Yesterday was Byzou’s first day with us. It started quite well. We arrived home from the breeder’s pet-supply store and he immediately ran around our yard on a leash, did his business, and then we went for a long walk to the nearby park with the dog-run where he could run loose. He sniffed the neighborhood like a bloodhound on the way to the park and back, stopping occasionally to mark his territory. We were very encouraged.
Once home though, things went pretty sour. After a few minutes sniffing inside, he let it be known that it was time to go home. When we didn’t respond to his nudging, he planted himself by the front door and wouldn’t let anyone go near him. He would growl and bare his teeth if we approached. He wouldn’t eat, he wouldn’t drink, he wouldn’t let us put a leash on him to take him out. The breeder advised that we ignore him, which we did.
This morning, waking up early, I went towards my office which is near the front entrance. He was still there, now almost 18 hours since his last pee, glaring and growling at me. My wife tried to take him out, but at the first sign of the leash he started to growl and show his teeth. We had already agreed that this was a deal-breaker. A dog won’t starve himself to death, but if you can’t take him out without getting bitten, it’s pretty much game over. The breeder had already agreed to come and get him this morning if things continued on this wrong track; we were supposed to call her at 7:45 AM.
At 6:45 my wife and I sat down to have our coffee. I must say we were both pretty depressed by the situation. My wife looked over at him lying by the front door and wistfully said to me: “He has one hour to make a complete change of attitude before we call the breeder…it doesn’t look good”.
Fifteen minutes later, Byzou shows up at my wife’s elbow, obviously looking for chow. We feed him an apple by hand. His mood improves. My wife puts kibble in his bowl in the kitchen and he eats it. He comes over to each of us to be petted. A few minutes later, my wife suggest a walk and he doesn’t fight the leash. They go out three times. All of a sudden he’s coming over for pets and running around the house. Complete change of attitude in record time.
So, now we go back to the original plan: On Tuesday morning we update the breeder and make the decision as to how well he’s adapting. Clearly, Byzou is going through the classical stages of mourning the loss of his loved ones, just like humans do. He’s already gone through the first four – denial, anger, bargaining, and depression – in his first day. Now comes the most critical one of all: Acceptance.
He came, he saw….not sure if he’s conquered or left yet.