Melding our pet family has been challenging.
When we had only Bambi, our pit bull,
we felt he needed to lighten up. So we got Molly
to be his friend and make him laugh. It took quite awhile for them to accept each other. Molly was intimidated by Bambi’s size and demeanor. He ‘put up with her’ for the most part, in the beginning. Then they became fast friends. We live on a ridge line so we can just let our animals out, rather than always having to have them on a leash. We learned the hard way to let out one dog at a time. If we did this, they basically stayed on our property. If we forgot, they formed a ‘pack,’ and had wonderful adventures, exploring. Sometimes they would be gone an hour or so before coming home, many times filthy and stinking, needing baths. :0(
After quite awhile, we added Abby to the mix.
We found her through an ad in the paper for a ‘lap kitty.’ She was slow to warm up to us, but is, now, indeed, true to the ad.
Then, I fell in love with a kitten at the vet’s that was up for adoption. My husband and I agreed that we didn’t need another animal. I kept thinking of her. I dreamed of her and named her Smoke. We went back and got her.
She’s headstrong. She and Abby fought for a while, hissing and spitting and swiping at each other. They finally accepted each other. Smoke also freaked out at the doggies for a while. She finally realized they weren’t going to chase her or try to hurt her.
Then, several years later, Bambi suddenly went downhill fast. He was almost 14 years old, pretty rare for a pit. We had to have him put to sleep. We were all really sad, though we had known the day would come. We had thought about what we would do. We have learned over the years that getting another animal right away is good for us. It doesn’t lessen the hurt of the loss, but forces us to reach out to meet a sweet animal’s needs, occupying our time and keeping us from shutting down and imploding in our grief.
So we adopted Amber.
We’re almost too old for this challenge. Even though we plan ahead, things don’t go smoothly very often these days.
For example, I decided to let Amber in to the office with us for a while before we go to Lunch Bunch. She ran right over the top of Molly, knocking her down. She then ran into the office and I shut the gate door behind her. Suddenly she got quiet. She had apparently stood up, put her feet on the file cabinet, and got down a purple silk flower up there. She was busy trying to eat the parts…. Just now I had to bite my husband verbally for sitting in his chair watching her trying to eat a sheet of bubble wrap! Next, he decided it would be good to let her chew a cardboard box into little bits. NOW he says ‘he’ll clean it up next time…’
Things are beginning to calm down now (other than the latest incident with Molly). The cats hide, go outside, or get up somewhere Amber has trouble reaching them. Molly either goes off by herself, or MAY allow Amber to nose her a bit, or sit on the bed in the living room with her. She can curl up in her bed under my feet in the office with Amber only bothering her a little bit.
The fish aren’t bothered by the dogs or the cats.
Amber is learning to co-exist with us, even though we’re old and slower than she would like. She enjoys being inside with us, and is learning to calm down (for a puppy).
We need a lot of patience, but things are starting to come together in melding our sweet pet family. I’ll be glad when most of the ‘drama’ of it passes. Otherwise, I may need a rubber room… :0)