Boomer has become a joyful challenge to our lives. He spent the majority of our first week together asleep on the red leather couch in our living room. The shy shelter dog we adopted from the Fulton Country Animal Shelter here in Atlanta has taught us patience, consistency, and perseverance. The first week proved incredibly challenging. Boomer was afraid of his own shadow, incredibly skittish on walks, and terrified of furniture. On our way down the block, he was extremely suspicious of an old couch or smelly office chair left on the side of the road. For a small town hunting dog from Mississippi, suddenly thrust into urban living, trash and recycle bins were especially worrisome.
To alleviate Boomer’s stress, we kept to a very simple routine. Every morning we took the same route down to the park near our apartment. We never stayed out too long, and he gradually began to open up and wag his tail excitedly before a morning stroll. We gave him lots of love and attention, and he quickly learned to appreciate a good belly rub.
Boomer loves to sit outside in the backyard basking in the sun, and has lately taken to stealing socks out of my dresser drawer and burying them in the backyard. Laundry day is like Christmas morning.
When you adopt a shelter dog, all of the articles online and literature from rescue organizations talk about taking time for the dog to adjust. They neglect to mention that it’s also a major adjustment for a new dog owner. An adjustment that takes time, patience, and a lot of getting used to. To share the load, Lily and I take turns walking Boomer throughout the day, visiting the dog park, and have even hired a dog sitter to stay with him so we could enjoy a night out. We’ve had to be creative in terms of scheduling our lives and giving ourselves a break. Boomer is still dealing with separation anxiety and can’t yet be left alone. We are making gentle progress though, and this week he spent 15 minutes alone in the crate sitting quietly. It’s very rewarding to see him flourish, and learn to play.
Boomer is also much younger than we anticipated. Once he began to work through his anxiety and get used to our home, we discovered that what lies underneath is an adorable puppy who loves to chew, play, frolic, eat tennis balls, run, hike, visit the dog park, and BOOM at the neighbors. Boomer is an appropriate name since I think his barking can be heard down in Key West.
Finally, today a miracle happened. Because of the Medium article I wrote the day we adopted Boomer, we have made a new friend. Sarah, who originally rescued Boomer from the side of the road in Mississippi, read my article and found us on Facebook. She has been worried about Boomer since saving his life in Mississippi and was delighted to hear he’s healthy and happy. We’re going to Skype to learn about her first 36 hours with him shortly. The bits of the story we know from the shelter are very dramatic and we are chomping at the bits to hear the details.
Boomer just woke up from a mid morning snooze on his new dog bed.
Time for a walk,