It is not really known what Black Jack is or where it comes from. He is just a 14 pound black puppy with few social skills. He was transferred from another foster home that could not hold him because he had too much energy for the other foster homes who were too old to want to put up with a young dog. He and my chihuahua started playing right away and it was obvious that they would be friends.
I started with walks twice a day as it was said to be very energetic. Turns out he’s never actually been out for a walk and I almost lost him when he slid down his neck to get away from an attacking Labrador. Our next trip was to the pet supply store to get her a harness. I had to carry him inside as his neck was obviously too loose and I had no idea how he would react. He did well in the store and I used his training room to try on the harness so he couldn’t get away from me.
We took several walks after that. He was afraid of barking dogs, vehicles, and people passing by. But as time passed, he learned not to be so afraid. It was clear that he had never been properly presented with different things and that he really didn’t know how he was supposed to react. I found out that he had a very cruel bark when the doorbell rang and that he was definitely afraid of our two hunting labs. The good thing is that he was home trained and he just had an accident on the carpet and that was my fault for not getting him out earlier.
I was interested to see how my little chihuahua would react to having another dog in the house and he seemed happy from the start. I’d jump on Black Jack from the couch. He was chasing him around the house and all the sudden toys he hadn’t touched in a year were exactly what he wanted when Black Jack had them. At one point I thought I had two spoiled kids in the house with me as Black Jack became more and more relaxed and my Chihuahua looked more and more like an older brother. Black Jack started playing as hard on Leon as Leon played him and that infuriated the 5 pound Leon. So I had to referee every game session until Black Jack learned not to play so hard and Leon learned not to ask.
When that was settled, Leon decided that the Kong he had bought from him two years ago and never played with was suddenly his favorite toy when Black Jack began to show some interest in it. Leon would wait until Black Jack got distracted and stole the Kong from him. So, Black Jack started growling at Leon when he had Leon’s Kong so it wouldn’t get stolen from him. Once again, I had to step in to make sure Black Jack understood that growling was wrong and Leon learned that all toys are MINE and can be taken from both of them.
As he tried to teach Black Jack not to bark at every noise he heard, Leon seemed to goad him on and would bark so hard. At one point, they were both placed in their kennels to “think about what they did.” I don’t know if it worked, but at least I had some peace and quiet for half an hour.
After two weeks, Black Jack is becoming less fearful and more socialized. He barks less and plays with Leon as if they always knew each other. I know that someday soon, he will be adopted by a family that will love and nurture him. They will take you for long walks every day and help you deal with your insecurities. I know that adoption by a good family is the ultimate happy ending for him. But I can’t help but wonder if they really love him like I do. I have to believe they will.
Because when he goes home forever, our home will be blessed with another foster plagued by his own problems and quirks. And we will love them and teach them how to be a good dog so that someone will adopt a happy, well-adjusted dog forever.