Sorry Otis, although you are cute, you do not get the spotlight today. Mostly because he's such a laid back guy, who just wants to love everyone. It means I don't have anything to say about him today; except that he's probably the easiest and best behaved puppy we've ever had. But, as my blog post title says, I'm here to talk about my girls and since Otis is a boy, his post will have to be for another day.
Where do I begin?
I knew when I got the call saying that a potential guide dog match had been found for me that Hermione and I were going to have some issues if I got to bring this new dog home. That was especially apparent to me when I was told it was going to be a girl. You see, Hermione is the Queen B (sometimes with an itch) and she seems fine with boy dogs in her home, but she is very aloof with other females. I think it's because she can't flirt. ;) However, girl or not, my mobility was much more important than Hermione's ego and so when everything went well on that first "matching walk" I said yes. Hermione would just have to get over herself.
As I suspected, things have been...interesting to say the least.
The first week or so that we were home, Hermione seemed okay. She seemed a little intimidated by Nala, but that didn't really surprise me. Ever since Hermione was chased by that Tibetan Mastiff, she is a bit wary of big dogs she doesn't know. They seemed to sort themselves out, Nala growling twice at Hermione trying to steal her food and they would sleep in separate places. To ensure that the food situation didn't get out of control, I now feed everyone in their own rooms with doors shut. I thought that perhaps things would be fine since they seemed to have an understanding of one another, but I think once Hermione realised that Nala wasn't leaving, she began to protest...expensively.
It had gotten to the point where we didn't need to crate Hermione and Otis when we went out. We just shut them in the living room and everything would be fine when we got home. There might be a couch cushion or two out of place from when they were, presumably, having Puppy Olympics, but that wasn't a big deal. Around the end of the second week we were home, Hermione started destroying stuff. It started with paper, old mail left out, and graduated to more expensive things. It climaxed with her shredding Mr. K's passport. Replacing a passport when you are in a foreign country is not cheap. That was when we both had a chat and decided that Her Royal Majesty needed more structure and the opportunity to be bad needed to be removed. So, now when we go out, Hermione and Otis find themselves back in their crates with peanut butter Kongs. Of course Otis is not the one getting the stuff off of Mr. K's desk, but once it's on the ground, we have no doubts that he is partaking in the shredding/destroying/chewing of human items. Plus, he'd probably be lonely if we left him out in the living room by himself as opposed to in his crate which is right next to Hermione's. It gives us peace of mind when we go out that everyone is safe as well as our things.
As for when we're at home, I have to "keep an eye on her," so to speak. The other day I was putting laundry away and had locked all of the dogs out of the bedroom. It's just easier to move around when there aren't fuzzy bodies in the way. When I emerged, laundry put away and clean sheets on the bed, Hermione had chewed the back of my shoe. It's still wearable, but that is the second shoe she's made quick work of since Nala has come home. She chewed the leather laces off of Mr. K's brand new boots. It's not for a lack of toys or appropriate chew things. Our very small living room is completely taken over by Nylabones, fleece tug toys I've made, squeaky bear, Kongs and Hermione's Wubbah. She's just insecure and letting me know by eating our things. She was just a baby when Glacier was still working and so I don't think she's used to me leaving the house with another dog, leaving her behind.
I've made a point of taking her jogging with Carmen and I so that she has her own time with me. I also walk the two puppies without Nala for a couple of reasons, one of them being that it means both dogs get my attention without Nala being there. Hermione has a spot where she always sits with me and so I've made sure that spot stays open for her. However, she's just going to have to get used to Nala and I going out and doing things because I still need to get things done.
Nala and I went to the gym yesterday, where I swam about 1.5 kilometres, and Mr. K watched the puppies. Nala was fantastic, ignoring other dogs, running/screaming children and finding all of the poles I needed to cross the streets. I love the walk she gets when she gets to a pole she needs to find. Working with her is so easy which is a relief because my two previous working relationships were not easy. Jetta eventually became the guide I needed, but we had to work really hard and we all know how Glacier did. :) So, it's nice to have something that doesn't need me to struggle through. Of course we are still learning about one another and we're definitely not perfect, but this is just easy. That said, I'm getting off track: my point was that Hermione was fine with me gone yesterday, but I think it was because Mr. K was still home with her. She nearly had a heart attack when I got home because she was so excited. I don't think I've ever seen her so excited to see me home before.
Even though both of my girls are different and are currently working out their differences, I'm glad I have both of them in my life and it's going to have to be a careful balancing act for the next little while to make sure both get the specific attention they need. Nala and I need to get out and work to further solidify our working relationship, even if it does upset Hermione. And, I have to make sure Hermione get some individual attention, even though that is a bit hard because I'm still bonding with Nala. I knew that this wouldn't be the easy part, but I'm okay with it. Eventually, things will settle down. Hermione will soon realise that just because I leave with Nala it doesn't mean I'm not coming back. And where is Otis in all of this?
Well, this is a girls' post, but honestly, he could care less. He definitely loves me, but he's always been more bonded to Mr. K so I think that is why he's fine. He also just sees Nala as a giant play thing and puppy battles with her constantly. Hermione is slowly starting to get in on the action. I think she's finally trusting Nala not to eat her. It's just all part of life with dogs. :)