in Checking In

Highlights of 2020: Abbott and Tobin join the family

Abbott and Tobin  play tug-of-war

Abbott and Tobin

It was hard losing our last dog, Rocket. He went downhill quickly and we beat ourselves up questioning whether we had let him suffer too long. Someone once described owning a dog as an “emotional time bomb” and I agree. You invest so much love and affection in your pet to the point where you may take it for granted. But the bomb is always ticking and when it goes off it can really hurt. It took a while to get over the pain and consider getting another critter.

In February 2020, we began to get the itch to get another dog. One neighbor friend works with rescues and brought over one pup she was trying to home. While we chatted in the backyard, this dog went tearing around the yard, following the scent of our porch cat. The dog never paid any attention to us! I could tell this wasn’t the dog for us so we politely declined.

Then Kelly mentioned a neighbor friend had two dogs she was looking to home. The neighbor runs a kennel a.k.a. “pet spa” and had acquired the dogs from another kennel where the foster group seemed to abandon them. We set up an opportunity for the neighbor to bring them over so we could decide. Once again we chatted while getting to know the dogs, only this time they were friendly and interested in us! We laughed as they went tearing around, chasing each other around our backyard.

“This is progress!” I thought. We agreed to keep them over the weekend. That was March first and they have never left.

We weren’t in the market for TWO dogs. It never even crossed our minds. One dog was enough to handle, after all. But these boys, rescues who were named Abbott and Toby, had had some trauma and had spent the past 9-12 months in the same kennel. On our first walks with them, if one got out of sight of the other the first would slam on brakes and look longingly for his companion. It was clear that if they came with us they would have to come as a team.

So we got the set! It’s been great. Their phobias are slowly melting away, Toby soon became Tobin and has now largely mastered house training. They motivate Kelly and me to take them for twice-daily neighborhood walks and provide entertainment as the wrestle each other on the floor. Tobin still occasionally growls unprovoked when we encounter a dog on our walks and he gets obsessed with barking at the dogs in the yard behind ours but we’re slowly working on better behavior.

Being hounds, they also instinctively howl when a fire truck rolls by. This is problem since we live less than a mile away from a fire station. This is cute in the daytime and supremely frustrating at night! Eventually I hit upon setting up a nighttime noisemaker which has greatly stopped the early-morning howling but it isn’t perfect. Occasionally, Abbott will start howling in his sleep and then Tobin joins in! No noisemaker can keep these pups from dreaming about sirens, unfortunately!

They can be a handful but the dogs bring joy to our family. They’ve helped make the quarantine so much more fun!