How do you go about convincing someone they're not abandoned? How do you convince a four month-old puppy? I got a puppy today. His name is Moby.
Thomas and I have been talking about getting a dog for a while. I really wanted one because when Thomas is deployed (in 3 months or 2 years), I don't want to live by myself. It's a safety thing and a companionship thing as well. Today we found Moby. He's wonderful. The shelter said he's a purebred Labrador Retriever. He's almost five months old and black as ink. He's skinny, but has crazy long legs, huge paws, a tail that's two feet long, and giant ears that flop all over the place. You look at him and fall in love.
For a puppy, he's remarkably calm. He loves to crawl in your lap (see above) and lick your face off. He's getting better at knowing the boundaries of the house, where his mat is inside, and how many of Stella's toys he can steal and get away with. Stella is our very calm 12 year-old yellow lab. They're about the same height, she just weighs twice as much. Until Thomas and I get married and subsequently move in together, Moby lives with me and my family. My parents were kind enough to offer that up for us.
Herein lies the problem. Moby has to sleep in the garage, where we have set up a crate for him. He's a puppy, so wandering about a strange new garage is not an option for so many reasons. But though I've been with him this entire day- from meeting, greeting, returning, adopting, riding home in the car, almost all night, I cannot sleep in the garage. And so Moby whines. And barks. A lot. So option one was to let him bark it out. But it's exam week for Madison and as delighted as she is with her new running partner, him barking was not an option. The second was for me to dart upstairs and take my meds and try to sleep in the garage. I did, for a while. But that grew old. I don't sleep well in my bed. A chair in the garage was not an improvement. So I moved like a cat, softly out of the garage, hovering at the door to ensure there was no whining after I left. And I've been in my room ever since. Not a peep yet.
But getting Moby to even stay in the crate without whining for me to try to sleep in the chair right next to him was difficult. So I talked to him. I'm not going to pretend like I'm Dr. Dolittle. Moby did not talk back. I crouched in front of his crate for some one-on-one with my new confidant. And I tried to convince him that unlike the shelter, unlike his last owner, I wasn't going to leave. He looked at me with huge eyes and since he didn't bark, I went on. I told him that he was perfect for the family, that the crate was only for a few hours at a time and soon he would need a place to hide from the world (or at least get some shut eye) and once he proved he wouldn't pee everywhere, we would put a nice blanket in there. I talked to this dog for a good 30 minutes. Then he got up, curled in the back of the crate and slept.
I don't know if I convinced him, but I'll be there to administer tapeworm meds and puppy chow that smells terrible in the morning, take him out to pee (hopefully in the grass this time), walk him, Madison will go on a run with him, talk to him about world events, feed him at night, more walks, more time spent inside during the day, trips in the car and everything else to prove to Moby that I am his #1. That he won't live at a shelter, but wherever I am. That I will feed him when he turns out to be HUGE. And that generally, I'll be his best friend. I guess that's how to convince Moby.
With a face and disposition that lovable, he totally deserves it.