Three days ago, our friend Manuela visiting from Milano, introduced us to her godmother.
Her godmother had lost her poodle Harry-Harry only three weeks ago and she is still in mourning for him. She was telling Manuela how sad she felt and considered having a new dog.
Manuela had shown her a photo of me when her godmother immediately wanted to meet us. She was wondering if Mummy could help her find a replacement for Harry-Harry.
Along they came. She was at first eager to meet me but maybe sensing something wasn’t totally right, I barked at her. Well, she didn’t like my barking at her. 🙂
But dinky George, in his usual self, jumped up on the sofa to say hello and she fell in love with him – immediately. Mummy had told her that he was a rescue and she misunderstood that he was available for the taking.
She said George reminded her very much of Harry-Harry – he too had crooked teeth like George’s protruding lower left tooth. And almost of the same colouring.
She felt that she had bonded immediately with George. She desperately wanted George. She felt that he would replace the huge void that Harry-Harry had left in her heart. Maybe she could borrow George for a few days to see how she felt.
I listened to all this with great interest on what was being discussed. Just pleased she wasn’t talking about me. May’s comment: If it had been four months ago, I might have been persuaded to help mend her broken heart by letting her have George. But this time around, I was very certain in my answer. George is a part of my family and he’s not going anywhere.
Early in our relationship, I would have given him to anyone who wanted to take him for a few days – that evening I was certain in saying it will not be good for George to go to a place that he doesn’t know. It will throw him off-balance again. We are doing well now. His resource guarding is lessened and he only gets territorial when he’s on the leash. He is still a vocal dog – when he doesn’t like something.
As the words came out of my mouth I was quite bemused at how far I had come with George.
At the beginning, I struggled with the feeling that I had imposed George on Darcy (really, it was my life that I felt had changed).
Then I struggled with not understanding how I did not love him exactly the way I love Darcy – when a friend reminded me that we love each person or being differently. No two beings are alike and therefore we cannot love two beings the same way. I love Darcy for what she had done for me. She opened my world, my heart and gave me joy and she gave and taught me unconditional love. George is a little different. He is the naughty child who tested your patience and pushed the boundaries. Darcy never did that. Or maybe she did but we grew together, learning each other’s ways. With George, it is very much a protective love. I could not help but want to protect this little dinky thing. But it felt very much like a one-way street.
And when George’s resource guarding became an issue – I was overwhelmed, to be honest. I wondered if he was ever going to overcome his instinct to violently protect his food and attention. He made Darcy feel bad, he attacked her for even looking at his food and mostly when she gets any attention should someone new came into our space and gave her any attention. It was difficult to see Darcy feeling uncertain in her own home. That was the hardest aspect – the guilt of imposing this on Darcy.
As we calmed that down through a lot of intervention with dog training and worked with dog walker and sitter alike, the antagonistic relationship changed.
He used to try to usurp Darcy’s positions – in bed, under my desk, etc, etc – these days they share the places. Darcy is not fussed where she sits or sleeps. Even though he still tries out Darcy’s “preferred places” for the sheer pleasure of thinking he can. He has eventually found his own “preferred spots”. He no longer looks at Darcy with jealousy as she sleeps beside me in between the pillows. He prefers to sleep on the throw at the end of the bed. In fact he prefers to sleep right by my legs – not very comfortable for me but that’s where he likes to snuggle.
Finally, what cemented our ties forever was when he got into my routine. He used to be the most jumpiest of Jumping Jacks in the mornings. Up on the bed and down again. He would instigate play with Darcy. But now that he has learnt there’s a snooze button on the alarm, he goes along with it. Peace at last!
We now have our routine and he is very much entwined in our lives. Darcy tolerates him. She still gets annoyed when he returns after he’s been away. But secretly I think she loves him quietly but would not admit it. 🙂
As uncomfortable as it was during the meeting, it was also quite a revelation for me. I was quite surprised at how definite I was. As much as I would like to help heal a broken heart, George is not for the taking. He is not going anywhere.
P.S. Hungary Hearts Dog Rescue reading this – don’t worry. There have been at least three others who begged to have George from the beginning. There have been strangers on the street who asked if he’s for re-homing. At every stage, I thought about it but I knew I would never forgive myself if I did not try to give him a home he deserved. 🙂 That’s because Darcy taught me how good things can come out of great trials.