No Fault of Their Own Part IV
Jameson had finally found a wonderful family that was interested in meeting him but there was one major red flag. They had a cat named Princepesa. We let Jen and Gary know that Jameson had been returned to us for not getting along with the cat, so we weren’t sure it would be a good fit. However, dog psychology and understanding a dogs needs can completely change the dynamics of the cat/dog relationship. They would need to work with us and practice consistency to change the way the dog perceived the cat and also practice emotionally detaching from Jameson in the event that we decided the situation would be unsafe for Princepesa. Most importantly, we’d need them to devote the time and if they didn’t have it, it wasn’t even worth exploring.
There was a lot on the line for all of us – we wanted Jameson to find a great home with amazing owners, Jen and Gary already loved his charming personality and dashing good looks, and Jameson – well, Jameson is a dog, so as long as he is fulfilled, he is content. I decided to bring in an extra set of hands who has a lot more experience with this than I do. I called up my mentor, Linn Boyke, and asked if he would come along for the first meeting to decide if this was a route worth pursuing. If Linn told us no right off the bat, then we would not continue. I trust Linn’s judgment entirely and with nearly two decades more experience than me, there was no question he’d know right away.
We all met at Jen and Gary’s house on December 18, 2016 where Linn got right to business. I’m always in awe that I can ask him for help and he takes the time to provide it. Additionally, Linn is quite good with cats, as well! Jen brought Princepesa down the stairs and placed her in her current favorite spot, the skirt underneath the Christmas tree. Jameson was definitely alert and in tune to Princepesa. If we had continued to move towards the cat, he would have likely reacted out of excitement and ruined the opportunity for friendship before we had even began! We could already see that he was over stimulated and we needed to address that before moving any closer.
Linn worked with Jameson for about an hour – In that hour, Linn created a calm state of mind in the dog, Jameson was able to look at the cat, move around the room that the cat was in and ignore it and we were also able to have the cat move around without Jameson becoming overexcited. The decision was made to move forward. We agreed that I would come back several times over the next few weeks. Our first meeting was a week before Christmas and not once did they ask if he’d be with them to celebrate, they didn’t ask if he’d be home by New Years either – they didn’t push to move too quickly, they were just happy that this was possible.
With each visit, we’d begin by taking Jameson for a walk to drain his energy and practice walking Jameson in their community. We passed dogs, birds, and kids while teaching Jameson how to behave. Next, we’d move inside where Princepesa would be underneath the tree napping, Jameson would have access to seeing her while his intensity was controlled with a leash. Before we left for the day, we’d go for another walk to bring Jameson’s state of mind to its’ calmest state. We accomplished our goal of Jameson more and more calm about the cats presence. Now that he could be calm around her sitting still, I needed to address him being calm around her while she moved about the house, or darts across the room and up the stairs (as cats are known to do).
We then had the cat start to move about the room and again, Jameson’s excitement was controlled- at this point he was still on leash. Once he was calm about her movement, we then removed the leash but had him in the crate.
The cat would move about and if Jameson became excited we would create calmness and when he was ready we would bring the cat out again. After practicing this consistently, Jameson was no longer excited by the cat or her presence. **DISCLAIMER** This is one way to do things, every dog, cat, home, human
and environmental factor can affect the proper way to address YOUR situation. If you are struggling with cat/dog relationships or thinking of adding a dog/cat to your existing pet, please work with a behaviorist in YOUR area and if you need a referral reach out to IpittytheBull or myself.
I ultimately went to their house to work with Jameson and Princepesa six times times before we crossed our next milestone. We scheduled a walk at a busy trail area with lots of bunnies, birds, and people- Jen is a fitness coach and very active so we wanted to practice his walk in more challenging areas. Jen did great and taught Jameson that he is to behave the same way there as in their own neighborhood. Our second walk I brought along Kahlua so we could add the challenge of a second dog to the walk. Eventually, Jameson started having overnight stays. Jameson spent a weekend, and another weekend, and then I got the text… “Things are going really well and we’d like to make it official.” Thus began his two week foster to adopt period. Jen and Gary really followed through and I just can’t tell you how rare that is. They loved the same things about him that I did. How he looks like he was shampooed with shiny black shoe polish after a bath, how he looks so dapper in a hat, and his abilities as an amazing conversationalist!
We finalized Jamesons adoption on February 13, 2017. That means they took almost 2 entire months to work on the relationship with Jameson and Princepesa. Their patience and dedication means the world to me. Jameson is thriving in his new home, I love following their adventures on Jens Instagram account. He goes on hikes, runs, adventures, and lives peacefully with Princepesa. He is truly a part of their family.
Of all my adoptions the Tucker formerly Vince and Jameson adoptions are very special to me. Each owner did what was right for the dog and they took their time picking the dog for them. Their decision was not emotional, it wasn’t based on what THEY wanted, it was based on finding that perfect match for their home. Each family worked with us several times and kept in touch as time went on. I get to see them when their families go out of town and they stop in for boarding.
I think you for hanging in there with me while I take a month between installments to organize my thoughts, next week we will explore what happens we we don’t take our time.
September 12, 2017
September 06, 2017
August 14, 2017