Thursday, November 7, 2013

When Maisy Met Pyggy

I picked up Pyg- my first foster dog (and first foster fail)- from the rescue late in the afternoon on Monday, October 28. I loved him from the moment I set eyes on him. He was trotting around the rescue office with another dog. I said hi to him, and he was happy to come over for some treats. He seemed calm and friendly, and given what had happened to him in his short life, I was impressed.

Pyg came to me through Second Hand Hounds, a rescue based here in the Twin Cities metro. They got Pyg from a (high-kill?) shelter in Mobile, AL. They sent his vet records with him, which indicated his birth date as January 31, 2013, making him 9 months old. Those records had him down as a cairn terrier/yorkie mix, but I have no idea if that was a “best guess” or if they knew something. Second Hand Hounds thought he might be a yorkie/shih tzu mix. Personally, I think he’s a Midwest Muppet Dog, like Maisy. Damned if I know what he was doing down south.

His records showed that he was neutered at 15 weeks old. I was told this meant he’d been adopted, as the shelter doesn’t spay/neuter until the dog has found a home. Makes sense; why subject a dog to a surgical procedure or waste veterinary resources for a dog who will be euthanized?

At some point in the not-so-distant past, Pyg was returned to the shelter. We don’t know why. I think this question will plague me forever, as I simply cannot figure out why anyone would give him up. He’s wonderful, and someone had obviously done some training with him in the past.

At any rate, Pyg became part of the Second Hand Hounds family, so on the Saturday before I met him, he got on a small commuter airplane and flew from the southern part of Alabama to the northern part. He then got in the car and was driven up to Chicago. I don’t know where he stayed on Saturday night; somewhere along the way, I suppose. I know he spent Sunday night in Chicago, and that he took a second small plane from Chicago to a (small) local airport. I met him a few hours later, put him into one more car, and took him home.

Because I knew that I wanted Pyg to be my dog, and not just my foster dog, I created a plan for introducing him into the household that would give us the best chance for harmonious relationships. The first step was to leave him in the car while I went inside to shut Maisy, my cat Nicky, and my doggie houseguest Maus into separate rooms. After a quick potty break, I brought Pyg up and let him explore his new digs.

I ended up integrating the animals much quicker than I had anticipated. Once he had the lay of the land, I put Maisy behind a baby gate so they could see each other. Both were clearly interested in the other, and so after an hour or so, I let them meet. (I later did the same thing for the cat- who was indifferent- and Maus, who has a rotating foster in his home and therefore was all like “yeah, whatever.”)

Not just interested in each other, but Pyg and Maisy adore one another. Maisy has solicited play from Pyg on numerous occasions, including that first night. It is pretty rare for her to want to play with another dog- she tends to be a parallel-player instead. If she plays with another dog, it’s usually chase games. With Pyg, though, she will wrestle, something that she’s done like once or twice before. Uninterested in tug games, she’s begun to parade around with toys, try to lure Pyg into grabbing an end of it. It’s adorable.

Pyg was interested in Nicky-cat, but for the most part has respected his space. Nicky just ignores Pyg, although if he gets too close and/or obnoxious, Pyg will get a swipe across the face from a fully-clawed paw. This doesn’t happen too often, because I can usually call Pyg away (seriously… this dog is amazing).

He loves to train, and will work for his meals. He’s got a good grasp on impulse control, and knows to sit when he wants something. He’s potty trained, especially if I take him out on a schedule, but he has asked to go out a few times.

He’s incredibly personable. He’s very sweet and a big cuddler. This is a nice switch from Maisy, who has never been big on being touched. She does now curl up near me, but only on her terms. Pyg just wants to be with people (and especially me). He also makes me laugh and laugh. He’s just so dang cute with his puppy antics. For example, the first night he was with me, he found an empty cat food can and decided it was the best toy ever.

Oh, and did I mention that The Pyg has an off-switch? Yeah, it’s bizarre. Not only can he occupy himself by finding an (appropriate) chew item like a Kong or a Nylabone, but he will also just settle down and take naps, too. On Saturday, Pyg was napping on the couch, and Maisy jumped up to join him. So adorable.

All in all, Pyg is an awesome little dog, and I knew I couldn’t let him slip through my fingers. In the week and change that Pyg has lived in my home, he’s begun to shine. Of course, I know that when dogs arrive in new homes it can take weeks or even months for their full personalities to express themselves, so I’m excited to get to know him better.

He’s not perfect, though. There are a few little things that may be issues, or they may not be. Only time will tell. For now, I’m working on mitigating or preventing those things. I’ll tell you about them soon. In the meantime, have some bonus videos. Both are from Pyg's first night with me.

1 comment:

Chris and Mike said...

Thanks for the further descriptions of Pyg's background and The Intro. The videos are great - so nice to hear you laughing after the last tough year! You needed Pyg (for laughter AND to expand your training abilities). Maisy needed Pyg (for a play partner). Pyg needed you both (for obvious reasons). Lucky all of you!