We Tried

Here is Becky, a nine-year-old foxhound-type who came to our farm as a foster-to-adopt candidate.  Amazingly, for an old dog, she has tons of energy, a great body condition and seemed to be fitting in.  After the loss of Holly, our older German Shepherd, we felt ready for a new companion and a friend for Otto.  Maybe an older, harder to home, shelter dog could find a place with us.  We decided to try.

Our style of keeping dogs involves off leash and under voice command outside, movement restricted to the dog area inside.  Becky quickly adapted from having the run of a house to staying in the dog area inside.  For an old dog with minimal leash training, she was making strides in responding to voice commands on the leash in preparation for off-lead.  She and Otto quickly became pals.

The first day she was here, she charged at a cat who came to investigate the new arrival.  At our house, the cats and dogs must get along.  Our tiger cat Toby, who is sixteen, Chloe the tuxedo kitty and the two brother cats, Kai and Cary who came to us as newborns from the shelter, all enjoy being with dogs.  After a few days, the cats had forgiven Becky’s early poor manners and returned to try and make friends.  Things seemed ok.  Becky would lie down and tolerate a cat within a foot of her with no aggression.  Everyone thought things would be wonderful.

Then, two nights ago, as I worked on the computer and the dogs rested in their area, all the cats came to visit me.  As is their furry wont, kitties sat beside me on the desk, curled behind me to look over my shoulder and settled nearby to observe.  All was quiet and content.  Toby had climbed on a bench and curled up for a nap.  After about ten minutes, for no reason I could discern, Becky suddenly jumped up and rushed at Toby, sending him, and the other cats, scattering for the hills.

Maybe it was a game for her; jump the cats and see them run, perhaps she just got sick of a feline relaxing bold as brass six feet away from her, who know why she did it.  She ruined her chances of living at the farm.  We cannot trust her with the cats so she must go.  Since then the cats have stayed clear of Becky.  I’m hoping that continues until Tuesday when I return her to the shelter’s foster home an hour away.  Too bad, she is a nice dog otherwise.

I’m thinking now that the easiest way for us to get the sort of dog that can coexist with our menagerie of cats, horses, rabbits and free-range chickens is to start with a puppy and train it ourselves.  The strategy has always worked in the past, guess we should stick with it.

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5 thoughts on “We Tried

  1. That’s too bad! It’s only been a few days since she moved in, do you think with some more time she’d understand she can’t chase the cats? Is there a time limit from the shelter before you have to make up your mind?

    • Sadly, we just don’t trust her anymore. She is fully capable of killing a cat, her teeth are big. It is too bad. Dogs that aren’t raised with cats can have problems like that. Since hounds are bred to chase small quarry, it is in her genetic makeup, even harder to break. We would not have taken her at all except she was supposed to be ok with cats. She was surrendered after 8 years living with a family and the owner who surrendered gave her a rating of 2 out of 3 with cats. I’d give her 1, if that. Since Cary loves dogs and wants to be with Otto, he comes first.

  2. Very sorry for the passing of Holly. Very noble of you to adopt an older dog, but I think you’re right to start with a puppy that has no issues or baggage again. It’s hard when you don’t really know their history.

  3. I meant to attempt to adopt an older dog. I was thinking as I typed of some neighbors of ours who did adopt an older dog. He was 12 when they adopted him as a companion for a young adult German Shepherd they have and figured he would have maybe a couple good years left because he is a bigger dog. That was 3 years ago and he is still going strong! He is more of a handful than they planned with some behavior issues, but they are sticking it out and have said they will go with a puppy next time.

    • We did have great success with adopting a geriatric dog named princess. I blogged about her. She blended right in like she grew up here. I guess she was a special dog and we were lucky. Maybe she somehow realized that I saved her life and she just did everything right to fit in. It could be I’m just not energetic enough to search and go through home trials to find the right adult dog to adopt when it is easier to get a puppy and train it from the start.

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