Thursday, May 21, 2009

We've got a new roommate. It's a temporary arrangement, but there's now another dog in the house. Now for most households with a pet, this might not be such a big deal. But this is Max we're talking about. He relishes his role as the "only". Max is not the least bit interested in changing his status.

For the past week, we've been adjusting ourselves to Buddy's presence. He is the most adorable combination of Lhasa Apso/Tebetan Terrier, with Farrah Fawcett hair. Long, curly, luxuriously thick hair... the kind most women would kill for. Buddy's very agreeable and even Max can't seem to raise his ire.

I must say things are working out much better than the last time we tried a companion pet. Poor Maggie didn't stand a chance. I thought Max would appreciate having a playmate, someone to hang out with when I'm away so that he would not feel lonely. Turns out I was sadly mistaken.

Maggie was a rescue dog at Barking Hound Village where Max went for daycare every week. The owner there is an animal lover with a soft heart for rescues. He can not abide the idea of a dog going uncared for or unloved. She was a Beagle/Bassett hound mix with a pink nose, big paws and a submissive demeanor. After meeting her at the daycare, I brought Maggie home. Things got off to a rocky start right away. Max attacked her at the door and I had to literally pull them apart.

Max went from expressing open hostility to benign indifference. It's as if he decided that if he didn't acknowledge her presence, then she really did not exist. They would pass each other and he would totally ignore her. She tried to engage him in every way she could possibly think of. But in her desperation, Maggie resorted to destroying things. At first, it was replaceable stuff like my socks and Max's toys. But then she escalated to soiling the rug and pulling things down off the coffee table. The last straw was the day I came downstairs to find her nibbling on my sofa pillows. We had returned from our morning walk. I fed them the morning meal, left them contentedly resting at opposite ends of the room, only to return later to see Maggie chewing the cover off the pillow.

After a couple of months of trying to work things out between them, I decided that was it. Enough already. I even bought her lots of raw hides and chew toys to satisfy her nervous chewing habit. In his worst days, Max was never destructive. I admit to having very little tolerance for the needless loss of hard-earned possessions. Maggie had to go... back to BHV, that is.

Of course, my friends concluded that it was all part of Max's grand scheme to eliminate his arch rival for my affections. Maggie was a big goof who loved to jump up and give sloppy kisses. She wasn't the smartest dog, but she tried hard to please. She just didn't know there was nothing she could do that would satisfy Max.

I don't know exactly how long Buddy will be with us. We're fostering him while his Mom gets back on her feet. But knowing that its a temporary arrangement seems to be enough to prevent Max from sabotaging Buddy. They're actually adjusting nicely. Let's hope things stay that way.

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