A lovely story in the paper the other day really touched me. I’m a big softie when it comes to all things animals in case you haven’t figured that out yet. This was about a couple who had progressed in their relationship to the point of moving in together. Except there was one member of their currently separate families who wasn’t keen on the idea. A poodle, to be exact.
Said poodle was elderly and female although that’s not a qualified deal-breaker when it comes to blending families. From my experience it happens with all genders and species no matter the breed. Because we forget that just like us, they like being asked before adding to the family. When this issue arises with a client, I play the devil’s advocate. “This is no different than if you were to bring home another human and say ‘look what I picked up today, sweetie – a new husband or wife or partner or significant family member’.” Naturally, our response would most likely be if not a WTF at the very least a really shocked silence. Which is sometimes an animal’s response as well.
The good thing about the couple in the newspaper story is that they were open with each other and the poodle about this pending event. There was definitely some friction along the lines of who came first in the relationship – the dog or the new partner. And some thoughts of whether or not anyone would be able to compromise in the spirit of all healthy relationships. Because the poodle at one point wasn’t having any of it.
Try though he might, the dog-less half of the couple wasn’t making much headway with the dog. Special toys and treats went unnoticed. Her behavior escalated with red flags like peeing on the floor when he spent the night. At one point while he was caring for her while her guardian was out of town she escaped during a walk. He eventually found her, limping. A vet visit ensued where she was pronounced fine yet when her guardian came home she began limping again. “Faker”, cried the dog-less one.
All of this began to be too much for the dog-less half of the couple and he doubted this new-found love would triumph. Then, suddenly , he was the one needing support. A personal crisis developed and for the first time the poodle came toward him and offered her compassion and love. The story ended happily with the couple united and the poodle snuggled between them not only in their lives but on the sofa, too.
Family is as important to Animals as it is to humans. And they need time, just like we do, with new people, situations and change. Give them the respect they deserve if you’re making a big change. Let them know they’re with you forever. If you do this I promise that they’ll respond with even more compassion, love and understanding for you and everyone else you hold dear.