He has a home now.

I can see the transition in Doug from ‘am I a guest here’ to ‘I’m home’. It started with his ability to stop backpacking me lay down and snuggle and it continues in other ways. Every day with him, I’m reminded of the same exact settling-in trajectory that Melvin had.

Doug knows the dance. He knows the waltz of the morning, he knows the jam that I go into the office most of the day and he can do what he wants. He knows how to boogie to the different doors for ‘walk’ or ‘potty’. He comes when called.

In the past couple of weeks, when I go into the office, he heads up to the big bed and naps. Exactly what Melvin used to do.

What? I’m working too. img_2232

He is also more aware of what is going on outside.  He now goes from window to window protecting the house.  Exactly what Melvin used to do.

I will protect you mother. 


You know that hypothetical we often talk about, whether our dogs would protect us if someone broke in (or am I the only one who does that?). I always knew, 100% that Jake would lay on the couch and watch the break-in unfold. I’m sure part of that was his mobility and that he had for the most part, accepted his limitations. In his mind, he had faith that if I was abducted or knocked unconscious, I would have had a back-up plan for him to be fed (I did). As for Melvin, I was never really sure.  I mostly thought that he would be excited to see anyone and that even if I was afraid, he would just wiggle and wag.  From time to time, there were indications he might react if I was in true danger.

Doug is every bit as friendly as Melvin. When people come over, even if he has never met them, he loves them already. Everyone that comes over, he wiggles away for. Even when new dog walkers come and I’m not home, he acts like he has known them forever.  He has yet to meet a stranger. On walks, he is the mayor of our zip code. I don’t want to meet everyone on our walks, but Doug does.

I have defintiely noticed that when it comes to being home, he is becoming more protective of all the comforts he now enjoys. If I know the doorbell is going to ring and respond knowingly to it, Doug runs to the door and gets ready to be greeter extraordinaire.  If I am not expecting the doorbell and it takes me by surprise, Doug stands at attention and barks. He will move in front of me, as if he is protecting me from the ding donging. Doug can read me well. If I get scared (hear a noise at night or during a movie or even waking up from a nightmare), Doug’s response is to immediately take a protective stance.  The one exceptioin to all of this is rustling leaves: wind + leaves = I am on my own. When we are in the backyard, if the neighborhood dogs are barking on the other side of the fence or if I’m perfectly calm, Doug does not bark back or even really notice them. But if I hear a noise beyond the fence other than scary leaves, and my heartbeat picks up, Doug assumes a guarding position in front of me and issues a few barks (Melvin would have run inside and Jake would have run to the noise/fence to hunt).

What? I hunted. Don’t judge. IMG_6002

That Doug is protective does not bother me (strangers hearing barking from our house is not a terrible thing), but I am aware that my reaction plays a role in his reaction so I need to be sure that he always knows that everything is OK. I want to be sure he knows that he does not need to be protective. The doors have locks, we have a security system, we have security cameras, we love our neighbors. It’s important to me as he goes through this phase of realizing how great his life is now that he not worry about anything. I have been working with him a lot and now if something causes him to go into protect mode, all I have to say is, it’s okay, and he gets back to wiggling.

You will still protect me from the rustling leaves though, right?img_2347


16 thoughts on “He has a home now.

  1. I love that we get to “watch” his settling-in progression and that it’s going so well. He truly looks at home in the pics and it’s a glorious thing to behold.

    PS we play the “would they protect us” game too. 😉

  2. Love this post! So glad he is settling in and realizing he is home. I play the would they protect us game too! Pretty sure Sophie would and pretty sure Swy would let out one bark/growl and then go hide. LOL

  3. I love Doug and all of the insight into his personality!

    I also ask myself “would she protect me”…Flower loves everyone and everything but I still think she’d be my knight (princess??) in shining armor. Unless she was sleeping at the time, in which case all bets are off and she would probably sleep through whatever was happening 🙂

    • 1. I think girls can be Knights! 2. I love the sleeping part. It reminded me of when Melvin slept through the security alarm going off! It was a false alarm but he did not know that. The fact that Flower can sleep so soundly is a testament to the faith she has in you!

  4. Yeah, I ask myself “would Noel protect me?” I am almost positive yes.. and she does growl and assume a protective response when I am wary. She displayed this on a walk one night just after I got her, she did not bare her teeth, or bark, but her hair stood up and there was definitely a deep low barely perceptible growl from my then 7 month old pup. We no longer walk that route at night. But if it is raining she uses me as her human shield, she hates getting wet, so in inclement weather all bets are off. And the truth of the matter is that if anyone tried to do anything to my dog I would probably go crazy and attack them! We have each others back. Glad to hear Doug KNOWS HE’S HOME!

  5. What a wonderful update! I am so glad Doug has realized he is home.

    We have 11 dogs. I’m pretty sure 4 of them would protect me with their lives. The rest would either hide or want to make friends!

  6. When I was 20 I had a dog named Lady. She was perfect and even friends who didn’t like dogs loved her. She could read everyone’s mind to figure out how to act around that person. She loved me unconditionally and showed me everyday. One day my now ex-husband hit me and she bit him. She had known him for years but when he went for me she protected me. Best dog ever!

    • I have several reactions to this post. One is anger that you had to go through that. Then relief that ex=in the past. And overwhelmingly YES! Lady rocked that moment with all that she had. Love is strong!

      • Didn’t she! The rest is way past. I’m 63 now. Not a great thing to live through but a great experience learning my strength.

  7. we have a dog who has been with us since i was in college..there was this huge storm and we lost our house, during the storm my parents was with the dog, our roof collapsed and my parents were hiding agains a wall, the dog was with them and moving restlessly trying to protect them from the storm…my parents were crying while telling me the story…dogs are heroes…

    • I want to travel to wherever you and the dog and your parents are and have the biggest group hug ever! Oh my gosh! I love that through all that loss, your parents remember those moments of dog heroism.

      • yes, because things can be replaced but relationship cant…tahnk you…that place is in the philippines, thats the time when we had that strong storm haiyan which killed 5 thousand people or more…

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