This little guy is a brand new addition to my household. Blackie Chan was one of five puppies born into my daughter Kate’s household, the progeny of two rescue dogs she had taken in. My grandson Brandon came up with his name. He was a litter-mate of my own Rosa Parks, older than her by just a few minutes. He spent his first eight years with Kate’s family of assorted kids and dogs.
Kate’s life is soon going to be changing drastically. Her children are just about grown; one will go off to college in the fall. Kate’s nursing contract will be finished in June; she plans to then take on short term nursing positions that will allow them to travel and explore the country. She and her husband intend to put their house on the market at that time. At least until it sells, they will be renting.
As we talked about all of these changes, she mentioned that she still needed to find a home for Blackie Chan. I told her I’d be happy to try it. I already live with two spoiled dogs, so I was certain there were plenty of things that could go wrong. Before our conversation was finished, though, I had changed my mind. “I’m not going to take that little guy out of the only home he’s ever known just to ‘try it’,” I told her, “I’ll take him. We’ll work it out.”
I already had a trip to the mainland planned. Saturday, I was attending the birthday party of a dear old friend, Emma Jean. My best friend, Linda, was meeting up with me, then, for a couple days of shopping and visiting. If Kate could work it into her schedule, it would be a good time to get the little dog.
So, Monday, just a few hours before my scheduled flight, my daughter, her husband Jeremy, and little Blackie Chan met Linda and me at the airport. We had time for lunch, several little walks and lots of cuddling with the little dog before we had to say good-bye. I held the dog on my lap for the 15-minute plane ride, where I hoped my hands in his fur would help to allay his fear of the strange and new experience.
Home, then, just the two of us. I’d arranged to leave Rosa Parks and Darla in the kennel for one extra night, to give the new guy time to become familiar with me, and his new home. It was a good night. He responded to my voice, wagged his tail as we walked the yard, and was quick to ask to be picked up or petted. He slept in his crate, which is what he is used to, but came right out, tail wagging, to get me out of bed this morning. He seemed very happily settling in.
I picked up the other dogs, with high hopes that introductions would go smoothly. I was especially worried about Rosa Parks: she is most possessive of me, and she doesn’t get along well with strangers, whether people or dogs. Darla, having spent most of her first six years in a no-kill shelter, is more social, and generally good with others.
Turns out, it was big Darla that had the strongest reaction. She set all of our nerves on edge when she went in for the attack first thing. Luckily, Blackie Chan was closed in his crate, but all of the dogs were madly barking and growling as I pulled Darla away and insisted she “sit” and “stay.” I put her outside, when she refused to stop posturing. Blackie was frightened and defensive by that time, so wanted nothing to do with Rosa Parks. She, surprisingly, seems curious, and willing to make friends.
So far, my day has been spent walking dogs. First a walk with Darla and Rosa Parks, so that Blackie Chan could calm down and feel safe. Next, a walk with Blackie Chan, to remind him of the fun we had yesterday, and to reassure him that he has a place in this household. Also, to let Darla and Rosa Parks know that they are going to have to learn to get along with this little guy, if they want to come along. Finally, a long walk with Darla, to let her know she is still loved, despite all of my yelling.
During that time, Rosa Parks and Blackie Chan had the house to themselves. They didn’t quite make friends, but Blackie had not retreated to his crate, and they both came to welcome me. Now, all three dogs are inside. Darla is sprawled on top of my bed, her usual daytime spot. Rosa Parks is sound asleep on top of the pillow on the edge of Darla’s big cushion.
The new guy is napping, too, inside of his crate, but with the door open, and just a few inches away from his sister. Right now, all is calm. That gives me hope that we’ll be able to work this out. And, despite all of today’s turmoil, I think Blackie Chan is a wonderful addition to my family!