It is not really known what Black Jack is or where it came from. He’s just a 14-pound black puppy with poor social skills. He was transferred from another foster home that couldn’t keep him because he was too energetic for the other foster homes who were too old to want to put up with a young dog. He and my chihuahua started playing right away and it was obvious they would be friends.
I started him walking twice a day as he was said to be very energetic. Turns out he’s never actually been out for a walk and I nearly lost him when he slipped down his neck to escape a charging Lab. Our next trip was to the pet supply store to buy him a harness. I had to take him inside because his collar was obviously too loose and I had no idea how he would react. He did well in the shop and I used his training room to try the harness on him so he couldn’t get away from me.
We took several walks after that. He was afraid of the barking of the dogs, of the vehicles and of the people passing by. But as time passed, he learned not to be so afraid. It was clear that he had never been properly introduced to the different things and that he really didn’t know how he was supposed to react. I found out he had a really mean sounding bark when the doorbell rang and he was definitely scared of our two hunting labs. Good thing he was house trained and only had one accident on the mat and that was my fault for not getting him out sooner.
I was interested to see how my little chihuahua would react to having another dog in the house and he seemed happy from the start. I would jump on Black Jack from the sofa. He would chase him around the house and all the sudden toys he hadn’t touched in a year were exactly what he wanted when Black Jack had them. At one point I thought I had two spoiled children in the house with me when Black Jack became more and more relaxed and my chihuahua became more and more like a big brother. Black Jack started playing as rough with Leon as Leon was playing with him and that angered 5lb Leon. So I had to referee every game session until Black Jack learned not to play too hard and Leon learned not to ask.
When that was resolved, Leon decided that the Kong he had bought for him two years ago and never played with was suddenly his favorite toy when Black Jack began to show some interest in him. Leon would wait until Black Jack got distracted and stole the Kong from him. So, Black Jack started growling at Leon when he had Leon’s Kong so that it wouldn’t be stolen. Again, I had to step in to make sure that Black Jack understood that growling was wrong and that Leon knew that all the toys are actually MINE and that you can both take them away from him.
As he tried to teach Black Jack not to bark at every noise he heard, Leon seemed to goad him and barked just the same. At one point, both were placed in their kennels to “think about what they did.” I don’t know if it worked, but at least I had some peace and quiet for half an hour.
After two weeks, Black Jack becomes less fearful and more socialized. He is barking less and playing with Leon as if they have always known each other. I know that one day soon he will be adopted by a family who will love and care for him. They will take you on long walks every day and help you deal with your insecurities. I know that adoption by a good family is the ultimate happy ending for him. But I can’t help but wonder if they really love him like I do. I have to believe they will.
Because when he goes to his forever home, our house will be wounded with another foster riddled with his own problems and quirks. And we will love them and teach them how to be a good dog so that someone adopts a happy and well-adjusted dog forever.