One year ago we got permission from the land-lord to extend our family with dogs. We’ve had cats for years, but both Cal and I grew up with dogs in the house.
We looked at lots of pedigree hounds to try and get an idea of what we were going to get. I was looking for either a Border Collie, or German Shepherd. Cal wanted a Malamute or similar. We looked around for prices, and to find places that had puppies, and realised that the prices meant we’d be saving up for a while to afford them.
We had a couple of pre-req’s that were important for us.
First, we wanted puppies. It was important for our cats (and kids) that the dogs come in at a young enough age to not be a threat, and learn where their standing is in the house.
Second, we wanted two puppies. We both occasionally work in the office, so two dogs would keep each other company and not get lonely.
Third, we wanted girls. Male dogs can be more territorial, and aggressive towards other males, and theres a lot of big male dogs in the area (and our neighbour has a small male dog).
So Cal found an advert for a litter of 7 pups, half Akita, half Mastiff. One of our neighbours had previously had an Akita, and whilst he was a huge growly beast, he was still nice in a huggy fluffy way.
We went to see the puppies. In hind site, that statement alone equals us coming home with puppies.And so, the picking of names began. The small tan coloured hound became my hound Kikya (named after an old character of mine, a dwarf named Kikya Indashyn (she was small and grumpy…) and the Brindle (or brown stripey) pup became Cal’s Mouse, named after a huge temple dog, from the Dresden Files series of books.
They liked to chew things, wee on things, and generally poo everywhere, We swiftly learnt that there was a very good use for the cage we’d had to buy for the cats, and start crate training.
They took to this quite well at night, and that saved our toes, clothes, and anything else they happened to spot in the night.
Once they’d had their jabs, the vet declared them safe to walk, so we took them out to socialise. On one of the first few walks, they got to meet a massive Malamute called Dante, who quickly became their favorite walk-friend.
Though after too many licks in the face, he sat on Mouse, and Kikya legged it. We took them to several different parks, making as many new friends as possible. But, the thing they most wanted was to catch a bird or squirrel.
As they got bigger though, they stopped fitting in the cage, which was a minor problem, as they hadn’t grown out of the chewing stage. They destroyed the fence in our garden in repeated attempts to escape and socialise with the neighbours dog. As they we still too young to be neutered this was a worry, as he also hadn’t been neutered. Each time I patched up the fence, they’d tear down a different part. At night, they’d chew anything they found left out. Kids toys, clothes, the sofas. For a week or so, I’d completely had enough of them, and was ready to offer them up for rehoming. We decided to make some changes though, and give them another two weeks before making that call. We tried to make sure they had longer walks, more food, and at night, we started letting them sleep in our bedroom. I think its this last change which helped most. Despite getting two dogs, they were getting lonely at night, and missing their pack. Letting them sleep in with us meant they were a lot calmer at night.
But, they were getting bigger now.
We were losing the battle of the Duvet, and the hounds were grumbling each time they fell off the bed (and the thump would shake the house (ok, not really, but it felt like it should) ).
So after a few months of waking to dogbum in the face, we moved them back down stairs. We restricted their access so they had one room to sleep in (the living room) and they seemed to get along with that fine.
We still occasionally come down to a chewed toy thats been left out, but most of the time they’re pretty good at nights now.
We’re coming up to the hounds first birthday now, and they’ve certainly grown in size.
I’m glad we gave them that extra chance. Despite the mess, and the craziness, I think they’re both firmly part of our family now, even if they do like to lick feet.