You never can tell how they’ll turn out.
Once my friend had welcomed Janie to come live with her and her husband, an “orientation meeting” is set up. This will give Janie a chance to acquaint herself with the sights, sounds, and smells of her new home, and to leave her, uh, mark on the property. Then when move-in day arrives, it will be easier if she’s already familiar with the territory. Plus . . . Janie needs to meet her new canine housemate . . .
The tall, dark, and handsome Romeo!
Romeo cuts quite an imposing figure.
He’s a big boy, over twice Janie’s size, at about 87 pounds. His lineage is unknown . . .
German Shepherd? Rottweiller? Doberman?
Possibly some of that ubiquitous, unofficial breed known as “Georgia Black Dog?” Who knows! And who cares!
Like I said, he’s big. My friend assures me Romeo is a sweetheart. He’s actually quite shy, and the loss of his one-and-only buddy, Shadow, who died this past year, has intensified his fears.
Of course, we’re thinking . . .
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Janie becomes his new best-buddy and fills the void left by Shadow!
I pull out the box of dog harnesses and leashes.
Pandemonium breaks out as Janie and the crew figure we’re going to Florida again. I clearly point out we’re not. “Spikey, NO” and “Bridget, NO.” The two of them skulk away to pout under the computer desk. I fasten the harness on Janie. As I start up the PTV with Janie expectantly beside me, I hear the usual guilt-trip chorus of howls from inside the house.
What a huge, lovely, country home and yard my friend has!
Romeo comes from around the wooden fence, barking his deep-toned, ferocious bark. I leave Janie in the PTV and slowly approach Romeo, talking softly. There’s thirty feet between us. Suddenly he runs to hide behind the fence!
Janie jumps out to the ground with her usual enthusiasm.
She sniffs, marks, and confidently lets me lead her into the house. She proceeds to walk all over the place with tail wagging, smells Romeo’s food, and drinks out of his water dish like it’s her own. A gray and white cat raises his back with hair sticking up. Janie doesn’t even acknowledge him. Once her curiosity is satisfied, she lies down, legs splayed, so her belly rests on the cool, stone tiles of the foyer floor.
Meanwhile, Romeo comes into the next room via the back door.
He lets rip the fiercest series of barks he can muster. His head is less than five feet from Janie, above the barrier placed across the doorway. She makes a few attempts to greet his barking face, but I hold her back. Romeo may be a tender-hearted soul, but I’m thinking . . . His protective territorial instinct could leap out. Succulent, rotund little Janie wouldn’t even see it coming.
My friend calmly strokes Romeo, telling him it’s all right.
Janie is bored with his whole act. After she’s ignored him for a while, Romeo quietly goes upstairs, not to be heard from again the entire visit. My friend and I scarf down some cake topped with strawberries and whipped cream. All the while, Janie naps serenely at our feet.
We agree that Romeo is going to need time to adjust.
The two dogs will be separated by the barrier until he’s used to her being around. He needs a lot of reassurance that he’s still numero uno. Friendships aren’t made in a day.
Janie and I climb back into the PTV and head home.
Well, not the most romantic first date, but it’s a start!