The search…

These are the dogs that Jake and I have met in the past few months.

This is Stanley.  I loved Stanley.  The reason Stanley was ultimately was not for us was because in his first life, he was chained in a basement and his new life, he was learning how much he loved to play!  Jake can’t play, his spine can’t take it. Stanley deserved a life of romping, so we (me and the rescue group) decided that he was better off in a different home.  A few weeks later, Stanley was adopted! IMG_4327

This is Norman.  Norman was awesome in just about every way.  Norman also happened to be the dog that alerted me, and our trainer (which prompted a visit with a behaviorist), that something (not so great) was going on with Jake.  Norman was in our house for four days.  Jake flipped out the entire time Norman was here.  They were separated the entire time but just knowing Norman was in the house had Jake ramming doors and gates and walls trying to get to him. Norman was terrified of Jake (hell I was terrified of Jake too). The only way I could get Jake to stop flipping out when Norman was here, was to take Norman into the garage, then take Jake upstairs (making him think Norman had left) and putting him to bed. The moment Jake woke up and sensed Norman was still here, the ramming started all over. Jake rammed and scratched so much in those four days, there was blood. I really loved Norman but Jake being unable to come down at all made me realize that we still had some work to do.  Norman got adopted the day after his visit here ended!  IMG_4500


This is dog #3.  I can’t even recall his name! We met this (type of) dog on the recommendation of our behaviorist.  To set Jake up with a Melvin like dog (light-colored and soft looking).  Jake actually did ok with this dog on our meet walk but not so much when we neared our house.  Either way, I didn’t feel like this dog was right for me and he didn’t have a ton of patience for nice-Jake so he was probably not going to love not-so-nice Jake.


And finally, Gus.  To this day, Gus not being here haunts me.  Jake bit Gus twice (within the same 4-5 seconds)(and even though Jake has worn down teeth and didn’t leave a mark, poor Gus yelped both times).  This was another situation where had Jake calmed down AT ALL while Gus was here, I would have adopted Gus and made it work. But Jake foamed and flipped and rammed doors and walls and furniture the entire time Gus was in our house. Until you have been in a situation where you cannot calm your dog down for hours upon hours, you don’t know how alarming it can feel.  (sidenote: Gus was adopted!)IMG_6044

I know many of you are thinking, it takes time.  And I wholeheartedly agree with you.  Jake and Melvin were separated for two weeks to start and Jake was then on tie down for two additional weeks.  And I’m willing to separate for as long as it takes.  But when I tell you that Jake can’t calm down, I’m putting it mildly.  He is like a wild, rabid, caged animal when these dogs are in our house.  I had trainers come over and asses him. I talked to behaviorists that told me even in extreme cases where a dog reacts, they eventually do calm down (even if they re-escalate later). Jake’s reaction is more stuck on loop, of reacting. If Jake had lunged the crate or the gate but then went and laid down, and then rammed the crate, and then went and laid down, I would have ten dogs by now!

I don’t know what happened between Melvin and now, but my guess is that, Melvin was more to Jake than just a brother.  I think as Jake’s mobility continued to fail, he still felt safe with Melvin. He does not seem as confident now. I believe Jake can find that again but I’m not sure what the path to that looks like for us. There are others that feel that he may not find it again, that as his mobility fails, Jake changes. At the end of the day, it’s Jake’s safety I worry about, he can barely stand up, so any altercation that might be brought on by him would result in his own injury.  I also worry about Jake’s mental state when a dog is here. You know the kid in Target who has a meltdown because they are tired and hungry and can’t have everything in the toy section?  They are flailing and screaming and arching their back to get out of the cart and the parent would give anything for it not to be happening or for their child to not feel inconsolable.  That is Jake, the entire time a dog is here.

I think you guys know that I am willing to go a pretty far distance for my dogs.  And had Melvin and Jake had an issue where living separate lives became a necessity, I would have done that. For them.  But I’m not in that mindset (crate and rotate forever) at this point for Jake and a new dog.  And all signs so far have suggested that is good possibility with the dogs we have met. To those of you that eternally crate and rotate…I stand in awe of you.

We are still working on this!  Mostly because, I’m feeling a bit selfish —  I couldn’t need another dog more. But family is about compromise.  So we shall see. And I share this with you so that you know what our path looks like.  Even though Jake and I are on the same journey, sometimes we take different routes to our destination.




21 thoughts on “The search…

    • Girls are on the list! We have met girl dogs outside of the house and he’s done pretty good. If we could find a Melvin looking girl, I think we’d be onto something. Working on that.

  1. Poor Jake and his demons. 🙁
    I know that the need for another dog can be consuming but I guess maybe just like Jake knew something was going on with Melvin, perhaps he knows the time (or dog) just isn’t right yet.
    Hugs to you.

    • Thank you! It’s so funny you say that. Pre-Jake, Melvin and I met a dog named Zelda and I was so torn about adopting her. Something just didn’t feel right and I couldn’t reconcile it so we did not adopt her. I just found out this weekend that she died of cancer, two months after Melvin did. She was loved and in a great home.

  2. You are doing the right thing. I had a similarly obsessive foster dog (with other dogs, not Rufus) and it was exhausting. She would get amped up and it would become impossible to calm her down. I can’t imagine how I would feel if she had been my own ….that’s a whole new game! I know you’ll find a second pup, but you’re a good mom for taking your time and always putting Jake first. I would do the same for Rufus.

    • Love you! It’s been nice hearing that others have experienced this ‘on reacting loop’ experience (it sucks that it happens but misery loves knowing we ain’t cray!). We will figure it out. We always do!

  3. Awwww… I’m so sorry. That’s definitely a tough one, and I could never do the crate and rotate thing either. I’m to stubborn, either we work it out or I don’t bring the dog home due to a bad match (fosters in our case). It seems to take Ziva a day or so to settle around a new dog, not to the extent of Jake but this current round of fosters was way harder on her than normal – I think due to their anxiety issues (she really hates unstable dogs).

    I hope you find a happy middle ground, in the mean time keep working on Jake! You’re doing great! <3 <3

  4. I am hoping that you are able to find a friend for Jake that he’ll accept! It will take time, but I think there’s a match out there for him somewhere!! I am so thankful that when I adopted Rico, Mabel accepted him without much issue (there was a lot of looking at me like – is he really staying!!??). I hope that you will find the magic match when the time is right!!

  5. Aw, it hurts to hear how badly Jake is taking to the new dogs you bring around.. but on the flip side, I’m glad there are happy stories for the dogs being adopted shortly after. Hopefully with time, Jake will find a friend who is the perfect fix, the missing puzzle piece to completing with your family.

  6. I’m so grateful to you for sharing your journey with us on finding your new family member. Trouble spots and all. I’m so sad to hear about how stressful this endeavor has been for Jake, but am glad to hear that you’re being so mindful of and responsive to his needs, while also considering the welfare of the adoptables.

    I hope Jake gets to a place where he can tolerate and enjoy a canine sibling, for your sake as much as his! You’re always looking out for the best interests of your pups and have the best heart though. I know your new family member is out there…you and Jake have just yet to meet him (or her).

  7. I’m so sorry for how stressful this has been on both of you. I wish I had some words of wisdom to share. It sounds like you’re doing everything right. Trust yourself, and trust Jake. You two will figure it out together, I’m sure! In the meantime, big hugs headed your way!

  8. I can only imagine how challenging – and, let’s be honest, traumatic – this has been for you. BUT you and Jake do seem to be the “Good Luck Chuck” of the adoption world! The face of Norman… I don’t know how I could have said goodbye to him. I know you made the best decisions for all involved, don’t doubt yourself! PS- Kingston isn’t quite as persistent as Jake, but he too is incredibly reactive when ‘new’ comes into our house. I feel your pain.

Leave a Reply