Meet the New Boss

After I lost Benji last Halloween, I made a decision to not get another dog for at least a year. I lasted 5 months.

I've been cyberstalking local rescues since November, looking for a place to volunteer. And, knowing that I did want another dog at some point, looking to see who tended to take in poodles and poodle mixes--my "people." It's been my experience that poodles and poodle mixes rarely end up in shelters and rescues. I figured when I was ready for a dog, it would take months to find one.

I was wrong.

 Fable's picture from the rescue's Facebook page

Fable's picture from the rescue's Facebook page

I visited a local rescue's monthly open house, more to meet the people than look for a dog. But meet a dog, I did: a little black poodle mix named Fable.

Fable was scared out of his mind, sitting on his foster dad's lap shivering for all he was worth. I sat with Fable on my lap for a little while. It wasn't long before he rested his head on my shoulder and sighed with relief.

I'd been adopted.

I needed more time to warm to the idea. After wrangling with the idea for a few days, I submitted my adoption application on March 24th: Benji's birthday. My application was processed and approved within three days. On March 28th, I brought Fable home.

 Bringing Fable (now Duncan) home, March 28, 2016

Bringing Fable (now Duncan) home, March 28, 2016

We don't know much about Fable's past. We estimate he's 7-8 years old. He was found near a hospital on a main road this winter, in -2 temps. If he hadn't been found, he would have frozen to death. He was wearing a coat, had been neutered, and had dental work done. Clearly, someone had cared for him. How he ended up on the street, we don't know. The rescue notified local shelters and posted his picture on lost dog boards and Facebook pages. After two months, no one had claimed him. The rescue gave him the name Fable (because he has a story to tell) and put him up for adoption. His foster mom thought no one would ever want him, because he was so quiet and withdrawn compared to her other dogs. She was prepared to keep him forever. Then I came along.

Duncan, as he has been renamed, has been with me about a month now. When I first got him, he didn't know how to walk on a leash. He wouldn't eat or drink if I was in the room. He flinched every time I touched him.

He's making progress, though. He loves walks (but is still skittish about putting on the harness.) He'll eat or drink in my presence (as long as I'm paying attention to something else.) He still flinches or tenses sometimes when I touch him, but not always. He'll sit near me on the sofa, but won't come up right next to me. He will let me sit next to him, though.

Duncan has yet to claim ownership of the house. I suspect he still doesn't think of it as home. He's still learning to trust me, and I'm still getting to know him. Every week, I see something new.

 Duncan after his first grooming. Even the groomer was taken aback by the change.

Duncan after his first grooming. Even the groomer was taken aback by the change.

He's not the cuddlebug that Benji was. He's quieter and more compliant than Benji was, too. (In the month he's been with me, I've only heard him bark once--in his sleep. Benji, by contrast, carried on entire conversations.) Duncan watches everything. I call him the neighborhood traffic cop. If we're walking and a car pulls into a driveway, Duncan stops, plants himself, and does not move until the person is out of the car and safely in the house. If a garage door opens or closes, Duncan stops, plants himself, and does not move until he sees who is coming or going. He spends hours each day watching the street, staring particularly intently at anyone who parallel parks in front of the house. I'll let you know if he starts issuing tickets.

It's going to take some time for us to bond, but I can't tell you how good it feels to be a dog mom once again.