Some people think adopting a dog is just like ordering a meal from a fast food store. You go to the first window and place the order for the perfect little pup, go to the second window and pick him up to take home and then if you don’t get exactly what you ordered you take him back for a refund. This is not how adoption works and is definitely not how it should work. Taking a new family member into your home is not a choice that should be taken lightly and adopting your new best friend should be an absolute commitment from your side. I recently added a new dog to my family, and although it was the best decision I made this year it was also quite a journey and did come with a few bumps in the road.
I first met Storm when she was brought into Dogtown along with her brother Mayweather earlier this year. Unwanted and misunderstood. It was love at first sight, she is the most beautiful little lady with a firecracker spirit. A few months later Mayweather got adopted by a lovely family and Storm was left behind struggling with life in the octagons. After two adoption applications for this stunning girl fell through, I started thinking that I can probably make room for her in my home and heart.
This is where the adoption process started. First step was to do a cat test as I share my home with a bunch of felines and their safety is a priority when considering a new pet in the house. Fortunately for me, Storm proved that she loves all kinds of four footed friends as she passed the cat test with flying colours.
Next up was determining how she would react to living with my other dogs and also how they would react to her. One being quite the bit smaller than her and the other much larger. So meet and greets were scheduled with her new doggy siblings. Meeting my first dog, Cocoa, a beagle cross, went as smooth as could be possible. They got along from the get go. It was just waggy tails and loads of sniffs and I could not be happier. They went on a few walks together, had some play time and it was decided they would live well together.
Next up she had to meet her big brother Indie. And by big I mean giant as he is a great dane the size of a show pony. This is where the bumpy ride started. On the first meet and greet Indie was so excited he bounced around and got all high pitched. His social skills are also not up to scratch so he just wanted to bulldoze his way in and this boisterous behaviour from the large dog towering over her made little Storm very nervous.
Working with our number one behaviourist, Mr Gordon Banks, we started the process of getting these two very different dogs to get along. After weeks of going on walks together, helping Indie to approach her appropriately, helping Storm to have more confidence around him, having playdates in our play area and finally meeting each other at my home, they were comfortable enough with each other to live together.
On 14 December Storm finally joined her forever family with me and her other 4 footed siblings. Now that she is home her learning journey continues. She still needs to learn what it is like being in a home environment, housetraining is underway and getting used to a whole new day to day routine. All of the skills she learned while training with her Dogtown caregiver has to be generalised to the new environment she now finds herself in.
But I can promise anyone who is thinking about adopting that although it may be a bit of time and effort, it is all so very worth it in the end. Nothing beats the feeling of sloppy kisses, a wagging tail and unconditional love you get from this special life you just saved.
I want to thank all the staff at Dogtown for helping me and Storm throughout this process, for all the encouragement, support and great advice. Thank you to her caregiver for giving her the best training and care until she found her spot on my couch. Thank you for getting Storm to the place where she belongs.
Caregiver and proud mama of Storm