This week we’ve been busy welcoming and settling in a new temporary resident: an Airedale Terrier named Hine Toa.
The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a whirlwind. Two weeks ago I got a call on Sunday evening to inform me that my father’s partner (who I usually just call my step-mother to make it simple) had been admitted to hospital, and wasn’t expected to make it. Within 48 hours, she was gone.
It was sudden, and quite the shock. Like most people do, I wanted to be useful in that moment.
I wouldn’t generally call my father a dog person (something he freely admits himself). And yet, he was left suddenly in sole charge of my step mother’s dog. Having a high-energy dog landed in your lap is a lot even at the best of times. Let alone when you’ve just lost someone you love.
It felt like something we could do that would genuinely make a difference. So we offered to take her for a while to give him a break and some space, which he gladly accepted.
So on Wednesday, Richard and I travelled down to Whangarei to pick her up.
I’m not going to lie: I was a bit anxious about what this meant for us. This is a second large dog in a small house. She’s a couple of years old so habits are ingrained, and not always good. Goodness only knew how our three cats would react – or how Hine would react to the cats. Would she respect electric fences? Would she leave the cows alone? Is our current set-up enough?
None of it really mattered: we’d make it work no matter what. But it’s fair to say that we did not pick her up with the intention of taking her long-term. We had to wait and see how she fit in before we could even consider it.
The only thing we weren’t worried about was Roxy. She’s never met a dog she didn’t like. And Hine has been well socialised at doggy daycare, so we were pretty sure they’d get along like a house on fire. We even hoped that the two of them together would make them less demanding than one of them alone.
It turned out, we were right about that. The dogs are kind of amazing together. They sleep apart, but if one is up, they want to hang out with the other one. It seems like both of them are better for being together.
They’re getting two or three good runs around a paddock or the bush a day. Roxy knows the routine and the rules, and Hine is picking it up quickly. Sharing is an issue for Roxy, who wants all the food and toys to herself. We’re working on that.
We’re also working on the cats, who turn into hissing twisties whenever they see Hine. That’s exactly how they reacted when we introduced Roxy. They’ve got used to Roxy, and Roxy has learned their boundaries. But it’s like starting again with Hine, who is very curious about the cats and doesn’t really want to just leave them alone.
We don’t know how long Hine will be staying with us, but for now Roxy is loving having a sister-dog. Hine is thriving in her own personal dog park.