First, I'd like to announce the winner of the DNA Test Kit contest, selected from among the comments left on that blog: Amber Jackson. Congratulations! Please send me your contact information and mailing address (peggyfrezon at gmail dot com) Now on to our guest post today!
Blended families--when two people marry, and blend together their existing families. This means children and also...pets.
Stacy Jensen of Colorado shares how she and her husband Andy, (affectionately known as Mr. Food Boy by the dogs) worked to make their new home happy for both her dog and his.
Q- How did you and Andy meet?
SJ: Andy and I were both new to North Carolina and met through eHarmony. On our fourth date, we introduced the dogs at my house. The dogs were one of many things we had in common.
Q- We'd love to meet your dogs!
SJ- Eddie is a Poodle-Pomeranian mix. He was 11 months old when we met. Eddie weighs about 9 pounds.
Mauly-Bones is a Vizsla. She was 5 months old when we met, and about 45 pounds (now she is about 55 pounds).
Mauly served as physical therapy for Andy following the discovery of blood clots that involved hospitalizations and rehabilitation. Eddie was a gift to me following my husband's death. He was a great companion for me, since I had decided to move to another state and begin a new job.
Q- How did you introduce the dogs?
SJ: They met at the front door of my house. They were allowed to sniff around and check each other out. We were there in case there was a problem. We pretty much let them get to know each another.
Q- Did one become dominant?
SJ: Neither really. It depends on what is going on whether they display dominance. Both are fixed, but Eddie will sometimes do the humping thing to Mauly. Mauly will sometimes show dominance due to her size. She can easily push Eddie out of the way. Eddie, of course, acts like he is much bigger than he is.
Q- How did you resolve any fights/disagreements?
SJ: We separate them. The only disagreements involve treats or food. Mauly is fairly mild mannered about even this. If Eddie abandons his food (because he gets distracted), Mauly will patiently sit next to his food bowl hoping for permission to eat it.
Eddie is overall more accepting of other dogs. Mauly had a dog try to steal her stick in the past, and ever since she will randomly be aggressive toward other dogs or 100 percent ignores them. This behavior is odd, because Mauly interacts well with other animals like calves, goats and horses we have encountered on walks.
Mauly is a bit jealous. If she hears Eddie's name or senses he is getting pets and affection, she runs into the room and will attempt to push Eddie away. Her size makes her triumphant in this endeavor. Eddie never seems to mind.
Both love people. Eddie sometimes is frightened by men with beards.
Each dog continues to have its own crate and bedding to lounge around the house. Eddie is a bit of a lap dog and Mauly aspires to be a lap dog, too.
Q- Any advice to others?
SJ: Our dogs have known each other since they were pups. They each lived a little more than two years alone, before we married and truly blended under the same roof.
Andy and I still note that each dog knows his or her person. I may be sleeping in, but Eddie will sit at the bedroom door waiting for me to get up and ignoring Andy. Mauly will listen to me while Andy is at work, but once he arrives home she looks to Andy for direction (unless I have a treat!).
When I am not at home, Eddie is happy to be with Andy and doesn't worry. Once I arrive, Eddie's following me.
This behavior is annoying sometimes, but I'm guessing it has to do with their idea of pack? As long as one of them listens to someone in the house, I'm good!
UPDATE: Eddie and Mauly are now adjusting to the addition of Stacy and Andy's new baby, Enzo.
Stact blogs at Writing my way through life. Look for Stacy's story "I'm not Crazy, I Just Have a Dog" in Chicken Soup for the Soul My Dog's Life.