Kindness is essential in our daily lives.
I will share weekly a new post with a message of how powerful kindness really can be.

Canine and Feline Companions

During the summer of 2010 we had a fantastic dog who went by the name Hildie. Hildie was a 10 year old Rottweiler who was an exceptional pet and an extremely qualified guard dog. Our house is not very visible from the road so her 116 pound presence always made me feel comfortable. Although a very large area of our backyard is fenced in she was always allowed to follow me outside that area to run loose while I did yard work, garden work or whatever. She was very protective of me and never let me get too far out of her sight. On very few occasions she would run down the driveway barking and putting a fear into some unsuspecting jogger but I always managed to get her back. We knew when we got her that this breed would need socialization so she was enrolled in a dog training school and graduated at the top of her class. She was a very smart dog - probably the smartest I ever owned or will ever own.

With Hildie getting up there in years, and not in the best of health, we thought it would be a good idea to get another dog who could learn a few tricks from her and keep her company during her senior years. Now, being a senior myself, I couldn't imagine trucking to the vet with another 116 lb dog so I began looking here and there for another suitable canine companion to join our family - one of a smaller stature. Of course, there were a few stipulations - the dog must be dog friendly, cat friendly, child friendly and trained to potty outdoors.

Welcome, Libby Lu Jenkins, cute as a button 7 month old Puggle puppy. The Puggle, a designer dog, is the name for a crossbreed dog with a beagle parent and a pug parent. We adopted Libby Lu from a family of 3 children, 3 cats and a very large English Bulldog so I was confident she would fit in very nicely at our home. It still breaks my heart when I think about the young little girl waving out the window crying goodbye to Libby Lu as we carried her to our car. I only wished she could have understood that Libby Lu would be living a wonderful life with us. I was hoping Libby Lu wouldn't have the beagle bark but she does.
Libby was welcomed into our home by both the cat and the dog. It looked like it was going to be one big happy family. Unfortunately, one week later, Hildie began to have trouble walking and began crying getting up and down. A trip to the vet revealed a massive tumor in her back leg that was crushing the bone in that leg. We brought her home from the vet but she wasn't able to get up and out of the backseat of the car. We took her back to the vet and they had to euthanize her in the hatchback of my car. We brought her back home and buried her alongside the other pets in the far backyard. It was a very, very sad occasion. Having sweet little Libby Lu helped with the transition of losing Hildie but she was a dog that will never, ever be forgotten.

Although Libby Lu was getting enough love from us I could tell after some time that she was lonely without another canine companion. She appeared so sad that once again I began looking here and there for another suitable canine companion to join our family. Of course, there were the same stipulations - the dog must be dog friendly, cat friendly, child friendly and trained to potty outdoors.

Welcome, Ginger, a tiny adorable Jug who came to live with us through an open adoption process. A Jug, known as a hybrid dog, is a crossbreed dog with a Jack Russel parent and a Pug parent. Ginger also came from a family with a large dog and several children, was 1 1/2 years old so assumably potty trained but she had not been socialized with cats. I appreciated the fact that her human family made a visit to our house to make sure we were suitable. Upon meeting, the dogs acted like long-lost friends. They ran and ran and chased each other around and around the yard literally until they dropped. She was so adorable and Libby Lu was so happy to have a playmate that I was willing to work on having her be friends with our cat, Tuxedo.

It was agreed that we would have Ginger do a sleepover to see how she would interact around our cool and calm cat, Tuxedo. Ginger brought her own bed with her and was glad to share it with Libby Lu. The overnight visit went well and we agreed we would include Ginger into our lives. I happily agreed to electronically send them pictures and updates of Ginger to help them through their loss.

I decided to consult with a professional animal behaviorist for advice on getting Ginger and Tuxedo to be friends. She indicated it would be very difficult but with a lot of work it could possibly be done. I have to report that with the use of a squirt gun and a few chaperoned sniffs Ginger eventually agreed to be friends. 

Tuxedo + Libby Lu + Ginger = Friends Forever

Hildie, R.I.P.

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