Amber went home to her forever family yesterday. It was emotional and heartwarming – and more than a little bittersweet – for all of us. I have grown so attached to that sweet little furball…
The leash hand-over took place at a nearby park. The plan was to start out with all of us walking together, and then have Amber and her family head back to their home. I would drive over there to meet them. Amber had no problem following her new family and new big brother. In fact, from what I saw as I watched them moving away, she was having the time of her life, and so was her family.
Once at the family’s home, we began the process of integrating Amber. To ensure that she didn’t get overwhelmed – and to prevent any possible potty accidents [she’s still not completely house-broken] – baby gates were placed at specific points to give her freedom of movement in the kitchen as well as access to water. Amber’s new dad kept her busy by playing with her while I showed her new mom the feeding ritual Amber best responded to.
Feeding Amber proved to be a bit of a struggle at first, because Amber had no “place” position to go to. So mom got a mat , and I showed her what to do. Amber quickly got the idea, and inside of a minute, she was on the mat and eating her supper. When she was finished, I told mom to pick up the mat and put it away – because it’s carpet, and Amber is still using carpet as a potty place, and because she needs to learn that when the mat is down, it’s time to eat.
After Amber finished eating, she played for a few minutes, had a drink, and then dad took her out to their back yard for a potty. A good 15 minutes went by before he called up that Amber was not doing her business. Mom said it might be because there’s no grass in the back, and I said yes, Amber would only “go” on grass. The idea was put forward about getting some artificial turf for her, but in the meantime, take her to the front of the house, which has a lot of grass.
After dad brought her back inside and they both warmed up a bit, it was time to introduce Amber to the kennel. It’s a wire kennel, not an enclosed kennel like mine, so it was important to take our time and show her that it was a safe place for her. I’d brought the bone she liked to chew on, so mom put that into the new bed in the kennel, and we began crate training.
Amber was initially very uncertain about and even a little fearful of the new kennel. This was completely understandable; the only thing with her scent on it was the bone. And it’s half again as big as mine. She wasn’t at all certain about it. But, slowly, patiently, and calmly, we worked with her until she felt less stressed about going into or coming out of it.
When it was time for me to take my leave, I had dad take Amber out to the back yard so she wouldn’t see me leaving. I wanted this homecoming to be as pleasant and positive an experience as possible for Amber and for her new forever family.
Mom contacted me this morning to tell me that Amber slept through the night, and that she pottied this morning when they took her outside. She said things were going great with Amber so far, and that Amber is adapting very well. That made my heart really happy; Amber is such a sweet, loving little girl. She deserves all the love and happiness in the world.
I wish Amber and her new family a lifetime of adventure, joy, cuddles, and all the wonderful things life has to offer. I also want to thank them for trusting me with her and for continuing to trust me as we begin the process of full training with her. It’s going to be an amazing journey for all of them, and I’m honored to have been chosen to help them experience it.
Have a great day, and remember: Stay calm, and lead on.