Little did we know when writing our first blog entry and I referred to Perry and I as Lady and the Tramp, that we'd end up with Lady and The Champ.
Champ came into our lives on June 5th, 2021 and our entire universe has changed for the better. We adopted him through Tales of the Misunderstood, a dog rescue team out of Calgary, AB. that work hard to make a positive difference in the lives of many animals in need.
Already a year and a half old when we got him, Champ is a sensitive lad that has experienced two broken legs and two (now three) homes in his very short life. He is a loving, tender, gentle, caring boy... who will jump up on you to ask for more love. (Such a hard habit to break!) He will also bark and bark when he sees another dog, but mostly because he wants to play.
I've learned a lot about my own behaviour in watching Champ socialize. He gets really excited and comes on strong, which makes other dogs feel weary of him. He really wants to play and socialize, but not every dog is ready to receive that.
Learning about how dogs interact has been mind blowing because as people that love to read about psychology and analyze everything, it has opened our eyes to the world of interacting without words. We all do it! We suss out a situation, look someone up and down, "read the room" so to speak, and can often decide fairly quickly whether or not we'll get along with someone.
Dogs are quite similar, with the added bonus of sniffing each other's butts! (We often wonder how different the world would be if sniffing each other's armpits was a social norm, getting the pheromone data processed immediately upon meeting another person... Would we be more accepting? Would we process each other's humanity instead of social statuses, which has been proven to be a subconscious habit of all humans?)
On our three month anniversary with Champ, Sept 5th, Lady came storming into our lives. It was fast, super sudden and mind blowing.
We always knew that we wanted a buddy for Champ. Perry and I are busy bodies and didn't ever want Champ to feel neglected or bored, so we had been watching the H.E.A.R.T. (Hope Emergency Adoption Rescue Transport) website regularly, hoping to find the right match. We were a bit of a pain in the ass too, texting and emailing to see what they thought might be the right fit.
No one seemed right until one day we got an email saying "How do you feel about Fostering?". We thought: Perfect! This way we could help a dog in need and if the fit isn't right, we won't feel too bad knowing that we helped a dog find the right human.
THE SAME DAY that we said yes, Lady showed up at our door. She was terrified. Timid. Nameless. Dirty. Obviously abused, sprayed by a skunk, and had recently had a litter of puppies. (We mistakingly thought she was pregnant for at least a week!)
Within two days she peed in the living room, dropped a huge dump in the office, incessantly growled at Champ and yet always begging for love at the same time. She was petrified.
It's hard to look back at the last seven weeks because the Lady that we know now is not at all the Lady that showed up at our doorstep.
Once she was accepting of Champ, everything started to change. Champ acted as her Life Coach, leading her through every motion and adventure, teaching her how to play, socialize, and just be. Honestly, we learned even more about Champ through this process and were amazed at his empathy, patience and assistance.
The first time we tried to take Lady for a walk, I had to drag her down the stairs to get her outside. We started small with short strolls to the end of the block, leading up to walks around the hay farm. Day after day we brought her out with Champ in the leed, showing her how great life could be.
Then we had her spayed and spent two weeks watching her heal. She was very quiet and stayed by my side most of the time. We were lucky that she didn't scratch herself once and barely even licked her stitches. The whole process was much easier than it could have been!
NOW?! Now Lady is a whole new dog. It has been an absolute magical experience to watch her grow. The first time I saw a smile on her face, I thought I was going to melt into the floor.
Some concerning behaviour now is that she's very attached to me and is also trying to take over Champ's position as head of the K9-crew in our household. Now that she's playing and exploring life, feeling free, comfortable and confident, she's coming on a little strong and trying to overtake Champ's rank! (His legs!! Watch out for his legs!)
We're doing what we can with training, hiring professionals and doing what we think is best but we often wonder if we're good enough, have enough experience or if we're just gonna fuck them up.
The adoption for Lady hasn't been processed yet so she's technically still a foster. We have grown rather attached to her but also know that we'll get attached to a snail if we have it for even a day. Champ seems a bit stressed every now and again but also seems to love her. Mostly we're watching her temperament change -- apparently it takes up to three months for a dogs personality to really show -- and trying to assess if we're really doing the right thing, and if she's in the right house for her needs. We think so?! (*I've been told that I'm over thinking the situation and that everything will be just fine... SO I GUESS WE'LL SEE! ;-) )
We go for (almost) daily, 45-90min walks up the ski hill or up back roads. We snuggle them on the regular. We spoil them like crazy. They fill our hearts with so much joy.
They are, Lady and The Champ.