Going to the Our Pack training on a Sunday was the one day a week when Abbey really came close to meeting other dogs. However, there is a rule about dog to dog interaction during the training. We were fortunate enough to be able to take Abbey to a supervised 'Pitty Playgroup', where Abbey had the chance to meet and play with other pit bulls. Although, Abbey had a blast, it was obvious Abbey lacked (dog) social skills and had zero manners when it came to playing with other dogs.
Abbey's first play group, as you can see she was a exuberantly happy...
Trying to teaching a dog social skills when she is the only dog is pretty much impossible!
We've already blogged about Abbey's 'bratty' stage in 'One year since we adopted Abbey...the first six months', as Abbey turned one she started to behave again and leave this (horrible) life stage behind. It was at this point we started to consider fostering a second dog.
We asked our trainer, Marthina McClay, who runs the Our Pack pit bull rescue, if we could enroll to be a foster family. Marthina thought it would be great for Abbey to have another buddy to play with and that she would keep an eye open for a suitable dog. Marthina was thinking that a mellow male dog would help Abbey to calm down and teach her the social skills she was lacking.
One day, Marthina posted a link on Facebook relating to a sweet dog called Jack that was available for adopting at Hayward animal shelter. After seeing the post on Facebook, we slipped in a comment saying what a cute dog Jack was, in the hope that Marthina would see the posting and ask if we wanted to foster him :-)
And it worked :o). Marthina responded to our comment saying that it might be wort introducing Jack to Abbey. We arranged a dog to dog meeting between Abbey and Jack the very next weekend.
We weren't sure how the dogs would react to one another, especially with Abbey and her lack of social skills. As it turned out, we had nothing to worry about! Jack and Abbey saw each other in the car park and before we could even make it to the dog socialization area they were best buddies. You could say love at the first sight. We didn't need to do any big introduction, they hit it off immediately.
Marthina asked us what we thought about taking Jack home with us, and if we needed more time. Without hesitation, we simple said 'we'll take him'. Marthina, then caught us off guard a little, when she said we'll do a foster to adopt program! At the time we thought, we would be fostering for a few months (maybe six months to a year) and then handing Jack to his forever home. Although the foster to adopt was a bit of a curve ball we hadn't expected, it didn't put us off. We agreed to take Jack and changed his name to Jake almost immediately. Driving home from the shelter was fun, Abbey was in the trunk of our SUV and Jack on the back seat. Jack couldn't stop checking Abbey out and making sure she was still there.
The first couple of weeks were quite long, whenever, Jake and Abbey got together all they wanted to do was play. If it wasn't for us they would have played 24/7. It was also obvious that for the fourth time in our lives we'd been duped by a shelter animal. At the shelter, Jake was this mellow, super calm guy. After catching up with his sleep, he turned out to be bouncy and full of energy; one day we'll catch him on video hopping across our yard or kitchen.
Within a few weeks of taking Jake home, we were back on the phone with Marthina asking if we could complete the adoption process. There was no way we were going to hand Jake over to someone else!
After a couple of months, Abbey and Jake started to settle down and get in to a routine. Although they still loved to play, they could also relax and settle down next to each other on the sofa and fall asleep. Jake loves to be next to Abbey, and whenever he see's her sleeping, will try and cuddle up next to her.
And that's the beginning of happily ever after for these two crazy and lovable dogs....
Jakes been with us for around six months, the following is Jake's before and after shot. He's now around two years old and is started to mature into a great boy.