a bitter bean


It has been a week since the arrival of the new pups. Despite our efforts to make Caskie feel included in the household, he is maintaining his aloof, grumbling position with regard to River and Iris. A positive sign is that he seems all right with them when away from the house on a leash walk, but once back on home turf, he maintains his distance and growls if they try to play with him.

We adopted Caskie as an adult dog from a local rescue center and he was a huge project to take on at the time. We weren’t told why he was given to the shelter but my guess would be because of his unruly behavior. To put it plainly, he was a maniac – jumping on people, running all over the furniture. He had zero boundaries. It took a long, long time to reign him in. For months, I had him tethered to me on a leash, even indoors, so he could learn how to properly conduct himself around people.

There was an upshot to this boundless energy. Our old lab, Jakey was getting on in years – grumpy and a little chunky, as he could not longer go on runs with us. Caskie was just what he needed to put a little spring in his step. And he did. Old Jake wound up living to almost 15 years of age, which is pretty old for a large scale dog. He and Caskie had countless walks and hikes and camping trips together.

When Jakey finally passed, Caskie was devastated. He grieved visibly and really only perked up when we moved here to Chez Bogard where there so much space to run and play. Perhaps we waited too long to get another dog (0r 2). Perhaps we are in for another long, slow wait for Caskie’s behavior to change. I’m not sure. I will just keep doing what I’m doing: respecting his need for space, getting him a good out-of-yard walk everyday, and giving him love. It’s all I know how to do.

Hopefully he’ll stop being a bitter bean sooner than later. I know what joy looks like in a dog. I swear they smile when they’re happy. Although he’s not smiling too much right now, I have faith that the puppies will eventually sweeten his senior years, much as he did for Old Jakey.

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