Since we lost Duke last year it has been a journey for all of us. The immediate sense of loss, the quiet house, sweet, depressed little Pixie being lost and forlorne. Onto Doggie Camp, where she perked up a bit, and day by day we got used to the quiet house, and I got used to being colder at night because the living, breathing fuzzy hot water bottle that had kept me company for the past 11 years wasn't there anymore.
Eventually, we got used to NOT worrying about him, NOT having to care for him, as anyone who has nursed a sick family member for a length of time knows, there is a lot of time and energy that goes into the concern, constant fear, and trying so very hard to do the right thing all the time. The trips to the doctor's office, the pills at different times of the day, the side effects you have to worry about. Suddenly, that is gone, and there is a strange sense of freedom combined with how you would give almost anything in the world to have it all back, screw the freedom. I won't ever say he was "just a dog" because he was part of my family, he was my buddy, my sweet boy, my companion, and my cuddler, but I can't imagine how someone who has nursed an ailing family member for years through a long illness brings themselves back into "normal" life - so many things have been given up to accommodate the illness, and you wouldn't change a thing if you could - but where do you start?
Then the house on the market, and the move, but still, there's lonely Pixie, bored and a bit lost without her her bossypants. She is a dog's dog. Not that she really loves hanging out with other dogs, but she doesn't really understand how to interact with us, and we don't really understand how to interact with her. We thought that maybe we could connect with her now that it was just the three of us, and we have a bit...she sleeps on the bed now (aka traps me in one position by laying behind my knees, so even though we have a king sized bed, I can only sleep in the position I fell asleep in, NO TURNING OVER!), and she plays with us a bit, and she's learned that dinner time is exciting, and she demands treats by doing tricks and then staring at us and waiting for us to respond, which is really funny, btw, she seems to miss the basic premise that we should be asking her to do the trick not the other way around...she misses a lot in the world because she is not human-attuned.
Duke apparently served as the translator, he was very aware of what a lot of our motions and actions meant, and he would react appopriately, so then she would too. We would play with Duke, and Pixie would play too, we just never realized that all she was doing was following his lead and playing with him, she was happy, we never thought too much about it, until suddenly there we are trying to figure out how to play with a dog that doesn't play tug, doesn't fetch, rarely chases, and doesn't rough house, she simply wags around in circles being very excited and confused by anything at all you do to try to engage her.
But look at this picture
We were visiting my dad and stepmom and they have a cat, Scooter. Scooter was very suspicious of Pixie, but Pixie thought that he looked like a really good playmate. They spent a good deal of time stalking each other, Pixie not understanding why Scooter didn't respond to her repeated play bows and definitely not understanding why he hissed instead of tussling...all weekend. She woke us up at daybreak both days and didn't nap once, she just watched and waited and tried to play. This is when it really hit us that she's not old and sleepy, she's really and for true just bored and lonely.
We miss having another furry face around the house too. I, especially, miss the cuddliness - to say Pixie is not a cuddler is an understatement, she is like a cat. She will come to you when she wants to be petted, and if you try to pet her when she hasn't asked for it she will move JUST out of arm's reach and stare at you like you are crazy. We miss who Pixie was when we had a translater, watching her play and rough house and be her doggie self with a creature who thoroughly understood her and who she understood completely.
So, after approximately 1.7 days of calm after moving, unpacking, and the holidays, we have an addition to our little family. We have been VERY, VERY careful to make sure that this new face is someone that Pixie will get along with. Careful research, screening, and introductions to make sure the chemistry is there between them and to ensure that we are getting a dog that won't harrass her to no end in her old age. It's a lot of work, it turns out. We couldn't just go to a shelter and pick someone that WE liked, we had to find someone the right size (Pix is freaked by big dogs), the right temperment, get "approved" (because we were going through private adoption agencies), set up a meeting, hope that they liked us for doggie parents...and then if all THAT works, then we hope that Pixie likes that pup and that we see some play motions happening between them on the introduction.
So we met three different dogs on Saturday, and this little guy had the best mix of playfulness and a laid back personality and when he jumped on Pixie, she told him in no uncertain terms that she did not like that, and he backed off, something we were definitely looking for.
Here they are playing during the evaluation period on Saturday.
So we took him home, and promptly left for a wedding. Which wasn't the best...but he had arrived from a high kill shelter in SC earlier that day and the woman who runs the rescue said that he was so beat he would just sleep and it would be better for him to just go home with us and beghin his new life.
He is a bit nervous around DH, but only when he's standing up and makes sudden movements, so something bad definitely happened to him that had to do with a man, but he seems to be getting over those fears fairly quickly.
He is 5 months old, so he is mouthy, but he is semi-housebroken, which is more than we were expecting, so that was really good to learn, and he entertains himself by chewing on squeaky toys.
He and Pix are doing okay...not great, she's a bit freaked by the whole thing, which I assume is normal, but she slept in her normal place last night, and they laid near each other on the couch today without any fussing. She has snapped at him a few times, and he just walks away when she does, which I assume is the the point, so that's all fine. I do hope that once they get their relationship figured out that they can be buddies, but I imagine that takes a lot more than 24 hours.
I do feel odd twinges of guilt, like somehow I am trying to replace Duke, which I'm not, so I just keep reminding myself that there is enough room in my heart for many, many fuzzy creatures. Loving one and loosing him certainly doesn't mean that the next one replaces him, he just fits in the spot next to him in my heart.
He seems to be almost 100% Italian greyhound, so he won't get much bigger than he is now, whatever he is, he's darn cute, and sweet, and responding to praise and "nos" already, and sort of responds to his name.
So that's my big news...world, Iggy...Iggy, world.