost the entire movie with us. Quite funny.
She’s not fully house broken yet, so we’re crating her and working on housebreaking with lots of positive reinforcement when she goes potty outside. Also, Starla is a food-fiend and will do any sort of trick to get a treat. Mila doesn’t care about treats or food so much. So we’re working on getting a schedule down for feeding so that Starla won’t finish her food and try to steal Mila’s food. Which leads me to the conclusion, how the hell am I going to train this dog?! With Starla it was pretty easy. Sit, you get a treat. Stay, you get a treat. But what happens if Mila doesn’t even care to eat a treat from my palm?
Wish us luck and let us know if you have any pointers!