Ironically, right before Nutmeg and Nora had their brawl in the back seat of the car on our way home, our daughter, Kasey, had texted me to see how the dogs were doing, and I told her how they were dozing in the laundry basket. So sweet.
Then World War III broke out, and I was astounded to see how two small, seemingly harmless dogs could transform into a violent, shrieking ball of fur.
How would we keep them in one crate? We only had one crate left over from our 100-pound-lab days. I pictured bringing home two sweet dogs who would sit on my lap–and wag their tails at me when they weren’t sitting on my lap. What if we had to return them? What if we had to keep them for ten years?
Kasey and her black cat, Blanco, were waiting for us when we got home.. The dogs entered the house together as if nothing had happened a few minutes earlier. They were curious with the cat, who was skeptical of them. I told Kasey about their fight, and she reminded me that Happy and Scout used to fight, but that they were so big, they’d knock lamps off of tables.
We put their new collars on them and fed them using their new matching bowls. Neither dog ate much. I suspect they were nervous in their new surroundings. They each had a couple of accidents in the house, despite being taken outdoors several times to do their business. They had a couple more spats, too, but nothing like what they had done in the car.
With hope in my heart, I said to Kasey, “I’m sure a week from now, it’ll seem like they’ve always been part of the family.”
The dogs didn’t mind being put into their crate at bedtime. After all, they had spent two months in a kennel, so they were used to enclosure. I gave them each a treat, Nature’s Recipe Training Treats. These are very small, and they must taste great to dogs, because they loved them.
When we went to bed, Nutmeg and Nora started barking, crying, and howling. It sounded like three dogs. I couldn’t figure out how they could make so many noises at once. After a little bit, I got up and decided to spend the night on the couch. As long as they knew I was there, they were fine. Occasionally during the night, they’d start crying again, and I’d remind them I was still there. Then, they’d settle down again.
The next morning, I woke up early and took them on a walk using their new Y leash. This has a single handle and two straps that are attached with a swivel connector, so the dogs can weave in and out around each other without getting tangled. It felt great to be walking dogs again. I was amazed that I could hold onto the leash with my index finger and control them. I could barely control our labs, Happy and Scout, one at a time, even with prong collars. On the walk, Nutmeg and Nora explored in their own directions and often walked side by side, their little legs scurrying in sync with each other, moving so rapidly that under their fur skirts, they reminded me of millipede legs (yes, unfortunately, I have seen millipedes in my life, in my house).
That day was Sunday, September 11, and we spent the day quietly. It was good that we had a weekend day to acclimate them to our home before heading off to work all week. Things went well. There were a few accidents, but we made sure to take them outside often and reward them when they did what they were there for with praise and petting. They sat on our laps, but we could feel them trembling. They seemed to flinch a little when we petted them. After we went to bed, they cried again in their crate, and I employed my ear plugs. Jim went without. Eventually, the crate will be put away and they will have free reign of the house, but they have to earn it.
The next day would be their first at home while we went to work. I wondered how they would manage.