We've been dog owners for a total of two and a half months. Turkey adjusted very well. We are so thankful for this because we've heard stories of dogs who had a very hard time being separated from their first owners. Turkey spent his whole five and a half years with another family. The fact that he's been able to so quickly build trust and form attachment to our family shows how much credit his first owners deserve.
I'm learning so much.
1) My mama instincts evidently transfer to dogs I really like. I wasn't ready for this. I almost feel like I'm fostering- trying to get to know the needs of my new dependent. How are they sleeping? Eating? Is he acting differently today? Is he adjusting well? Does he need more attention? More exercise? What's the best food for him? Is he warm enough?
People. I'm scaring myself. I am NOT a dog person. I AM a Turkey-person now. That is for sure. My best guess is that I may need another real foster placement SOON.
2) Our family hikes are even more fun than they used to be. We love to hike and go for walks but we don't go nearly enough. Having a dog gives us one more reason to get out there because he needs exercise, too. The first time we took Turkey along, the girls (especially) could hardly stand it that we let him off leash. But Jamey had learned on trail runs with him that he is an awesome dog to take in the woods.
enjoying the outcropping and sunset at the top
Here's what happens. He runs way ahead on the trail, occasionally venturing into the woods. He's out of sight for a couple minutes and all of a sudden there is a streak of movement way on up ahead. He's racing back to touch base/check on us. Then, he takes off down the trail again. He checks in if the trail splits on the way out but remembers/smells the right trail on the way back. He likely covers two to three times the miles we do on any given hike and never stays out of our sight for very long.
He generally likes his blanket by prefers lying on a person.
3) Vizslas are a curious breed. They are incredibly affectionate. They can become nervous when overstimulated or frightened and show it chattering their teeth or quivering. They also chatter their teeth and quiver when they're cold (see below). It's our understanding that Turkey's parents and he were bred as hunting dogs although Turkey wasn't trained as one. Despite the lack of training, he points (nose pointing, left front leg raised and tail straight out while holding incredible still) when he discovers a hiding critter. He will hold that position until we acknowledge that we see it. If we tell him to "get it", he flushes it out and chases it but as of yet hasn't caught anything. I think he very well could if he wanted to.
under the school table
4) I now buy toys and clothes for a dog. Vizslas lose most of their heat from their chest/belly where they have the least hair. They also lack an undercoat so they can easily get cold. They have to be inside dogs because they can't handle the winter (or parts of fall and spring for that matter). When Turkey is cold, he will chatter and shiver- a sign he needs help keeping warm- even inside.
5) I am so thankful he's an adult dog. In dog years, Turkey is about Jamey and my age. He's graying around the face and likes to lay around come sun down. From what I've read Vizsla puppies have an incredible amount of energy. Videos (like this one) on youtube show how much energy these dogs have to exhaust. Turkey's five and a half years are just about perfect for us- he enjoys his regular runs with Jamey but can also be content to have a lazy afternoon lying about the house. Thank goodness.
sacked out after a long run together
6) Dog adoption and foster care seem to be related. Animals are part of God's amazing creation and are here for our enjoyment and awe just like the rest of His creation. While I know that they experience a wide range of emotions and physical pain similar to people, these characteristics (to me) point to the fact that we share the same Creator, not that we are the same.
Because of all the similarities, I can see why and how some people consider their pets as important (or more important) than the humans in their life. I hate that some animals are mistreated and abandoned and I'm glad that there are rescue centers and the SPCA to match those unwanted to good homes.
But. There are children in very similar situations that need homes, too. Pets can be easier, I know. Part of me was relieved that adopting this dog would push off our next foster placement as we got used to him and him to us. Taking on another placement is scary- I won't lie and say it isn't. But thankfully, it has made me realize that child foster care/adoption is even more important. There is another child out there waiting for us. I thought that Turkey might tempt me away from the hardness that foster care can be but instead he's reminded me how much love we're capable of and that the quality of our love can span birth children, adopted dog AND foster child. Or so I think:-).
We await God's timing and in the meantime, I'm learning how much I didn't know about dogs. It's a good thing I love to learn.Pin It