Our miniature poodle Dory has been with us for seven years now. It’s hard to believe that there was a time when I feared that, given a choice, she wouldn’t want to stay with us. She was so attached to her previous owner that I wasn’t sure she would ever really bond with us. There were several good reasons for my fear.
Dory was already four years old when we first met her. Her owner, Suzi, had decided not to breed her and needed to find her a good home. As a concientious breeder, she has her dogs’ DNA tested for problem genes, so it’s no surprise that she’s as careful about placing her dogs as she is about their pedigrees.
We first met Dory during a visit of a few hours, during which Dory was glued to Suzi’s side. She only came near us to timidly take treats. The rest of the time, she looked at us suspiciously from her place by Suzi. We came away from that meeting wondering if she would ever be happy with anyone else.
Then Suzi came to our house to see where Dory would be living. After more conversations, we finally got the word that we could adopt Dory. She sat in my lap shaking for the entire hour-long drive home, but within a few days, she settled down and grew used to us.
Suzi and I kept in touch via email. I made sure to let her know how Dory was doing, because I knew how much she loved this dog. Not only was Dory the first champion she had ever bred, but Dory is a sweet and attentive dog. It would be hard not to adore her.
I also knew that Suzi wanted to visit us and see how Dory was doing for herself, but we both had the same fear. Dory had been so attached to Suzi that if she saw her again, she might expect to go home with her. We put the visit off month after month, giving Dory time to really settle in. At last the day came and I was nervous. I’d come to love this affectionate poodle and was afraid I would lose her.
Within seconds of seeing Suzi, Dory was dancing around her wildly. There was no question that she recognized her. She was so excited to see her. I watched in trepidation. Would Dory forget all about me? I didn’t know what to expect.
Suzi had some puppies with her, so we took all the dogs into the back yard to play. Dory came up to us several times, but I couldn’t tell if she was showing any preference for Suzi over me.
Once the puppies were tired, we came in for tea. As I carried the cups into the living room and we both sat down, I knew that the moment had finally come. What would Dory do? Would she jump into Suzi’s lap? Sit by her instead of me? I didn’t know what to expect and our future really depended on Dory’s next actions.
To my astonishment and delight, Dory only thought about it for a moment before she came and curled up next to me. I could see from Suzi’s face that she was as relieved as I was. Here was proof that she’d found the right home for her beloved dog, and it came from the best source possible: Dory herself.
I still tear up thinking about that day. I knew I was giving Dory the best home I could, but there was no telling how she would feel seeing her old owner again. I knew I was lucky to get to share my life with this loving little dog, but I didn’t know she felt the same way until she made it crystal clear on that day.