Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How To Love A New Pack Member

Three days ago, the shelter called. The dog we have been waiting over 3 months for was available. She had gone into the shelter with health problems and the vet finally gave her the all-clear. We picked up a dog that had clearly been terrified for too long. Her name is Maggie and she is a Siberian Husky. We own a Husky-Shepherd mix, and we wanted her to have a friend.

Now, Huskies have issues with cats, and we have a cat that thinks it's a dog. Maggie has been doing fine with her and the cat has already beaten her up several times.

Maggie is bonding well with my brother and my husband, but not with my dad or me.

Here I am for 3 days thinking that this isn't going to work. I wanted to take Maggie out of a shelter situation and give her love, but I got cold feet and wanted to find someone else to take her because I felt guilty about betraying my first dog, B.

I have seriously been crying about this for three days. I have felt like a black cloud is overhead and felt like nothing would remove it unless I gave the new dog away. I felt like she just wasn't what our family needed.

Maggie started off in our home too scared to come out from under an end table and is now free-wheeling around the house. She bolts sometimes when she sees me, and all the time when she sees my dad. Dad and B are very close. They take walks together 3 times a day and car rides even more than that. I brought B home when she was 5 weeks old and she is a wonder dog. She has never growled or snapped at person or animal, catches baby squirrels to lick them and mother them, never chewed anything up as a puppy, and has never cowered or been afraid. This dog is Mother Theresa in a fur coat. My dad and I love her like she is a human being. B is just a remarkable dog. Everyone that meets her wants to take her home - including a toddler at Home Depot who fell on the floor crying because he didn't want to leave his new best friend B.

So, here I am feeling miserable. I'm telling my husband that it's not fair to our B that Maggie is here. I'm wondering, how can my husband treat this new dog as if she has been here all along? How can he betray B and just love the new dog so much already?

Then, we had a long talk. I wasn't giving Maggie a fair chance. I couldn't understand why she wouldn't bond with me, but I was treating her like she was not staying for good, and favoring B. She wasn't bonding with me because I didn't give her the chance.

I was tip-toeing around B's feelings, not showing as much affection to Maggie and Maggie couldn't understand why. 

Tonight, I looked Maggie in the eye and saw B in there. The same love and affection just waiting to come out. I baby talked with her and gave her kisses in front of B and I didn't go and coddle B to make her feel better. I just let go. I let Maggie in and I treated them as equals. I let Maggie know that I could love her, too. Next up, Dad has got to do the same thing. It will happen with time. 

I had closed off my heart and it needed to re-open. I did it. I can feel again. Welcome to the family, Maggie.

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