Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Our progress with our growing menagerie.

So as I mentioned a little over a week ago, Nick and I adopted a puppy, Charlie. He came home exactly one week ago today and has quickly become part of the family. Nick and I are both the type of people to grow attached very easily, so even though bringing home Charlie has not been easy (on anyone really), we already have a special place for him in our hearts.

Just a bit of a background on the pup, we got him from a local animal shelter about 30 minutes away. He had been found, lived at the shelter for a week or two and then lived with a foster family for two weeks before coming to us. They think he has a history of abuse based on a laceration on his neck, fear of the crate and being alone, and his skittishness around big dogs, certain people, and when Nick raised his hand once quickly to pet him Charlie flinched and backed away from him. Despite these issues he's actually super sweet and rather well behaved. He is great on his leash, is learning his commands quickly, and all he wants is love. He is not rough around the cats and in reality really doesn't understand why they don't want to be his friend just yet (although they're starting to come around). In the past week Charlie has decided that Batman is the boss, and he is enamored with Lulu, but she's not having it yet. We're up to the tolerant curious phase. Batman is better with him, and is willing to sniff and walk past him without much thought. They beg for treats together too (clearly they're trying to manipulate me). Lulu on the other hand is still scared of Charlie, but will at least sit with me on the couch if she's on one side and he's on the other. And Sunday we took a nap together, again with Lulu on one side and Charlie on the other. So we're making progress. She's even getting better about joining us on the bed on her own. Monday Charlie licked her face. She didn't like it, but every little thing is still a sign of progress.

Meanwhile Nick and I have had our own adjusting to do. Before we had it pretty easy. Our cats are extremely affectionate and friendly (people have said they are lot more like dogs than cats), but they're still independent like cats. They go to the bathroom in a litter box, and even though Lulu follows me everywhere (including into the bathroom when I get ready in the morning), they can still be by themselves and we know they're ok. Charlie on the other hand has separation anxiety issues and constantly wants to be around people. When we crate him at night (so the cats can sleep with us undisturbed) or when we're gone (he's pretty good about being house broken, but we're not without accidents), he cries. He cries if we put the baby gate up and keep him downstairs so the cats can eat in peace upstairs. And he's especially attached to me, so if I take a shower with Batman, he cries outside the door even if Nick is around. If I leave to go somewhere and Nick is still home, he cries. And the constant need for affection is wearing on me; especially because I can't get near my cats who are dying for their own bit of love without him following me and scaring them away. This is probably the worst part for me. I hate hearing Lulu come up to the bed and see that he's laying down next to me and hearing her cry because she doesn't want to be around him. It's been stressing me out because my cats are my babies and I feel really bad for putting them under this stress.

I also feel bad because Charlie desperately needs a playmate. We have seen several little dogs around and he wants to play with all of them, but no one (humans) seems interested in making friends. He plays with us fine, but he wants to play with the cats and until they're better adjusted it won't happen. We're trying to schedule playdates with some of my friends dogs so hopefully he'll find some companionship.

But through all the stress and the sniping at each other (that would be Nick and I, not the animals), there are signs of progress every day. I talked to my aunt (who is a huge dog person) on Sunday and she said the transition (bathroom schedules, switching food, and the cats) would take about a month; that does not seem appealing. Three and a half more weeks of cleaning up pee, watching my cats be miserable, and fighting with Nick? The past couple of days have been pretty good without incident, I guess it's worth it when you have a pup who is this cute.

Whether the cats like it or not, Charlie is here to stay. He's part of our family now, so they better get used to him (hopefully sooner rather than later).


Anne said...

when i got zinger it took a while for all of us to settle in, and there were no other pets! every time we've gotten a new cat it takes a while but things will normalize. when we first got the kittens chiana and herbie wouldn't come up on the bed at first, even though the kittens were usually under it. now they do and chiana is back to crawling on my stomach and wanting petted despite the fact that i'm tired!

i found this article about how to treat separation anxiety. maybe it will be helpful.

anneg from the knot

Young, Broke, and Married said...

Thanks Anne! I will definitely look into that website and hopefully something will work!

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