Plays Well with Others

My son pulled up truck and trailer, dog and inanimate possessions between bouts of Oregon rain in the dark last Thursday night. He had been on the road since Monday driving from New Orleans. His wife, our new daughter-in-law since October, had been staying with us for almost three weeks, starting a new job. She brought their cat with her. Now it was time to get the dogs acquainted.

Two nervous rescues, ours almost 10, a shepherd, Rottweiler, doberman mix, that as our vet says, never play calmly together; theirs, a Houston-flood victim, mixed-lineage, medicated for anxiety, three-year-old. Anxiety times two with nervous adults in attendance. Can you picture this?

We kept them leashed, and separate, as their initial encounter was all snarls and lunges. We ate dinner in shifts relegating one adult to the sequestered pup, ours, the more familiar and, while upset not to be part of the activity outside the bedroom door, placated by human comfort. Meanwhile the visitor from New Orleans tentatively sniffed and examined, closely supervised all the while. Anxiety even at this joyous reunion was running high!

As I fell asleep, my dog Libby resting by my side—a concession to the situation—I wondered how the next morning would go, if during my online classes, a full-on dogfight would become the soundtrack of the day. But…nothing. With both “moms” out of the picture, the dogs did just fine. My husband and son took them outside to play ball, “parallel play” my husband proudly related the successful strategy.

Here we are now, the peaceable kingdom, two dogs, two cats, and I’m contemplating after—when the extended family leaves, cat and dog, son and daughter. After this practice run, maybe it’s time for a more permanent new addition?!

8 thoughts on “Plays Well with Others”

  1. I understand where you are coming from! We adopted another dog in December – our first dog is 6 years old, the new one just a year and a half. We have two of everything – Kongs, balls, beds. Yet “newbie” still tries to take toys from the “seasoned veteran”. Maybe someday, we will have unity!

  2. Having brought new cats into a household which already had resident cats I totally understand the the adjustment period. Somehow they seem to work things out. I would vote for another addition to your household.

    1. Will you talk to my husband? I think I might blog about the strange factor of our remaining time here—on earth—as a factor in this decision. Hmm…

  3. Oh I’m so glad it all worked out well and that they ended up getting along, sometimes helps without the ‘human intervention’. I’m sure you’ll need something to fill the space when they all move out!

    1. Me, too, and now we can pet-sit for each other when the possibility of a weekend away arises.

  4. You know me: I’ll ALWAYS be voting in favor of a new addition! I had to laugh at that moment when the dogs are peaceful because the moms are out of the picture. Parallel play is a great strategy for introducing new cats too!

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