|It's Marla! She's a little camera shy.|
Just last month, we had to say a tearful, heart-wrenching good bye to our long time family dog, Cleo. It was hard, so very hard. Chris and I decided to give ourselves a good year or so before we started thinking about a new dog for our family. However...we also both felt strongly that we would not go looking for a dog, but rather let the right dog find us. After all, that's what happened with our previous pets and they all turned out to be pretty awesome.
So, about that. Chris was at work one day in a client's home and met their dog, Marla. Marla really took to him, and soon he found out that his clients were not planning on keeping her. They had fairly recently adopted her (about 4-5 months ago) and she wasn't getting along very well with their other dog. Chris texted me a picture, with a half-joking comment about the dog wanting to come home with him.
I showed the picture of the dog, a redbone coonhound, to Connor, who immediately said, "that's the kind of dog I want!" You see, he had just finished reading Where the Red Fern Grows. Guess who stars in Where the Red Fern Grows? Two redbone coonhounds, that's who. (If you haven't read it, you should!)
Haha. That's a really strange coincidence, Connor, too bad we're not getting a dog until next year.
But Chris kept in contact with Marla's family. They seriously were not keeping her. She needed a home. After a lot of back and forth, they told him that she could stay the night at our house so we could see how we all got along.
Haha. As soon as I agreed to this "sleepover" I was done for. Once Marla came into our home, there was no way we were letting her go. Last week Chris signed the adoption papers. We are doggy parents once again!
A little about Marla. She's approximately 4 years old, although no one is really certain. She was rescued from a pet hoarder's home, where she was kept in a cage for (an estimated) two years. After that she went into a foster home before being adopted by her previous family. She's been through a lot, but despite her crazy past she is remarkably well-behaved.
From the start I loved the idea of a fully-trained adult dog. Puppies are super cute and sweet, but I could do without the chewing and the potty training. Cleo was the best, most gentle dog, but we all agreed that we wanted our next pooch to be more energetic and playful. Marla is most definitely full of energy. Her breed needs a lot of exercise and activity, and we are finding 2-3 walks a day, a couple of car rides, and a daily dose of rambunctious tug-of-war is keeping her marginally entertained.
Being a coonhound, Marla has quite a nose on her. Because of her remarkable sense of smell, she can sometimes lose touch of everything else as she tries following a scent. She must always be leashed, and it will be quite awhile before Lucy and Mathilda are strong enough to walk her. We were happy that she'd have our decent sized yard to run around and play, but the first day she was with us we discovered that she is quite adept at climbing fences. She also likes to bolt out the front door. In a week, she's escaped four times. Until we can get a privacy fence, she's going to have to be restrained to a tether while she's outside.
We've only ever had puppies before, so bringing a full-size adult dog into our family has been a different experience. Marla has been great, but we're still in the adjustment period. She was allowed to go on furniture in her last home, but that's not the case here, so we're working on breaking that habit. Her running away might be as much to do with being in a new home as it is to do with her breed. She pulls a lot while we're walking her, and she doesn't always listen to us (again, part of this is likely connected to her breed - they are known for losing touch with everything except the scent they're following). But all things considered, I really can't believe how good she is. She doesn't jump, she doesn't bark too much, and most importantly, she is friendly and sweet with everyone.
The kids are thrilled to have a new canine companion. Bethany and Connor have been walking her most days, and everyone is giving her lots of attention and affection as she adjusts to her new home. They are particularly excited that most nights she sleeps upstairs with them, something that Cleo would never do. I can't imagine how confusing this must be for Marla, but I am impressed with her flexibility and resilience. I know this isn't what I had planned, but sometimes the unexpected turns out to be just the thing you didn't know you needed until you had it.
Welcome, Marla. Already you are deeply rooted in our hearts, and we look forward to many fun and happy years with you!