Where to start? First, I guess, with an apology! I have been feeling not-so-great lately, the flu bug seems to be flying around here… but that is no excuse for going such a long time without posting! Sawwy 😦 In other news, Georgia serves as a great bed-side nurse!
Second, with the title. I wanted to come up with something a bit more clever, but I figured that this was most appropriate.
Let’s talk about our meet and greet. I have been rolling this over & over in my head… what is the most fair and truthful way to explain our meeting? We drove about two hours with a well-exercised and squeaky clean Georgia girl on Sunday evening. I guess I should start with the positive; the family was wonderful. They lived in the country, and were practically ideal as far as adoptive families go. They were very kind, honest in their application, and eager to add a female dog to their family. They had one well-behaved young son, and a very sweet and submissive, rescued, female pittie.
What didn’t go as well? Unfortunately, Georgia’s introduction to their dog. While their dog was displaying lots of positive body language, it was clear that Georgia was nervous around her. I tried to explain Georgia’s experiences, both before the meeting, and during it. I told them how slowly we had taken introductions between our female, Gaige, and Georgia, and that while she had never gotten aggressive, she was certainly uncomfortable around her. She had lived happily with other small female dogs, but the larger, more active dogs seemed to make her nervous. I made sure to discuss proper ways to pursue a successful introduction between two dogs. While I felt like I had done my best to explain her perspective to the potential adopters, as well as ways to approach the dogs’ introductions, somehow there must have been some miscommunication. I felt like I lost control of the meeting, and the introduction between the dogs was certainly rushed past my comfort point… and obviously Georgia’s. Ugh.
Don’t let your minds run away with you. The ‘breaking point’ was honestly no big deal. Just a little bit of growling and an open mouth… Georgia was not trying to bite the other pooch, or hurt anyone, and it ended as quickly as it started. But she did make it clear, for those of us that weren’t paying attention to her more subtle signs (stiff body language, ears pinned back, straight tail, etc) that she was not comfortable.
I felt so defeated after this introduction. I felt like I had betrayed Georgia by not having more control of the meeting, and allowing it to put her in an uncomfortable position. I knew she was becoming nervous, but I didn’t want to make the adopters feel awkward. I was more concerned with being gentle with the adopters, than I was with protecting our girl’s sanity. After all she has been through, is it really that much to expect that we take intros slowly?
On the ride home, after kicking myself emotionally, Foster Dad was, as always, the voice of reason. He had said a prayer that this meeting would end with a clear outcome; either they would be the perfect fit, or they would clearly not mesh. He certainly got what he asked for! The sweet part of this whole story? We got to take our girl home! She was coming back to a safe place, and we had learned more about what would work best for her.
While this family was fabulous, I think they were looking for more of an ‘insta-fit’ dog. A dog with special needs, or that needed a slower approach to training and socialization, was probably not going to fit into their lifestyle. But that is okay! They will find a great dog to fit their requirements. However, Georgia deserves a family that understands her needs, and will not hold them against her, but look at her training as an opportunity to improve her life and their bond together.
What does all of this mean for Georgia’s future? Well, we could give her a blanket statement that says ‘good with male dogs only’. However, I don’t think that would be fair to her. Of course, she will be pretty comfortable living with a male dog. But I feel confident that given a family that understands her discomfort around females, she would assimilate successfully given slow and respectful introductions. We are going to pursue some time with a local trainer to improve her socialization skills. We are looking forward to the achievements that we know she will make! And of course, we will keep you all posted on the improvements. Thank you for being a part of her journey. We know she wants so badly to make all of us proud!