Getting a dog from a rescue

Hopefully you will have read my last three posts about getting a dog from a rescue.

We have now had Ellie for five whole days! Oh yes that’s probably the first thing I should address. If you have ever thought whether you can change a dogs name you might relate. We decided that she is such a pretty little girl that she deserves a prettier name. There is nothing wrong with the name Nelly and it suits many dogs I see, but it just didn’t really seem to suit her. Because of this, it just felt weird calling her it. So, after much discussion, deliberation and ‘overthinking stress’ oh and a day of calling her it to see if she would respond, we decided to call her Ellie. Personally I think it is a really pretty name and also – importantly – phonetically it is not massively different to Nelly so it won’t be a complete surprise when we call her or speak to her. I am using the name Ellie every time I talk to her so she realises it is her I am talking to, also every time I praise her it’s “good girl Ellie” rather than just good girl so she will associate the name with happy memories and happy times hopefully. If you use your dogs name a lot when talking to them they will realise it’s their name.

I am so so happy with how she has settled in, especially considering she has only spent five whole days here so far (6 nights) it’s quite incredible how it just feels like she belongs. I’m not going to paint everything in a perfect picture, because obviously there are going to be a few things we need to work on.

The major thing we need to work on is the fact that she chases our cat at every opportunity. It is quite possible that she just wants to play with her but if that is the case, our cat doesn’t understand that and I think we need to give it a bit longer. The rescue did tell us that they didn’t know what she would be like with a cat but generally a cat will put the dog in it’s place if the cat was there first. That is exactly what happened when we got Duke. He was a bouncy 12 week old springer puppy and our cat Pepsi, who has now passed over to Rainbow Bridge, and Millie (aged 12 and 10 at the time) gave him a swipe every time he went near them and he soon learnt that they really couldn’t be bothered with a silly puppy running round in circles every time they were near. Eventually he stopped and actually he and Pepsi used to lie down fairly close to each other and now Millie, who is quite a reserved cat, will walk straight past him or jump over him if he is in her way! So cats and dogs can get along and live in harmony in a house together. It’s a funny thing but perhaps it seemed easier because being a puppy he was so much smaller. Ellie is much bigger so maybe I am being a bit over protective of Millie and perhaps I should take a step back and just let her put Ellie in her place. Ellie kept running up the stairs at every opportunity so we have bought a stair gate to at least give Millie her personal space upstairs. Millie has been swiping Ellie when she chases her but then she runs away and Ellie – not getting the message – is chasing her. Any advice from any of you? If you have had this problem I would really appreciate hearing how you sorted it out.

I would honestly say that is the most troublesome problem. We do have other teething problems but nothing unusual for a puppy or a rescue dog or in fact a rescue puppy! We are talking things like pinching shoes or slippers and running off with them. Why are dogs obsessed with socks. She also constantly sniffs around on the floor looking for something to eat – no doubt as a consequence of not being fed regularly and having to find her own food. Hopefully she will get to realise that she is getting fed twice a day, at about the same time, so she doesn’t have to worry. We bought a baby bath and tried to get some of the staining off her fur, it is reduced but she will need a few more baths I think. She was jumping up on the settees all the time but in such a short time has learnt that we don’t like her on the furniture so she is a fast learner.

She is learning that it is a good game to chase a ball when it is thrown for her and that if she drops it by a human they will throw it again for her. It was a beautiful day yesterday and I spent a lot of time with her and Duke in the garden, playing with the ball – we should buy shares in Kong tennis balls or Chuck-it balls I think!! It was so lovely watching them actually playing themselves without me having to get involved too. They were playing chasing games where one would chase the other up and down the garden and then they would swap who was the chaser! They have both been wagging their tails a lot and it is wonderful to see!

In the evenings her and Duke lay next to each other at our feet so I would say so far everything is going brilliantly. We want her to be as happy as Duke, at the moment she still puts her head down, you know like how you feel when you’re feeling a bit down and your shoulders kind of go down, bless her she does that but hopefully we will help her get enthusiasm, a feeling of knowing she is loved and being completely contented and happy like she deserves. I am sure we will get there – a couple of times we have even caught her smiling!

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