By Katherine H.
My husband, Bryant, and I had been talking about adopting a second dog for what seemed like ages. We knew it was the right decision but it never seemed to be the right time.
Admittedly, we were a little nervous. We adopted our first dog Audrey Hepburn, from Animal Care & Protective Services (ACPS) back in the spring of 2009. Audrey, a now six-year-old American Foxhound Mix reveled in the undivided attention of being our only child. Over time though it became clear, Audrey needed a companion.
But then we were in the middle of buying our first home.
And then, we were in the middle of renovating our new home.
And then we hosting out of town friends, or we were sick, or… Like I said, it never was the right time.
Finally at the urging of some of our FOJA friends, we threw caution to the wind, and on a whim, went to Animal Care & Protective Services one Saturday afternoon. I hadn’t made it half way through the first kennel when from the far end, I heard my husband: “Come see this one!” I knew from the inflection in Bryant’s voice, that this one, named Yo-Yo, had won his heart. Her personality seemed to be a match: playful yet meek. It was time to bring home Audrey’s little sister.
We braced ourselves for the adjustment. How would Audrey react? What would she do? The ACPS staff member who helped us with the paper work also helped us with a plan: the very first thing to do was to bring Audrey outside, let her take the lead, and walk both Audrey and Yo-Yo around the neighborhood. This approach would provide a neutral setting and a gentle introduction. Plus, it would allow Audrey to establish the role of alpha dog in our new little pack.
Armed with this piece of advice, we brought Yo-Yo home. I held my breath and we did exactly as instructed. We walked both dogs through the neighborhood and around the park before heading back to the house and letting them off-leash in the backyard. At this moment, Yo-Yo, a Boxer-Labrador mix, reared up into the traditional boxer play-pose. Audrey looked at us as if to say, “Guys, what the heck is this?” then to our delight, responded in kind. An hour later, we were scrubbing down two very dirty, muddy, happy dogs. One day later, we settled on a new name for our little starlet: Greta Garbo.
And so we’ve gone from there, reinforcing Audrey’s role as alpha dog along the way, while making it clear that her new sister was here to stay. It’s not to say that there haven’t been scuffles along the way, but one month later, Audrey and Greta are doing a great job sharing the spotlight.