Meeting someone for the first time can be exciting, nerve wracking, and scary. You might have a great connection and really enjoy each other’s company. On the other hand you might meet someone that is nice, but just not someone you would choose to spend your time with. Ever been a blind date or setup? The situation itself is awkward enough and then if it goes bad, you sit there analyzing your friendship with the person that set you up. Did they really think that this was a good match? Do they know me at all? Are we going to be friends after this? Such is the life of a Single Dog Mom.
I always tell potential adopters at the shelter that dogs are just like people when it comes to making new connections. They might like another dog, or not like another dog. Maybe they just don’t like other dogs, period. Maybe they just love too hard and other dogs are really put off by it. (Come on people, we’ve all been there in our love lives…awkward!) If you already have a dog (or two) adding to the family can be a really big decision. Before bringing a new dog home we have adopters at the shelter participate in what we call a “meet and greet”. They bring in their dog or dogs to meet with a dog that they potentially want to adopt. I get to assist in these meet and greets quite frequently and I really enjoy participating. Sometimes there is a night when they all go really well. Sometimes there are nights when they all seem to go not so well. Last week’s meet and greets were a little challenging. A man and his dog came in to meet one of our dogs to see if they were a good match. One of our behavior specialists got them all set up in a meet and greet room. I proceeded to go get our dog ready to bring in. I was warned he could be a handful, but he was an absolute doll with me. I walked him into the meet and greet room and all bets were off. My dog saw his potential sibling and immediately started to growl and bark and cause a scene. We gave him about 30 seconds (which felt like forever) and he just wouldn’t calm down. Out we went! It was clearly not a good match. This is why we do these meet and greets. The last thing we want is someone to take a dog home and have it be an absolute disaster. That would not be healthy for either the dogs or the humans involved.
When the night goes smoothly and we have successful meet and greets, it is always a treat. The major signs we look for are of aggression between the dogs. That would be the worst case scenario. Sometimes they just aren’t that into each other and that’s not bad thing. I love when it’s a great match and they start playing together. When it’s a good match, we give some advice to the new owners to aid with the transition. Then we help them move forward with the adoption. It’s an amazing feeling to watch them go home when you’ve been involved in this process. Every so often we get potential adopters with 2 or 3 dogs looking to adopt a new dog into the family. This is a much more complex situation since you have to introduce a dog to more than one type of personality. We always make sure there are enough people in the meet and greet room in case something happens. If you are going from 2 to 3 dogs, you are changing everything about the relationship between the dogs you already have. It can be a very tricky situation. The new dog might not be accepted, or maybe the new dog gets along with one dog and not the other. It’s just a lot to take into consideration. The point is you can’t take a new dog home with others and expect things start off perfectly. You have to do a lot of trial and error to see what works. I always see fun videos online of people with a whole family of dogs getting along great. Don’t be fooled by the cuteness though. Just because it works for them doesn’t mean it will work out for you. These people most likely put a lot of time and effort into making sure their dogs are set up for success, and it is a continual effort on their part.
My rescue dog Teddy was always fine with my parent’s dogs. They are the only dogs he sees on a regular basis, so I never gave meet & greets a thought. I had him in training class and a puppy socialization group when he was younger. He was a little nervous and barky at first, but started playing well with others. I didn’t really keep up with it when the place we were going closed. He continued to socialize with my parents dogs and was fine. Flash forward to a few years later, my friend was dog sitting for a mild mannered Rottweiler mix. I brought Teddy over to visit, and needless to say the meeting did not go well. I was shocked, but I could tell he was super anxious and that’s why he was acting that way. I tried to put myself into his shoes. Teddy never spends time with big dogs and this dog meant no harm, but he walked right up to Teddy ready to play. Ted did not expect this at all. It turns out he’s not a big fan of larger male dogs, unless they are extremely calm. When a big dog comes in too hot, he just goes on the defense, and trust me he does not back down. The same thing happened with my friend’s Pit Bull Terrier, and a friend’s Great Dane, but he was fine with another friend’s Bernese Mountain Dog (they are very chill dogs). What can I say, I guess he prefers the ladies. Now when I am introducing dogs to Teddy, I am very conscious about how I do it. I like to walk them outside first, let them have time for polite sniffs, and then let them off leash together if it goes well. Meeting other dogs is something that should always be taken seriously because in the end, they are animals and you never know what they are going to do.
At this time, my life and heart feel completely full having one dog. Teddy is all I need. Maybe it is because I am at the shelter every week and I get lots of love from the dogs there. But every so often I meet an amazing dog that I am so tempted to bring home. My fellow volunteers laugh when they here me asking dogs “Do you want to be Teddy’s girlfriend?” My main goal is and always will be to make sure that a dog gets the best home possible. If it’s not me at this time, that’s okay. Right now I’m happy being a Single Dog Mom.
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Pups of the Week:
Check out this adorable duo! Luna and Rose are a bonded pair and must be adopted together. I got to spend some time with them last week, and let me tell you they are so much fun! You can see more pictures and a video of them on my instagram @singldogmom.
Unfortunately Duncan is still up for adoption. He is our longest resident at the moment, but still has a great attitude. If you know anyone or if you are interested let me know. We are almost at full capacity at the shelter. Always remember, Adopt Don’t Shop!