Wednesday, June 4, 2014

6/4/14 Khaleesi Comes Home

There has been a tug-o-war going on behind the scenes at our house for several years now. 

Bob would keep talking about getting another dog, looking at shelter websites, sending me photos. 

Katy has retired completely from walks now, so when Evan goes to the dog park with me in the mornings, alone, he's always so forlorn that there's no one else to run and play with. 

On the morning of Memorial Day, I couldn't wake Katy. She was laying on the floor, not moving. I knelt down and tried to get her to stir. Nothing. She finally did rouse, but not after a lot of shoving and shouting (at a deaf dog), and a minor heart attack.

Over the past year Bob went to a couple of shelters in the Denver area to meet one dog or another. The dog would already have been adopted, or the shelter would be one of those "no one is good enough to adopt our animals" type of attitude that really is off-putting.

I thought I'd boxed him into enough of a corner when I'd insisted it 1) be another Border Collie 2) NOT be under the age of 1 3) be housetrained 4) not aggressive 5) okay with other dogs AND cats and 6) at a shelter that wasn't going to require home visits and guaranteed ten mile daily walks with gluten free diets. 

Yesterday, though, he sent me a picture. She was  three years old, described in almost identical terms as Evan (nervous, shy, better with families without young children, in need of obedience training) and at the same shelter where we'd adopted him. Border Collies are by nature going to be shell shocked even worse than most breeds at a shelter.

I thought the hours would preclude getting down to see her, but then Sam jumped on the bandwagon and the two of them drove down today and came back with...

Sam has named her Khaleesi, which I'm still not comfortable saying over and over. Two syllables is the most any dog's name should be, which can be shortened to one in a pinch. Katy is "K" and Evan is "Ev" most of the time. I see "Khal" in her future.

So, of course, we made the mistake of getting excited and rushing right into the house, which I've tried to curtail after that initial craziness. This isn't her territory yet and she doesn't think of this as home. Evan, my sweet docile boy, is quite excited to run around with her in the backyard, but she got into fighting mode on the stairs with him in a confined space when we got too careless indoors. She also found Katy's food bowl, and that didn't go over too great, either.

She found Faith on the stairs and completely ignored her. Good.

She's completely housebroken and is pretty compliant with "come" and "sit."

She's most interested in standing at the front door, and when we walked her out front, she clearly wanted to get in the car and go for a ride. Strange that she's such a good car rider but that no one came looking for her in her week long hold at the shelter. They'd noted that her nails were painfully overgrown, which also points to neglect or a long time as a stray, but she's clearly been a home dog before. 

So I'm keeping her with Sam in the basement for the night and Dad has generously agreed to come up with the two heavy kennels we've kept at their house tomorrow so I can move about the house without needing to keep tabs on them every second. We can rotate with whose kenneled and whose free until they start ignoring each other. 

Sam is leaving for the weekend with a group of friends, so the weekend looms as an interesting experiment since I won't leave her without company downstairs. We'll all be rotating kennels and freedom for a couple of weeks.

The backyard went better, with just she and Evan chasing the tennis ball a good bit. Evan is happy as a clam (side note, why are clams so happy?) to just run with her and let her get it every time, which is good, since she's 20 pounds lighter and a lot faster than he is these days. (We both have some midsection we need to drop.)

Her freckles remind me so much of Ian, our first Border Collie.

So tonight, with Sammi keeping Khal curled up with her in the basement tonight and Evan and Katy splayed out at my feet as usual, I'm trying to figure out how I just became a pack leader. The cats, on the other hand, are doing the math as we speak and realize the scales have just balanced, out of their favor. 


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