Today we had a wonderful and exciting opportunity to meet a quartet of handsome young dogs that are available for rehoming!
All are withdrawn (read: failed) Guide Dogs, for minor behavioural issues...all are 15-24 months old...none have quite reached the very high bar required to become a Guide Dog, and none are quite suitable for other service work.
But all are potentially perfect as pets.
Having applied to rehome a young dog, as one of several avenues we've explored for finding a new dog (and our preferred route, all things said), we were invited to meet a few young males that seemed to suit our requirements.
We had a long conversation about the dogs, and more importantly, what we could offer to them...the conversation went very well, and I think both parties felt that we are all on a similar wavelength in our attitudes and ethics...
In any case, I think we passed muster, and will therefore be offered the opportunity to take one (or two?!) of these dogs as new members of our family, should we choose to.
Dog # 1
The handsome chap above - let's call him Batman (all names changed to protect the innocent!) - was our first suitor. He is 2 years old, and a Labrador/Golden Retriever Cross...this is a popular cross breed for service dogs, and they are sometimes referred to as Golden Labradors, Goldadors, or even Glabs(?!)...
He has been rehomed before, and has one or two issues...notably, he guards food, and eats poo! He's smart, somewhat independent, and something of a Top Dog...he has a quiet confidence, that can sometimes lead him to challenge his owner.
He's fine in pretty much all other respects, and he has a lovely, smiley energy about him that I really liked.
Dog # 2
Roddy (again, not his real name!) was the second dog we met. He was pure Yellow Lab, around 16 months old, and to be honest, a little odd. He was by turns bouncy and energetic, then disinterested and distracted.
He has some digestive issues at the moment which means he's on a special diet, and so won't be available for a few weeks yet.
He was nice, and we had one or two little moments of interaction with him, but overall our feeling was, sadly, that we didn't really click immediately...this wouldn't necessarily preclude working on it and building a bond with him, but we are in the luxurious position of having a variety of options...which leads us to:
Dog # 3
Nigel(!), is the prettiest of all of them. He is a Goldador, very young at only around 15 months, and still with an air of puppyness about him. He was very lively and energetic when he first greeted us, but after a while calmed down nicely.
I found him very sweet and seductive, and I must admit to having a little crush on him from the off...
He has had little to no training (although a lot of brilliant socialising, of course), and would require some work...but oh boy, was he cute?!
Dog # 4
Our final dog, Saturn, was, quite simply, Bluez in a slightly larger, yellower body.
A little standoffish, but with hints of a strong inner warmth...quiet but intelligent, and fairly low energy.
We were with him for about 20 minutes, and for most of them he didn't pay us much attention...but with 10 minutes left on the clock, he made his move, and started slowly circling Anna, giving her the lovely slow wag and smiley mouth...
He just drew her in, snuck under her skin, and gave her a good tug on the heart strings...
So, what to do?!
Do we want one or two? Which two? At the same time, or staggered? Which first?
In a late twist, a spanner was thrown into the works in the shape of an Irish Water Spaniel/Black Labrador cross...a 5 year old bitch, which is apparently the best dog ever and would suit us down to the ground, and which we'd immediately love if we met, is also available...
I won't go into the endless machinations we've been through since leaving there around 8 hours ago...but I'll tell you where we are going from here.
Firstly, we are going to offer a forever home to Batman...there are many reasons for this decision, and this is one of them...
After about 20 minutes where he'd bimbled around and we'd had some nice interactions, he came and lay down with one paw over my foot. After a few minutes he rolled over, wedged his head against my ankle, and dozed off...
This is a dog I can bond with!
We think he will make a lovely, solid member of our little pack, and we're happy to help him work on his one or two little issues. We're hopeful that they'll ease away as he settles into a relaxed, stimulating home life with us.
Roddy isn't immediately available, and has current dietary issues, so we passed on him.
Unfortunately, it turned out that there are question marks over Nigel's suitability to live in a multi-dog household, and this really is a show-stopper for us - we are always going to have more than one dog in our home...so with a pang of regret, we had to cross him off the list too.
Saturn could really work, and there is some thought that he could benefit from living with another dog. Anna has quite a soft spot for him. I find that he constantly reminds me of Bluez...and I'm not sure whether that's a good thing or bad!
Also we feel it would only make sense to meet this spaniel/lab X, and then we think we'll choose between her and Saturn, if we still think we can make it work well with two, and assuming Batman is settling in happily.
So we're hoping to pick him up this Thursday, which will be his 2nd birthday, and the day before Anna's birthday too.
We will try to arrange to see the other dogs then, and see where we go from there.
In any case, we're very happy and excited, and I'm sure you'll hear much more in the coming days...