After our Border Collie we realized that we wanted a younger dog close to Dante's age that would enjoy our active lifestyle.
A good thing to do when considering a new dog is to put together a list of what you are looking for.
Here was our list:
1. Low - Medium Energy Level
2. Bully Breed
3. Medium - Large in Size
5. Good with Cats
6. Good with Dante
7. Close in age to Dante, preferably younger
8. We wanted to adopt a dog from either our local humane society or local rescue group
9. "Follower" personality
We chose this list very specifically. We wanted to choose a dog objectively rather than make an emotional decision.
Dante is a high energy boy who needs lots of exercise, we learned really quickly that this energy if not expended turns into destructive behaviors (like eating my hardback books and dvd's). On a good note we are a very active family and have no problem (unless we're sick) taking him out and working with him daily. We also immediately began crate training Dante.
But in a second dog we realized that two Dante's would be chaos! This meant we wanted a dog who was lower in energy than Dante.
|My Silly Boy!|
Someday Dante will mostly likely mellow out but that's not the life stage we were at. This also brings up size, we wanted a dog who could match Dante at play but also be able to keep up and enjoy our hiking trips without becoming over tired.
Gender is also important, we were willing to consider a male if we could find the right male. However we really wanted a female. Why? Males and females tend to be a good match, two males and/or two females can express unwanted dominant behaviors as they try to vie for positions within the family pack.
Cats? Yes cats. We have two kitties; Merlot and Belle. Last thing I want is to put my other fur-babies in danger by having an excitable dog with a high prey drive. Yes you can work with dogs that have a prey drive, but I didn't want to use my cats as "training tools" and risk them being injured with an untrustworthy dog.
As for age, I recognize that neither myself or my husband has time for a dog any younger than 1 year. Puppies are hard work, and require lots of attention and training. We wanted a dog that was already housebroken and preferably not destructive in the home, a foster dog used to living indoors would be perfect!
We love rescues - not to demonize those who purchase puppies. We wanted to help a dog who was in need of a home by providing a forever home.
"Follower"? I would call Dante a "Leader" type personality. He's naturally confident, and fearless in new situations. He's a lot of work, the training never stops. He needs a confident leader who is in charge of the situation or else he feels the need to "take over". Like I said previously...two Dante's under the same roof would be chaos! Thus the need for a dog who is an easy "follower". A dog who is happy to let you be in charge, who doesn't constantly challenge authority and push the boundaries.
First On My List.
I called the rescue group we adopted Dante from and they didn't have any dogs that fit our needs. I then contacted another local bully rescue group in our area and inquired about their little golden girl named Honey who I had seen pictures of online.
For our appointment the hubby and I met four of the rescues' dogs that they thought might be a good match for our family. Sadly none of the dogs were quite right. We weren't looking for a major "project dog". We've done that, and succeeded I might add...but what we wanted was just a good dog, who needed some work/training and/or basic manners.
The bar was set pretty high and we were willing to wait. Dante at this point had succeeded in moving past his destructiveness and separation anxiety and we didn't want to start back at square one.
I then gathered up my courage and visited the humane society, they had a dog posted that had caught my eye; a pretty little brindle female around 1.5 years old, the same age as Dante! I really liked her but she was very mouthy and stole things - including my phone, and her adoption information that the attendant gave me when I spent time with her in the visiting room! Those were a couple red flags, she did not respect personal space and thought everything belonged to her.
Regardless though, I liked her, but after talking it out with the hubby we didn't think she'd be a good match.
We kept looking - actually we spent a couple months looking before we ended up finding our little Ziva.
As our search came to a close we met with a different rescue and looked at a couple pups around 8 months in age, a little younger than preferred but we really liked one of the sisters a little black pittie pup.
On our way home as we were debating the puppy issue we got a call from the second rescue saying that Honey (who had the health issues) was veterinary approved and now ready for adoption! If we were still interested we could take a look at her! Something about her smiling face had just captured my heart.
So same day - we drove out and met Honey. First thing we saw? You guessed it! A beautiful smiling face.
Honey's background was that she was found at an industrial work site in California, someone had dumped her there as a puppy. #ThanksForTheDogAssHole
She was then picked up by our local rescue group and brought to Oregon for adoption. As per procedure the rescue had Honey spayed and she nearly died during the procedure, the veterinarian's office (not one they'll ever use again) claimed she had an "anesthesia allergy". It was later learned that this particular clinic has many dogs with "anesthesia allergies", and that it's not uncommon for dogs to die under their care! Most likely they are just careless and tend to overdose animals. Yikes!
After her near death experience Honey began to develop a random limp. She spent a lot of time in and out of the vet's office trying to figure out the problem. This was when I had initially inquired about her. They looked at her growth plates and bone structure and couldn't figure out what was wrong. The vet ended up giving her a clean bill of health and gave the rescue the "go ahead" for adopting her out. This is when they called me.
We took her for a walk and she was perfect, a little bit nervous in a new setting but she gave great eye contact, and responded very well to treats and a confident leader.
We Were Hooked!
Next we made an appointment to have her meet Dante at our home. To give them the best chance at success we began their meeting with a walk, they didn't get to greet each other immediately. As we walked we slowly got the dogs closer together until it was just by hubby walking them, one dog in each hand.
After our walk the dogs were allowed to say "hi", Honey initially didn't like Dante invading her space to sniff but she warmed up. We then took both dogs in the back yard and broke out the toys to up the challenge. Each dog did great! They played really nicely together!
First play-time together!
We then did a home and cat introduction, Honey had lived with a cat but was prone to chase if they ran. On a good note she learned very quickly to leave our kitties alone and we didn't feel worried she'd try to eat them.
**Since we have had Ziva, we have seen no limping. Our theory is that since she was one of the smaller dogs at Seva she probably rough housed too much with the bigger dogs, or she was experiencing growing pains as is common in bigger breeds.**
|"Mom, can we keep her?"|
Ziva means "Radiant and Bright" in Hebrew,
perfect for our little smiling girl.
|Ziva's first bath|
How Did We Pick Dante?