I once knew someone whose dog got stressed out and sick if his owner rearranged the furniture. Poor A.J. has been through a lot more than that, but my little boy is a real trooper! Here’s his latest story:
At age 1 A.J. was taken to the shelter by his first family. He was transferred to another shelter, which is where I found him. I brought him home, and after a few rough patches we all settled in and got comfortable with each other. I wasn’t working, so most days I spent almost 24 hours with A.J. We were inseparable and (most of the time) we both liked it that way. We went through tons of training together. We took long walks. We went to the park. We went to dog-themed events. We installed a dog door so A.J. could come and go into the fenced yard whenever he wanted, which was often. We had all settled in to a pretty comfortable routine, and A.J. felt secure in his home.
Then…I got a job. Not only that, but I got a job out of town. The day I was offered the job, the packing boxes came out. As boxes began to pile in the hallway, A.J. started to worry. He got a little more clingy than usual, and we could tell he was uneasy. But after a couple of weeks the boxes became a fixture and he settled down.
Then I left.
I had to move for work and live in hotels for a few weeks before everything was ready for A.J. and Greg to come over. I’m not sure who this was harder on, A.J. or me. (Greg was fine.) I kept busy at work and was home for a day each weekend. Greg was determined to keep A.J. from missing me: they took many very long walks and spent hours at the park. We were both doing pretty well, and while always very happy to see me, A.J. didn’t seem too traumatized each time I had to leave him again. (Although, while he came to the airport to pick me up, we never brought him to the airport when I left. I don’t think either one of us would have done well with that.)
After three weeks, Greg brought him over for good. He had to stay in a tiny hotel room for a week. Greg stayed for a few days, then A.J. and I were in the hotel on our own for a couple of days while Greg went back to oversee the move. It was an interesting few days. We had to try to keep A.J. from barking at every single sound outside our door. He terrified the poor housekeeper at one point. She came to the door, and when I opened it A.J., misbehaving terribly, walked out to greet her. She started screaming, I apologized and called A.J. back in. She calmed down a little and tried to explain her reaction; I nodded sympathetically but all I understood was “perro.” The next day we checked out and moved into our new home.
A.J. immediately loved it. Well, he loved his yard. There are bushes to crawl behind, and trees with squirrels in them. The inside of the house wasn’t as much fun. The entire downstairs has hardwood floors, and dogs are not made to sit on hardwood floors. He kept trying to sit, and would always quickly slide to the floor. We finally put a rug down to help him out. Now he crams himself into little spots where the hardwood floor is exposed because the floor is cooler there.
We’ve been in the new house for over a month now. A.J. has gotten used to me leaving for work each day, and still sticks to me like Velcro whenever I’m home. He and Greg are still going for long walks every day. The best part about the area we’ve move to is how dog-friendly it is. On weekends the three of us walk down to get coffee and donuts. (No coffee for A.J., but Greg gives him way too much donut.) The day the temperatures his 100 degrees we took A.J. to an off-leash park right on the river. He got to swim in the river and roll in the mud along the shaded shoreline. He couldn’t have been happier.
Through all the turmoil, my little guy has adapted beautifully! I’m very, very proud of him. And I’m very glad that he’s still my happy boy.